I’ve been using a Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal notebook for the last 6 months. In this post I’ll tell you what I think about it and whether I’ll be using the same notebook in 2019.
A bullet journal, if you haven’t heard, is a notebook you use to keep your to-do lists, plans, and ideas, and schedules all in one place. This flexible system was created by Ryder Carroll – you can learn more about him and the Bullet Journal system on his website, here.
The German company, Leuchtturm1917, has released an official Bullet Journal notebook endorsed by Ryder Carroll. It’s similar to the rest of the company’s hardcover notebooks, but it comes with a few extra features like numbered pages, a built-in index, and quick explanation of the bullet journal system in the back.
The price for the Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal is typically over $20 on Amazon – click here to check the current price.
When I first started my bullet journal adventure, I bought a Walmart bullet journal copycat notebook that cost about $6. Since I was just testing the system out, I didn’t want to waste too much money on a notebook in case I didn’t like it.
Well, it turns out I did like it, so I decided to buy the official version.
What I Like About It
I like that this notebook is slim. It’s thinner than the Walmart one I first bought. That makes it easy for me to toss in my purse or bag and bring it with me when I go out. I’ve often brought it with me to jot down ideas while my kids have their dance lessons.
The A5 size is another thing I like about it. Larger notebooks tend to be a little more awkward for me to use while holding it on my lap, so this slightly smaller size is perfect. Also, I tend to keep my bullet journal (or bujo) open on my desk all day when I’m working. It never felt like it was taking up too much space, unlike the letter-size (similar to A4 size) ring binder I also sometimes use to keep track of my work tasks.
I like that it has the numbered pages and built-in index, although I must admit, I’m not a very strict adherent to the indexing rules. For me, it’s just an extra step that I don’t need or care about that much, after all.
The dots in this notebook do seem to be accurately spaced, which is a plus over my first notebook from Walmart. It annoyed me that the dots were offset from the left and right pages. In the $25 notebook, you expect the dots to be spaced accurately and it does not disappoint.
The paper quality is also something I’ve liked in my Leuchtturm1917. I was actually pretty surprised about the paper when I first got it, because it’s a lot thinner than what I was expecting. It almost reminds me of the paper in a bible or a textbook – it’s high quality paper, but it is very thin. The thinness of the paper and cover helps keep the thickness at a minimun, but for some people I can see how the paper is just way too thin, especially if you plan to use markers or pens with very wet ink that might bleed through.
What I Don’t Like About It
First of all, I think that the price is a bit inflated. I can definitely be just as happy with a Moleskine notebook of similar craftsmanship, at a much lower price. I used Moleskine notebooks for many years before trying out the Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal and I think the quality is very comparable. Moleskine notebooks tend to cost at least half the price of the LT1917.
The other thing I don’t like about it is the cover. So mine is the black one with the embossed BULLET JOURNAL logo. My first impression of the cover was that it felt kind of cheap. I’ve brought my notebook with me all over the place for the last few months, just like I’ve always done with my Moleskine notebooks, and the cheap-feeling cover has warped and started looking dingy. Looking at the state of other peoples’ bullet journal notebooks after they’ve used it all up, it seems like this is just what happens with Leuchtturm1917 notebooks as they age.
While the paper thinness didn’t necessarily bother me, the color of the paper isn’t as white as what I prefer. It’s cream-colored paper, with quite a warm yellow tone. Since I like to post pictures of my bullet journal on instagram, I found myself always wanting to adjust the white balance of my photos so the paper would look brighter and whiter. It’s just a personal preference, but I think the brighter, whiter papers look a bit sharper.
Would I Recommend This Notebook?
Based on my mildly-negative experience with this notebook over the past few months, and comparing it to the other similar notebooks I’ve used in the past, I don’t think I would recommend it.
If you’re looking for a basic but good notebook to use for bullet journaling, I’d definitely go for a Moleskine notebook.
If you’re looking for a notebook with superior paper quality that you can use to make artistic bullet journal spreads, I’d go for the Scribbles That Matter notebooks.
Lastly, if you’re just getting started with bullet journaling and you just don’t want to waste a lot of money testing notebooks out, why not print out some of my free dot grid paper? You can print out a few pages and staple it together to make your own DIY bullet journal, or add it to a binder or planner you already have.
I wouldn’t say that the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal is a bad notebook. It just wasn’t my favorite.
What do you think about this notebook? Have you tried it?