The best notebooks and notepads 2018

Forget your flimsy supermarket notebooks, these ones mean business

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There is something so satisfying about putting pen to paper in a fresh notebook, and now that the New Year has rolled around, that means new stationary. A notebook is the perfect place to jot down your New Year’s resolutions, write to-do lists, and generally keep your thoughts organised.

We’ll hasten to bet that many people don’t put much thought into buying a notepad. For the most part, it’s a case of flinging one into your trolley as you reluctantly traipse round the supermarket doing the weekly shop. But for those who do like their notebook just so, there’s a world of extra special ones out there that are rather like the Mercedes Benz of the stationary world - that bit smarter and that bit sleeker.

Buying the best notebook for you

For notebook aficionados, the ins and outs of buying the perfect pad are probably pretty familiar, but for those who are looking to upgrade or trade in their current sorry state for a new model should (excuse us) take note, of the following attributes to look out for. 

Firstly, the cover. Leather and faux leather covers are the common wrap around for a lot of office-worthy notebooks, and these themselves are available in various shades of brown or black and in a multitude of printed patterns or finishes.

Counteracting the brown and black, if you prefer splashes of colour or desire a notebook that’ll add some sparkle to the dreariness of the everyday, there’s also plenty of those around, too: Aspinal of London are a dab hand at the art of combining bold colours and luxury style if that's your ideal stationery combo.

Then there’s the size. Those who are looking to slide their notebook into a laptop case or rucksack to easily carry it on the morning commute may want to look at an A5 pad, as A4 notebooks can be frustratingly difficult to force into the corners of your bag in order to get the zip shut! For anyone who tends to burn through notepads quicker than you can say ‘morning meeting’, may want to lean towards a slightly bigger A4 pad and double check the amount of pages, particularly before committing to a non-refillable upper-end purchase, otherwise your newly acquired companion will bring you short-lived joy. 

Finer things to think about are paper colour and weight if you really are a stationery aficionado. While these are particularly nitpicky, those who can’t settle for anything other than pristine white may want to watch out for off colour, while those who can’t stand thin pages should look out for notepads that have a gsm of 70 or above. 

1. BOSS by Hugo Boss Loop A6 Notebook in Black

Impress your co-workers with this leather-effect designer notebook

Specifications
Best for: Designer
Colour: Black
Size: A6
Pages: Lined
Material: Faux Leather
Reasons to buy
+Corporate and professional looking +Contained in a metal panel 
Reasons to avoid
-Be prepared to splash the cash

Everything about this notebook screams out young corporate, so if you’re looking to impress in the meeting room, this is certainly one to go for. Bound in a smooth, black faux leather cover, and featuring page cutouts that allow you to keep your projects notes separate, this A6 notepad has been well thought out by designer giants Hugo Boss. With an RRP of £40, it’s one of the most expensive on our list, but what can you expect when you’re hankering after designer stationery?

2. Alice Scott A5 Master Plan List Book

Plan your year right with this stylish ruled notebook

Specifications
Best for: Getting organised
Colour: Black and white
Size: A5
Pages: Ruled
Material: Leatherette
Reasons to buy
+Pen included+List pads and sticky notes
Reasons to avoid
-White can get dirty  

Whether you are conjuring up a “Master Plan” or simply want to scribble down the odd inherent thought, this notebook is great for organising your daily life from to-do lists and jotting down reminders. We love the modern design and it comes equipped with a matching pen, sticky notes (because who doesn’t love a sticky note?) and is elastic bound to keep everything secure. White can get a little dirty if you’re lugging it around all the time, but on your desk at work this would make the ideal notebook for keeping organised.  

3. Howick Tan Leather Notebook

A classic looking leather bound notebook for home and office

Specifications
Best for: Classical style
Colour: Brown
Size: N/A
Pages: Lined
Outer material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Classic design+Off-white pages
Reasons to avoid
-Perhaps too plain for some 

If you’re a traditionalist, this notebook should be right up your street. Leatherbound with off-white pages, there’s something oldy-worldy about it that the Hugo Boss pad above doesn’t touch upon. According to the brand, Howick make an emphasis on quality and longevity, which leads us to think that this leather notebook will fair well whether it’s being battered around in a bag or taking centre-stage on your desk. 

4. Orla Kiely A5 Navy Stem Notebook

A thick and luxurious notebook with coloured edged pages

Specifications
Best for: Quality of pages
Colour: Navy and white
Size: A5
Pages: Lined
Material: PU Leather
Reasons to buy
+384 pages+Ribbon page markers
Reasons to avoid
- Heavier than some notebooks 

For those who are looking for quality and quantity, this Orla Kiely number offers both a striking design and thick luxurious pages to write on; great for those who write in fountain pen as it does not seep through the pages. This notebook has many more pages than some of the others on the list, which makes it great for those who are constantly scribbling down their thoughts. The striking design will make it stand out from the crowd in the office, and the coloured edged pages give it a professional finish that feels expensive.

