Saturday, March 26, 2011

Which Size of Notebook Do You Prefer?

Do you like your notebooks to be large, small, or somewhere in between?  Would you prefer a notebook that takes up your entire desk space or one that can be hidden away in your pocket?

Large notebooks are expansive, allowing you to stretch your imagination, make big plans, draw complex maps and diagrams, or fill the page in a passionate outpouring of words.  But they can be awkward to carry around, are hard to hide (if you need to hide your notebook), and that large expanse of blank page can be intimidating to some.

Small notebooks, on the other hand, are portable, personal, and private, ideal for jotting down your innermost thoughts or for making a brief grocery list.  But when you have many things to write, a small notebook may feel cramped and inhibiting.  And, although a small notebook can be more easily hidden, it can also be more easily lost.

But perhaps for you the ideal notebook is neither very large nor very small, but somewhere in between.  It fits perfectly into your hand and into your bag or backpack.  Perhaps you haven't found it yet, but you're convinced that it's out there, somewhere...

For a written journal, I like a small notebook myself, although not too small.  My small Quo Vadis Habana at about 4x6 inches feels about right.  For sketchbooks, art journals, and notebooks that stay at home on the shelf and don't get out much (that sounds a lot like my life, actually, but never mind), I like something a bit larger, perhaps around 6x8 inches.  Notebooks much larger than that just feel too cumbersome, while those that are very small just don't have enough space.

What about you?  Which size of notebook do you prefer?  Does your preferred size change depending on the purpose of the notebook?  Do you prefer different formats of paper (plain, lined, or graph) for the different sizes?  (For example, I often prefer lined for medium-sized notebooks and plain or graph for large or small notebooks.)  Do you use one size exclusively or experiment with different sizes?


  1. A5 is my ideal size - which is equivalent of Large Moleskine. Pocket notebooks are too small, and while I love big journals, as you pointed out, they are a pain to carry around.

  2. I prefer medium sized ones, but then again, I am open to almost every size, except for super small ones.

  3. I have several (mostly empty) 8.5x11 sketchbooks. I got an 11x14 sketchbook as a gift a few months ago. I thought I wouldn't use it at all, but I'm using it more often than any other "at home" sketchbook I've owned.

  4. i prefer A5 size, ruled.
    but i like and use in all my bag a ruled reporter notebook, topbinding

  5. I love all sizes (depending on my needs). But the majority of my notebooks are A5 in size (but some my favourite notebooks are A4 but are too large for carrying around).

  6. I too have a variety of sizes from mini 2x3" ones (lined and blank) to the huge A4s depending on their purpose. My favorite writing journal is "executive" sized - 6.5" x 9"; lined, off-white paper. It's a smidge smaller than the standard black marbled composition books.

    The majority of my sketchbooks (all blank) are in the 5x8" range. Smaller is too small and larger is too overwhelming.

  7. Medium sized for me! I hate them too large for journaling as I find there is too much space and small ones feel cramped and I feel constricted with them.

  8. I am using A6 size with plain papers. But I was feeling my self a little bit limited in normal usage(vertical). Long time a go I discovered to use it in horizontal axis. This way of using A6 note book has many facility of writing. For example, much more space, easy turning pages, not necessary to turn head for reading pages....

  9. I use a 5 x 8 inch size for a journal, usually a Moleskine black lined hard cover but lately tried a Rhodia. I use a 3 x 5 inch size for field notes; that's a #12 Rhodia or the small Moleskine reporter style hard cover. Sometimes I use unlined but lined journals work best for me. I can't help myself, I love paper.

  10. I like 9 by 12, mostly, although smaller volumes do make their way into my collection now and then. Love watercolor paper in hardbound book format--only thing is, i don't stop there. I generally like to take everything apart and make a new book or books, sometimes for gifts.
    Thanks for the poll!

  11. Thanks for all the comments, everyone! It is interesting to read about your different preferences for notebook sizes; most people seem to prefer medium-sized notebooks, with a few leaning toward the larger sizes. Several of you agreed that very large notebooks can be awkward or overwhelming, while no one admitted to using very small notebooks.

