10 great design notepads (that aren't Moleskines)

06. Fiorentina

Fiorentina offers a high-end range of leather notebooks

Fiorentina offers a high-end range of leather notebooks

For those not restricted by budget, Fiorentina offers a collection of high-end leather notebooks. An Italian rival to Moleskine, the blank, acid-free papers are manufactured in Florence and can be used even with fountain pens. 

The brand also offers an alternative to Moleskine’s pocket notebook with its Ciak range of lined journals. Sized 90x127mm, the multicoloured pages come wrapped in a soft leather cover and are priced at $16 each.

Fiorentina also offers a number of other ranges, such as the sleek MOOD notebook with soft metal on the spine and the SMILE journal, made out of recycled leather.


myPAPERCLIP is India's answer to Moleskine

myPAPERCLIP is India's answer to Moleskine

India's answer to Moleskine, myPAPERCLIP produces custom notebooks, journals, diaries and more on the subcontinent. The City Series above are hard cover notepads with Munken Polar Rough 100 GSM paper stock.

And for those of you with a social conscience, myPAPERCLIP contributes a portion of its sales to the Education Fund for underprivileged children, and its classically simple designs are created with paper from environmentally-friendly sources.

08. Cast Iron Design

environmentally friendly notepad

Cast Iron Design is known for its environmentally friendly products

Speaking of eco-friendly, sustainable design, the folks at Cast Iron Design like to play their part in keeping the environment happy.

"We use notebooks on a regular basis and figure that a useful object would be the easiest way to help other graphic designers begin to integrate environmental responsibility into their practice," says Cast Iron Design's Jonathan Black.

"Specifying recycled paper is one of the easiest and most impactful things a graphic designer can do to minimise the carbon footprint of a print project, so that’s where we're starting."

09. Code&Quill

Code&Quill notepads

The two notebooks contain unique ways to categorise your thoughts

Code&Quill launched a Kickstarter campaign for these notebooks that have designers specifically in mind. The left-side pages have a dot grid to allow for sketches, drawings and wireframes; while the right-side pages showcase the brand's special Indentation Rule – a narrow ruling with vertical dash-marks every 5 millimeters to allow notes, lists, paragraphs, and code to be properly indented and neatly kept.

The paper is thick and durable, ready for your ideas no matter where you may have them. The binding is sewn with quality thread, and constructed in a way so as to allow the notebooks to lie flat, no matter what page you're on.

10.  Whitelines

working notepad for designers

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 is that since markings from pens are dark, the dark lines of typical notebooks interfere with them. Whitelines' paper is 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 named Whitelines Link (which actually predates the Evernote/Moleskine partnership). You take a photo of your notes or sketches, ensuring the app can see the four corners of the page, and tick the content you want stored digitally. The app then uploads your notes to your email, Dropbox or your Evernote account.

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Illustrator and graphic designer Ben Steers co-founded creative design studio Fiasco Design, where he's now creative director. He also runs Thread Events.