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.
Over time the cover of the Leuchtturm1917 notebook will start to warp. This is simply due to the pages getting filled with ink, and the moisture from the air getting absorbed into the paper and causing it to decompress slightly from it’s original tightly pressed form. This bothered me a bit when I started using my LT1917 bujo but once I got used to it I think it’s sort of charming. But I thought I’d mention it here. Do you like the look of notebooks that get that misshapen, bulging, well-loved look or do you prefer them to stay neat & tidy, clean & straight?
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?
Yes, I would recommend the Leuchtturm1917 as a bullet journal notebook or as a journal for anyone who will be using mostly writing with non-fountain pens and wants a good-quality notebook that really feels nice to use. You know, part of the reason we stationery enthusiasts shell out extra dough for things as seemingly-mundane as notebooks and pens is because we want to enjoy using them as much as possible. When you find a notebook that really feels a joy to use, it can be a real treasure.
Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are made with excellent quality and made with that joy of use in mind. They look simple and classic and you can easily use them at work or in another setting where you might not want your bullet journal to seem too conspicuous (as long as you’re not using 20 different colored markers in them at the same time haha).
If you’re a minimalist bullet journal type, a Leuchtturm1917 is a solid choice. I do find that the paper is too thin to use fountain pens in, it will ghost through and possibly to the other side a bit too much for my liking. I recommend using gel pens, a ballpoint pen, or pencil in Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. Pilot Frixion pens and markers are a good bet for adding color since they tend to be less watery than most markers.
All this being said, I still prefer my Artist’s Loft bullet journal notebook (from Michael’s) as a more creative journal. The paper is thicker, it can withstand the ink from my markers without any ghosting and I even use my fountain pen as my main writing utensil in it without having to fear that the ink will bleed through and ruin all my little doodles.
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?