Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Welcome to Monederosmart! We live in a fast-paced world and age where it is very easy to forget important things. Although we have a myriad of options to write down to-dos and keep track of things, such as our smartphones, today we will talk about an old, but still valid and very efficient option: the notebook.

In addition to taking notes and keeping records, notebooks are useful for many other things. For artists and creatives, just a notebook and a pen is the most effective solution against boredom. For this and many other reasons, a notebook is an essential item worth carrying wherever we are.

Notebooks may seem like simple objects, but there are more variations than you think! Your ideal notebook will depend on the type of use you intend to make of it, among other factors. In this guide, we'll show you how to identify these factors so you can choose the one that's right for you - your notebook is sure to become your best ally!




The most important things

  • A notebook is a group of sheets of paper that are bound together and attached to a cover. They are very useful for writing, taking notes and drawing. They are smaller in size than a notebook, although the purpose is practically the same. For this reason, notebooks are considered by many to be more practical versions of notebooks.
  • There are notebooks specially designed for drawing, which are composed of thicker paper that absorbs ink better and allows the use of a wider variety of drawing tools. Standard notebooks, however, are intended for note-taking and writing with a biro. Their paper is thinner and less resistant.
  • Since the purposes and potential user types of the two types of notebook are different, there are several factors worth considering, primarily the type and weight of paper. To determine the durability of the notebook, it is also necessary to consider the binding method and cover type.

The Best Notebooks: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about notebooks

If after reading our recommendations you can't wait to start sketching or writing in your notebook, don't worry, we'll go over more information about notebooks, their types, where to buy them, their price and the most important buying factors. Below we'll go over more information about notebooks, their types, where to buy them, their price and the most important buying factors - read on to find out more!

If there's one thing worth carrying around, it's a notebook (Photo: StartupStockPhotos / pixabay.com)

What is a notebook and what are its advantages?

A notebook is a notebook/book, usually small, that contains multiple sheets of paper for writing, drawing and annotating. There are multiple binding methods to bind the sheets together. Some allow the sheets to be torn out, while others hold them in place.

They are a very common and efficient way to organise ideas, to-do's and tasks, as well as to take notes. They are also very popular with artists, who often use them for drawing and sketching on the go thanks to their light weight, ease of transport and paper quality.

Advantages
  • Accessible
  • Lightweight
  • Useful for organisation, note-taking and drawing
Disadvantages
  • Usually fragile
  • Must be replaced when paper runs out
  • Easily lost

Standard notebooks and sketchbooks - what to look out for?

Not all notebooks are suitable for all uses. The needs of an artist who wants to make drawings with specific art tools are different from those of a person who simply wants to write down his or her to-dos. For this reason, it is worth distinguishing the two main types of notebook.

Standard notebook. Their paper, although often of high quality, is thinner and lighter in weight (approximately g/m2). The sheets are often lined or gridded, which serve as a reference for writing, note-taking and tallying in an orderly fashion. In general, they are more fragile than sketchbooks.

Sketchbook. Designed for artists. They are more expensive. Their heavier paper weight (60-80 g/m2) and quality is more efficient to support a wider variety of writing and drawing tools, including watercolours, stylographs and markers. The paper is usually completely white, without any stripes or grids.

A notebook is useful for sketching, keeping track of things or writing (Photo: StockSnap / pixabay.com)
Standard notebook Sketchbook
Paper weight Low High
Works with Pen, pencil Pen, pencil and art tools
Ideal for Writing, annotating, organising Drawing, sketching, designing
Sheets White/scratch/grid White

Paper weight - What is it and why is it important?

Paper weight is the weight of the paper. It is measured in grams per square metre (g/m2). The heavier the weight, the stronger the paper. Heavier paper also tends to be better at absorbing ink. Sketchbook paper usually weighs around 100 g/m2, while standard notebook paper weighs between 60 and 80 g/m2.

Purchasing criteria

The following four factors will influence your purchasing decision. Whether you are an artist, a cartoonist or a conventional user, pay attention to these four points. They will help you make the right choice, make a smart purchase and get the most out of your notebook.

Sheet type

Not all sheets are the same. Sheet type refers to the design/pattern printed on the sheet, and each sheet has a specific purpose. Although in reality any type of sheet can be used for any purpose, having stripes, grids or simply a blank sheet offers greater convenience for each situation.

Lined/gridded. Common in standard notebooks. Ideal for note-taking, maths or calculations, writing and listing. The lines are intended to function as a guide when writing, so that the text is uniform and aligned. Squares have the same function, although they are often more useful for working with numbers.

Lined. Although this type of sheet is more common in conventional notebooks, ruled notebooks do exist. Lined sheets are designed for musicians, as they have lines that form staves. They allow musicians to record musical ideas or write staves as they go along.

White. Although this is the most common type of sheet in sketchbooks, there are also many standard sketchbooks with a white sheet. The white sheet offers a completely free and uncluttered canvas for capturing ideas in drawings and sketches. It is often the choice of artists.

Size

The size will depend on the type of work you are going to do with your notebook. A small notebook (approximately 10x15 cm) will be ideal for taking simple notes and jotting down to-dos. If you are interested in drawing, however, it is worth considering a larger one (from about 30x20).

Cover

The cover is the outer layer that protects the pages of the notebook. Without it, the notebook would have little rigidity and the pages would be exposed, causing them to be damaged very easily. The cover is an important factor in the durability and strength of the notebook.

Rigid. More expensive and slightly heavier, but offers greater protection. It is usually more efficient at keeping the notebook tightly closed, especially if it has an elastic band/strap. A good option for artists or illustrators who want to keep the pages in the best possible condition.

Semi-rigid/soft. Made of a similar material to the hard cover, but a little lighter and more flexible. Although the protection and resistance is less, it is still a good option to preserve the quality of the pages.

Binding

Binding refers to the method by which the pages are held together and held to the cover of the notebook. The method of binding is essential in determining durability. Some are flimsy and allow sheets to be removed/ripped out easily, and some are designed to be permanently fixed.

Thread. The strongest binding method of all, recommended for artists and illustrators. The pages are joined and held to the cover by seams in the spine. If you want to remove a page, it is worth trimming it by hand, as trying to tear it out can damage the stitching and cause several to fall out.

Spiral. Probably the most common. As the name suggests, this method consists of a set of perforated sheets held on a spiral, which can be made of plastic or wire. Removing the sheets is as simple as tearing them off, which does not damage the rest of the set. Ideal for note taking and writing.

Staples. This works by folding sheets in half, stacking them on a cover of the same size, but slightly thicker, and stapling them in the middle. This method is not very strong and can quickly lose rigidity, so it is only recommended for simple note-taking and a few notes.

Despite the rise of electronic note-taking devices, the notebook is still relevant and essential. (Photo: Free-Photos / pixabay.com)

(Featured image source: 6689062/ Pixabay.com)

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