The ruling of notebooks is a serious choice for any stationery addict. And by ruling, I mean the printed guides on paper that keep your handwriting straight. For some people, if a notebook doesn’t come with their favorite ruling, they won’t buy it! I used to be a “lines only” person, after using it my whole life. I didn’t know there were other rulings out there! Now I use a mixture of lined, dot grid and blank paper. Though I still like lined paper for long note-taking, I used a dot grid Baron Fig notebook for my last story journal. And I always carry a grid Field Notes in my backpack!
This is the classic ruling, the one you use in school and work and likely everywhere. It comes in many sizes, from 5mm to 8mm. It’s the most common type of ruling. It can be boring or constricting to some, but for me, I appreciate its structure. It keeps my handwriting from tilting and looking sloppy. However, some brands have too-dark lines or have too wide or too narrow ruling. Lines are harder to ignore and if they are dark they can distract from your words. If you like structure, tradition or easy accessibility, you should use lined paper.
Many stationery users love dot grid. It has become massively popular because of bullet journaling . It consists of small dots, usually spaced 5mm from each other. Dot grid is flexible and is easy to make diagrams or doodles with. The dots are usually light and inconspicuous, letting the words stand out. They stop new writers from fearing the blank page or feel smothered by lines. If you like doodling, are interested in bullet-journaling, or appreciate a minimal aesthetic, dot grid is fun to try out.
I used to use graph/grid paper only for math homework, but then found out they were perfect for making lists and charts. I carry around a Field Notes in my backpack to jot down notes, ideas, to-do lists, songs I heard, etc. They are too busy-looking for me to use in my larger notebooks, but other people appreciate this ruling in A5. It’s usually in 5mm, but Write Notepads used 4mm in its latest limited edition, Sakura. If you like precise lines, order, and making lists and diagrams then you should try out grid.
Examples: Most of my Field Notes are gridded and are good for jotting down to-do lists. I don’t use them in larger notebooks. The paper here is from the Field Notes Campfire, not available anymore. But the Original Kraft Field Notes come in grid and many of the limited editions have grids too.
This is an unusual ruling, one I haven’t seen very often. It is more substantial than dot grid, with tiny crosses each spaced at 5mm. It’s basically the same as dot grid, to be honest. I like it for the aesthetics, mostly. 😉
Examples: The paper shown here is from the Nanami Seven Seas Crossfield notebook (just went out of stock, sadly). I haven’t seen many reticle grid paper besides that, except for Field Notes Lunacy and the recent Coastal edition. I hope creators make more notebooks with reticle grid!
Blank paper is a canvas for you to put anything onto, whether its writing or doodles or full illustrations. It is fun to use but can be intimidating if your handwriting tilts down like mine. I use blank only in my sketchbooks because I like having a line of some sort. However, Ana at the Well-Appointed desk, made wonderful templates for any ruling you could imagine. Just print out the template size you want and slip the paper behind your page to give it the allusion of lines.
Examples: Baron Fig Vanguard has creamy thick paper perfect for both fountain pens and pencils. I like sketching with it because the Vanguard is light and portable. Story Supply Co. also has fountain pen friendly paper with less tooth than BF. Or any old sketchbook will do!
Don’t be afraid to try a different type of ruling! I never thought I’d like dot grid until I tried a Baron Fig notebook. What is your favorite paper ruling? Are there any you like that I haven’t posted here?