Moleskine – lined, or unlined?

by Steve on October 26, 2005

I love those Moleskine notebooks – I use one as a journal, and another as a carry-around-write-anything-in-it kind of book. We have another that keeps various measurements and notes on our house, and I use the larger size at work. My wife uses another 2 or 3 for various things.

The real challenge, though, is deciding whether to get lined, grid, or unlined. I keep changing my mind. I never seem to write perfectly in the lines, and often ignore them enough to make the book look very untidy, but can’t ignore them enough to make drawing natural.

I started with several grid books – having an engineering background it seemed obvious, as so much of my schooling was done on graph paper. The grid is in black ink, though, and with certain pencils and inks writing and sketches tend to blend in a bit too much. The line spacing is also much narrower than the simple ruled books, so you have to write a bit smaller.

The complete absence of lines makes the book look a little too pristine sometimes, and my lines of writing often develop a slant by the end of the page. Most of us were taught to write using lined paper, and there’s something comforting about having lines to get one started. For drawing, however, a blank page is best.

I prefer unlined but they’re so hard to find in stores. The world seems to prefer the lined, followed by the grid.

What do you think? Lines, grid, or no lines?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

BlueKDesign October 28, 2005 at 11:38 am

How about the best of both worlds? Get a blank journal. Print whatever line/grid you want to use. If the lines are heavy enough, they should show through the journal page. You can have a pristine page of writing with no lines!

Most graph paper is low quality or the grid is printed too dark for my taste. The paper from Levenger and Edward Tufte is pretty good. The best graph paper available is Strathmore Elements Grid. The light 1/8″ grid is produced as part of the paper. It is available in several colors, in sizes up to 25″ x 38″, and in weights from 28# writing (bond) to 110# cover. It is available through paper merchants lik Xpedx and Unisource. It is available online at Limited Papers and PickQuick Papers, among others.

Engineers use a computation pads which have a dark 1/4″ grid printed on the back of every page. The grid shows through enough to see & use on the front of the page for drawing, writing, and calculations. They also have a stack of 3 x 5 index cards in the shirt pocket with a dark grid printed on the back. Architects use pads printed with a light 1/8″ grid, which is useful for scaling drawings & writing.

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Alex July 4, 2006 at 7:51 pm

I have a preference for whatever I’m planning to use the moleskine for. For drawing and sketching I use the sketchbook because I find it impossible to draw with lines in my way (Although the grid moleskines would be good for practicing drawing and to help with proportion).
I use the ruled book as my anything and everything book to carry around with me all the time. Everything I use this book for requires writing and I like having the guidlines there.
My third moleksine has grid paper. I am currently researching my family tree and I have dedicated this entire notebook to the cause. I am required to create borders and guidelines so the lines are useful, plus I can write vertically or horizontally (good when I’m interviewing someone with quick notations)
I can also understand the use of the blank pages because of the mental freedom it can allow, yet my writing would always slant and squish together.

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Cary L. Tyler July 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

Grid or blank for me as I do sketchnote taking but I also have concerns over too dark a grid lines (Grid is my primary choice). I would love to see more uniform standard for grid notebooks but I am not sure if this message is getting out.

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