    Thanks again for stopping by!

  12. I'm a little late in the game, but I too am a medium notebook kind of guy. I typically like A5 notebooks, though when I was a student, I preferred B5 since it was easier to stuff folded A4 handouts or photocopies into it. The excellent B5 Apica CD-15s suit the task well.

    Nowadays I usually have an A5 Rhodia (No.16), an A5 Mnemosyne (182), and perhaps an A5 Muji, along with a Rhodia No.12 for smaller notes and such.

  13. The explanation I have of all the notebooks I use, the sizes, the different purposes, various brands, and so forth, is SO long that Blogger has refused five times now to post the comment through. So, the summary:

    Piccadilly, Leuchtturm 1917, Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Moleskine, Canson, Strathmore, Writersblok;

    in sizes large, medium, small/pocket, extra-small/mini, oversized postage stamp;

    with pages blank, lined, grid, and dot grid.

    ...this makes so much less sense than my original comment, but hopefully it will post now. :-/

  14. Thanks for the comment, nopenintended! That sounds like quite a collection of notebooks - I feel envious...

    Sometimes Blogger can be a bit funny about posting comments, but at least you managed to leave some sort of comment eventually. Feel free to send me an email if the comments aren't working for you: heather [dot] papertrees [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. I'm a college-ruled, letter-sized gal when it comes to writing or taking notes. For jotting notes on a novel or flat-out journaling, I like the classic (and, yes, probably boring) composition book.

    So nice to find others with a thing for pen and paper.

  16. eclectic_violetMay 3, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Like Plush Possum Studio, I enjoy hacking notebooks to suit my preferences. For now, I've settled on cannibalizing Miquelrius grid-paper flexible-cover notebooks--I cut the paper down to 5.5" wide x 6.5" high, punch 3 holes in the sheets, and fasten the whole thing together with 1" looseleaf rings and tagboard covers. Yes, I am a bit OCD, but the notebooks are fun to make & use :)

  17. Lined 5x7
    Blends in with my books. Fits in my purse. Easy to carry. And the pages aren't intimidating.

  18. Was looking for a table of standard notebook sizes when Google pointed me here. I don't know what size it's called, but I use a small 9 x 14 cm (3.5 x 5.5 in) ruled notebook. But what I really like using is the slightly longer version at 9 x 18 cm. I prefer these sizes because I can put them in my pocket.

  19. Different sizes for different things.

    6"x 4" soft back for in a pocket

    A5 spiral bound (can be used open or folded in half), cheap one for rough notes and ephemeria
    A5 spiral bound quality one for more important things.

    10"x6" spiral bound for other things - a good size to use on your knee.

    A4 spiral bound rough book on the desk for bigger things
    A4 big thick book on the desk for more important things.

    Like the volume of a cube, the area of paper available increases as the square of the length and breadth, so take as big as you can carry to have enough paper to write on
    But don't forget the "footprint" on your desk.

  20. ahi this is a very important question for a notebook nerd..different needs, different projects.. not even size even the apper needs to be different.. :D

  21. Hi!

    I like A4 wired notebooks for my university studies. It's a great size for doing math, drawing diagrams, process models etc. But it has to be wired or it'd be too cumbersome to use.

    I have also recently started to use loose leaf papers and adding my notes to a ring binder afterwards. This method gives me more flexibility and since I always use one notebook per subject, and not always using all the pages. This actually saves me some paper/money :P

    Besides my A4 notebooks, I have a few A5 ones that I don't use much, I guess they are okay if I am not doing math or other school-related subjects. My workout journal is in A5.

    Just ordered a Pocket Flex by Filofax leather cover with notebooks to use as my on the go notebook today. Quite expensive, so I sure hope I will be putting it to some good use :D

    Long story short, or maybe it was more like the other way around. I love notebooks and I have lot of them! I am always checking out new notebooks in different models and sizes to buy. Of course I like pens too :P

  22. I love the notebooks from Bespoke Goods. Those are some amazing beautiful notebooks


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