5. Moleskine Star Wars Ships Ruled Notebook

Take the force with you to work with this Star Wars themed notebook

Specifications
Best for: Novelty
Colour: Black, red, green
Size: H21xW13cm
Pages: Lined
Outer material: Hard cover
Reasons to buy
+Awesome gift idea+Expandable inner pocket for loose paper
Reasons to avoid
-Not as professional looking as others 

Any Star Wars fan will love the detailed design of this notebook; from the action drawing of the Empire TIE Fighters battling a Rebel X-Wing, to the useful expandable inner pocket and matching bookmark ribbon so you can keep track of where your latest set of notes are. If the thought of lifting this out of your office bag isn’t cool enough, wait until you discover the free strip of stickers, which you can use to personalise other bits of stationery, your laptop or anything else you see fit. Whilst this notebook is a bit of fun, it's also Moleskine, so you know you are getting a decent quality pad too.

6. kate spade new york Large Roses Notebook

A large metallic notebook for the trend-conscious

Specifications
Best for: Trend Followers
Colour: Rose Gold
Size: A4
Pages: Lined
Material: Leatherette
Reasons to buy
+160 pages+Popular colour
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky

Sometimes it's the little things that count - and this notebook from fashion house Kate Spade applies this rule effortlessly. With a quirky, subtly-embossed quip on the front cover, gilded page edges and silk bookmark, this notepad is a thing of beauty for those who are into the rose gold trend (but who also want to avoid the tackiness that is often associated with it). It's an A4 pad and boasts 168 lined pages making it ideal for frequent use, the internal pocket is a handy added extra too.

7. Barbour Tartan Notebook And Cover

Embrace countryside chic with this classic Barbour notebook

Specifications
Best for: Home offices
Colour: Tartan
Size: A5
Pages: Lined
Outer material: Cotton, polyester, leather
Reasons to buy
+Stylish yet casual notebook+Includes an interior pen holder
Reasons to avoid
-Tartan isn’t for everyone 

Barbour are kings of the country-chic style (that’s making a hunting jacket and a pair of wellies look street-friendly) and they have extended this to their accessories range. Featuring a classic tartan cover and leather trim, this notebook should bring back memories of brisk country walks with the extended family on the lead up to Christmas... or maybe you just like tartan and nostalgia's not your thing.  If you’re looking for a casual yet equally as stylish alternative to our first two picks, you can’t really go wrong with this notebook from countryside fashion champions, Barbour. 

8. Ted Baker Brogue Notebook

A suede-effect notebook with quirky broguing

Specifications
Best for: Luxe Designer alternative
Colour: Thistle, brown, oxblood, porcelain
Size: A5
Pages: Ruled
Material: PU Suede
Reasons to buy
+Gold edged pages+Tassel bookmark
Reasons to avoid
-Can get grubby

If you liked the fashion-conscious styling of the Kate Spade rose gold A4 notebook further up our list but are after something a bit more compact this Ted Baker A5 pad might be just the thing. With soft faux-suede cover, a tassel bookmark and gold edged pages there is a lot of be said for its design features. Plus, the pages are reportedly pretty thick which is great for those who opt for a fountain pen as their jotter of choice.

9. Amalfi Large Refillable Leather Journal with Lined Paper

A beautifully bound refillable notebook; for those who like some fanfair

Specifications
Best for: Refillable
Colour: Brown
Size: A5
Pages: Lined
Outer material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+High-quality leather+Refillable
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky 

If you’re looking for a showpiece, this Amalfi leather bound notebook could be just the thing. Take this out your bag and it could be compared to lugging out an old 17th century volume, as it’s that much bulkier than a regular notepad. But the theatrics of unbinding it and releasing the inner notepad could be enough to convert you from buying a bog standard one from WHSmiths. The overruling plus? It’s refillable, which means this leather bound notebook could be your companion for many years to come. 

10. Filofax Refillable Pastel Notebook A5

A refillable pad with additional organisation abilities

Specifications
Best for: Refillable pages
Colour: Blue, Duck Egg, Purple, Pink
Size: A5
Pages: Ruled
Material: Faux leather
Reasons to buy
+Refillable+Squared or lined pages
Reasons to avoid
-Basic looking 

The Filofax is the original notepad that will allow you to refill the pages once you’ve used them all; so technically, you can keep the notebook cover forever. The cover is pretty plain, but this particular range does come in 4 different pastel colours, so most tastes should be catered for. Inside, there’s a moveable index to help you keep your notes organised, and there’s an inside pocket for storing odd bits of paper that you collect on the go. If you want a notebook that can be customised to your needs, then this one is perfect for keeping track of your day to day tasks or that major project at work.