Few tools are as useful to creatives as a trusty notebook. They might appear pretty simple on the surface – just sheets of paper bound together inside a cover – but they've survived through the years for a reason: they just work.
Notebooks don't have to be charged (well, most of them anyway), they're inexpensive and they're one of the easiest things to use – simply open them and start writing. Even the most sophisticated digital tools have to pack a serious technological punch to appear this intuitive.
But just because notebooks are straightforward doesn't mean they're all the same. We've rounded up 10 of the best notebooks for designers that show off how the same concept can be pushed in interesting directions. So if you're after a new place to record notes or pencil drawings, maybe one of these notebooks is just what you're looking for.
01. MOO hardcover notebook
Famous for its frankly dizzying array of business cards, MOO has recently branched out into notebooks. Built by the company's in-house designers with the same care and consideration as its business cards, MOO's Notebooks come in six colours (split into classic or bright) and are filled with crisp, non-glare, ruled paper. There are also 16 pages of shaded paper in the middle that break up the notebook and give you a space to jot down those sporadic, unrelated thoughts that spring up from time to time.
Thanks to their binding the Moo Notebooks can be laid perfectly flat. This is welcome news for left-handers, who need no longer be hindered by spines creating impractical bulges under the pages. Topped off with a quality cloth cover and a slipcase to keep the notebook protected, this is a premium journal with an accessible price of just £14.99.
Well, it wouldn't be a list of the best notebooks if we didn't mention Moleskine, would it? In the world of stationery, Moleskine are the Apple of notebooks, with its products generating the same kind of enthusiasm and loyalty as the latest iPhone release.
It's funny to think that the Italian company has only been running since 1997, but its relatively rapid success is the result of a commitment to creating quality products. With a straightforward and practical design, plus a luxurious finish that makes them a joy to write on, Moleskine notebooks have really earned their place at the top of the notebook food chain.
Even the most basic of Moleskine notebooks feel like something special, and with a variety of different styles, including coloured notebooks, memo books, and two-go notebooks to name but a few, it doesn't look like they're going to be knocked off the top spot any time soon.
Remember what I said about notebooks not needing to be charged? Well, here's one exception: meet Lockbook, a nifty little notebook that keeps all your secrets safely locked away, for your eyes only. Sealed with a biometric lock that needs the owner's fingerprint to open, the Lockbook is one of the most practically innovative journals we've come across.
However its unique security system doesn't mean you have to use Lockbook to record your darkest thoughts. Once you've opened it up, you'll see that Lockbook's ring binder lets you personalise it in any way you want. With a range of inserts, pockets, sticky notes and more, you can tailor the Lockbook to be as personal as – well – your fingerprints!
The Lockbook is an Indiegogo-funded project which backers can expect to receive in June 2017 at the earliest.
04. Rocketbook Everlast
Another notebook that uses technology in creative and useful ways is the Rocketbook Everlast. Bringing the concept of a journal bang up to date, the Everlast lets users take what they've written on the page and upload it to the cloud with the help of the Rocketbook app.
Once your writing has been sent to a digital location, you can wipe your words off the page and start all over again. It's Rocketbook's aim to cut down on the amount of ideas get lost between different notebooks, as well as making the world a tidier place for creatives. Just like the Lockbook, the Rocketbook Everlast has been crowd-funded and should start rolling out in April.
05. The Bound Book
Writing from the safety of your home or studio is all well and good, but what if you need to work outside, exposed to the wrath of mother nature? Where most notebooks would wilt in the rain, the Bound Book from the rugged Rite in the Rain company is capable of standing up to storms, grime, and even laundry mishaps (they can happen to the best of us).
With a glorious yellow cover made out of an imitation leather material called fabrikoid, the tough pocket-sized Bound Book comes with sewn-in pages coated in a unique moisture shield. This allows users to write in pen and pencil, even if the pages have been soaked.
Next page: 5 more of the best notebooks for designers...