10 great notepads for designers (that aren't Moleskines)

Why not try out one of these beautiful alternatives to the ubiquitous Moleskine?

Every designer needs a notepad to jot down those quick flashes of inspiration or sketch out your latest vision – and the more beautifully produced the notebook is, the better it will represent your skills.

But for those of us who want an alternative to the all-conquering Moleskine, what's on offer? Here we bring you a run-down of 10 design notebooks to die for...

01. Baron Fig

The Baron Fig is easy on the eye and easy to use

The Baron Fig is a new kind of notepad that's been designed with an 
underlying philosophy of simplicity, usefulness and community. As the company's Adam Kornfield explains: "We wanted something that easy on the eyes and even easier to use."

So what's different about Baron Fig? For a start, it opens flat - "There’s nothing worse than a book that curves so harshly in the centre that 10% of the page is unusable," he argues. There are three books available, each with a different type of paper - Blank, Ruled, or Dot Grid, so whether you want to write, draw or create a diagram, there's a notepad that will suit you.

The notebooks are made from high quality, acid-free fine grain paper, allowing you to archive your books safe from fear of degradation. Plus there are 12 perforated pages at the end of every book so you don't have to ruin your binding if you want to sketch on a sheet and then tear it off.

02. Leuchtturm

Leuchtturm is a long-term rival to Moleskine

German-based company Leuchtturm has been making notebooks of a similar style to Moleskine since 1917, and been a long-time rival to the Italian brand. The classic Pocket version is sized 90x150mm and differentiates itself from Moleskine by numbering the 185 pages, as well as by including eight perforated and detachable sheets.

These beautiful notebooks come in a range of colours and sizes

The pocketbook also includes stickers for labelling and archiving. Other sizes on offer range from The Master, spanning 225x315mm, and The Mini, which takes the shape of a 55x80mm credit card.

03. Piccadilly

Piccadilly notebooks offer a budget-friendly alternative to Moleskines

Piccadilly notebooks are another great alternative to Moleskines, particularly given they’re half the price at $5. The Essential notebooks come in four styles: ruled, plain, graph and soft cover, and sold in a range of colours.

Same as the Moleskine, the small pocketbook size is 89x137mm and the pages are section-sewn with the same thickness of its Italian rival. A straight spine and additional spacing on the top line differentiate the two.

04. Field Notes

Field Notes notebooks make a virtue of their plain aesthetic and utility

US notebook manufacturer Field Notes has created a rough-and ready 48-page memo book, sold in packs of three for just $9.95. Made in America, the notebooks are sized 3.5in x 5.5in, saddle stitch-bound and come in graph, ruled or plain editions.

Field Notes also offer limited edition and customised notebooks, most recently the Expedition notebook, which boasts waterproof and tear-resistant pages, making even taking notes in the elements easy.

The Expedition series includes these notebooks with hi-visibility 'Antarctic Survey Orange' front cover and 'Polar Night Black' back cover

To coincide with the Expedition launch, Field also announced a range of 'Space Pens', allowing you to write in zero gravity, upside down, underwater and at temperatures between -35 and 120degC.

05. Whitelines

Whitelines notebooks feature a unique technology to help make drawings stand out

Swedish company Whitelines claims to offer a "new generation of writing paper" with its patented lined paper technology. The idea behind the concept is that since markings from pens are dark, they interfere with the traditional dark lines of ordinary paper. The paper is therefore tinted in a light-grey tone and the lines are practically invisible to help make your drawings stand out.

For those of you looking for a joined-up digital format, Whitelines has its own app (which actually predates the Evernote/Moleskine partnership). Named Whitelines Link, you ensure the app can see the four corners of the page and then take a picture of your text or doodles. By ticking on the page what content you want stored digitally, the app then uploads your notes to your email, Dropbox or Evernote account.

Next page: five more alternatives to Moleskine