10 best notebooks

Treat someone this National Stationery Week with a jotter to keep out on the desk

Click to follow
The Independent Online

National Stationery Week (25 April – 1 May 2016) celebrates writing and the tools we use for the craft. That includes what we write on. There’s something exciting about having a fresh new notebook to make a mark on. All those on this list, from personalised leather-bound options to striking graphic-print designs, are as much books to adorn a desk with as they are quality writing materials. All make great gifts for someone who appreciates stationery.  

1. Portico Designs B5 Watercolour Journal: £12, John Lewis


Crafted by the independent, Bath-based Portico Designs, this vibrant notebook will stand out on a desk. The cover’s reminiscent of a watercolour painting and the gold-foiled pages keep things looking luxurious. There are 160 lined pages, with a ribbon bookmark and elasticated band to keep everything in order. Measures 17.6cm x 25cm.

Buy now

2. Design Letters Personal Notebook: £12, Selfridges 


Any font obsessives will appreciate this hardback notebook featuring a letter in Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s distinctive typography. Choose the lucky recipient’s initial or another letter that means something to them. It’s A5 and the pages are unlined. The elastic will keep any errant papers in check, too. 

Buy now

3. Paperchase Carnival A5 Flexi Linen Notebook: £10, Paperchase


The eye-catching, carnival-inspired design of this notebook with a textured linen cover means it won’t be too easily lost, and that’s a good thing as you’ll be able to cram a lot into its 384 ruled pages. There’s also a handy page marker.

Buy now

4. Moleskine Blue Note Limited Edition: £14.95, Moleskine


Moleskine has teamed up with everyone from Coca Cola to The Simpsons to create special-edition notebooks, and this latest collaboration sees the Italian stationer delve into the world of jazz. The range is inspired by seminal releases from artists on the Blue Note label. This one features legendary American pianist and band leader Thelonious Monk. Inside, you’ll find words on the musicians and the label, as well as ruled, 9cm x 14cm pages.  

Buy now

5. Il Papiro Blank Book: £27, Il Papiro


This stationer, which has its roots in a small, elegantly decorated shop in Florence, Italy, now has branches all over the world, including two in London. Its speciality is marbleising, a method of design carried out by hand and applied either to the paper itself or the cover. In this case, it’s the latter, with blank pages inside. Measures 10cm x 15cm and comes in a range of colours. 

Buy now

6. Atlas & I Personalised Map Leather Journal: From £38, Not On The High Street


If you’re after something with a personal touch, opt for this handmade, leather-bound notebook. Simply provide a postcode and place name which means something to you, and Atlas & I will use an antique map of the location to cover the notebook . Sizes range from pocket (13cm x 10cm) to large (21cm to 15cm), and pages can either be lined or left blank. Comes in a personalised gift box. 

Buy now

7. StudioSarah ‘Ideas’ Notebook: £14.90, Liberty 


London-based designer Sarah Silver had a vision to create glamorous stationery that is a treat to receive. This A4 notebook in a chic nude and silver colour combo with gold foil writing and a strong cloth spine ticks those boxes. All her designs are FSC-certified and made in England. If this one’s too big, there is also a ‘Notes’ version that’s just smaller than A5.   

Buy now

8. Nuuna London Illustration Notebook: £25, Amara 


These German-made notebooks are some of the most striking we’ve seen. The most recent collection features bold graphic prints and playful slogans, as well as this intricate cityscape illustration. It’s the little details that make the difference here: the thread stitching that means it can open all the way; the weighty Munken paper and the colours or patterns that continue onto the paper’s edges. They come in two sizes with strong, smooth covers made from bonded leather. This one is similar to A5 and there’s a smaller version.  Note that these contain dot grid paper so you’ll be disappointed if you were expecting lines. 

Buy now

9. Kikki.K A5 Hard Cover Notebook: Write Your Tomorrow: £10, Kikki.K


This Aussie firm was founded by Swedish stationery lover Kristina Karlsson, and Kikki.K has recently opened its first shop in London’s Covent garden. The collection features writing materials influenced by Karlsson’s Scandinavian heritage – think clean lines, pastel shades and some Nordic-inspired illustrations and motivational quotes thrown into the mix. We like this pretty pale blue, spiral-bound one. It has 140 lined pages for someone to get to work on.   

Buy now

10. Ohh Deer A5 Royal Blue Diamond Print Notebook: £10.50, Ohh Deer 


With its blue geometric pattern on the cover, this is an eye-catching, slimline notebook. You get 128 pages of FSC-certified paper and the way its bound means it stays open on the double-page you’re working on. There are similar designs available in orange and green, and in A6 size.  

Buy now


For an eye-catching, colourful and not-too-pricey option, try Portico’s or Paperchase’s designs. If you’re looking for something more understated, but still striking, opt for one of the Design Letters hardback notebooks.  

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing