Whether you’re looking to take down key details at a moment’s notice, or hand-write a sprawling historical epic from start to finish, choosing a notebook that’s the right size is going to make your life much, much easier. Understanding how big or small a notebook is can be tricky to do online, though, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you figure out which notebook is right for you.
A5 (14.8cm wide x 21cm tall)
Giving you a solid amount of room to write while fitting neatly into your bag, it’s easy to see why A5 notebooks are our most popular option. That finely-balanced size makes an A5 notebook a versatile choice, able to bounce from morning commutes to meetings with clients to afternoon reflections at home with equal ease. And when you’re ready to use it, there’s no compromise on space or comfort as you start to fill its pages.
Moleskine's archetypal Classic Hard Cover Notebook
The name ‘Moleskine’ is so widely recognised that it’s basically a synonym for notebook, and their Large Hard Cover Notebook is probably the most recognisable notebook in the world. Though it’s technically a little smaller than the A5 standard (every maker has their own variation on what A5 means), Moleskine’s Large Notebook is a beautiful example of why the A5 format is so popular, and definitely influenced how other notebook makers like Rhodia, Leuchtturm1917 and MiGoals design their range.
Delfonics' legendary Rollbahn notebooks come in an array of sizes from B5 (the largest currently available), A5 in Spiral and Slim styles, the Large (which is slightly smaller than the A5), down to Medium and the Mini (among the smallest notebooks in our range)
Pocket (9cm wide x 14cm tall)
Pocket notebooks are a close second, designed with an emphasis on portability. Also known as A6 notebooks, a Pocket notebook is roughly half the size of an A5, so it takes up even less space in your bag (or, y’know… pocket). Keeping things compact does mean cutting down on page room, and the smaller pages mean it can be a little trickier to write in a pocket notebook. For quick notes, reminders and to-do lists, though, dropping a few centimetres of writing room to make it easier to keep your notebook on-hand is a no-brainer.
Field Notes' pocket-sized set of 3 Original Notebooks
No one loves the Pocket notebook like Field Notes does. Inspired by the promotional memo books that mid-century American agricultural companies would give to farmers, Field Notes’ range is designed to be compact and hard-wearing enough to be stuffed into the pocket of your overalls during harvest season. Others like Moleskine’s Cahier range, Karst’s Pocket Journals and Clairefontaine’s Stapled Notebooks draw inspiration from traditional French exercise books for simple, lightweight options that are easy to carry around wherever you go.
Moleskine notebooks in A4 (largest), Extra Large, Large (aka A5) and Pocket sizes with a Blackwing pencil for scale
A4 (21cm wide x 29.7cm tall)
Wide open spaces
Where the Pocket notebooks are all about portability over space, A4 notebooks take the opposite approach, giving you plenty of room to write, draw or do whatever else you can imagine. The same as a standard piece of paper and roughly twice as big as an A5 option, A4 notebooks are less practical for carrying around, but if you’re sitting down at your desk to write a new novel, an A4 notebook is the perfect creative companion, giving you all the space you need to let your imagination run wild.
Clairefontaine's Thread-bound A4 Notebook gives you plenty of room to create, on beautiful French paper
Premium paper-makers love A4 notebooks, so you’ll find plenty of options from French icons like Rhodia and Clairefontaine, as well as distinct but equally majestic notebooks made in the Japanese tradition by long-running brands Life Stationery and Midori. Because they’re typically made to live on your desk, most have a supple soft cover, but if you’re keen to take your notebook on the road, Rhodia’s Webnotebook and Leuchtturm1917’s Classic Master Notebook are robust options that give you plenty of space to create.
Studio Milligram's B5 notebook is an increasingly popular option for stationery connoisseurs, while the A5 is an eternal favourite
B5 (17.6cm wide x 25cm tall)
The Goldilocks notebook
Sitting halfway between A4 and A5 in size, B5 notebooks are a growing favourite among stationery aficionados, driven by Japanese stationery brands who favour this perfectly-balanced size. Offering a touch more space over the much-loved A5 without being as unwieldy as an A4 notebook might be, B5 is the Goldilocks of notebook sizes that might be just right for you.
Because B5 is still something of a cult-favourite, there are fewer notebooks to choose from in this size, but they also tend to be of a higher quality than most. Life Stationery, a family business who’ve been making notebook by hand for decades now, make some magnificent B5 notebooks that are personal favourites of our Pen Doctor, and everyone on the Milligram team loves Delfonics’ Rollbahn B5 (though we all lament the loss of the Extra Large Rollbahn, RIP to a legend).
Go your own way
When it comes to notebook sizing, there are no rules – that’s why Moleskine calls an A5 notebook ‘Large’ and Leuchtturm1917 calls it ‘Medium’. Even more confusing, Japanese stationery legend Delfonics has both A5 and Large Rollbahns, but the A5 is the bigger of the two, while French paper icons Clairefontaine make notebooks in A4+ and A6+ just to complicate matters even further.
If none of these options are quite right for you, never fear – we’ve got dozens more notebooks in a dizzying range of sizes, from the adorably tiny Delfonics Rollbahn Mini to Moleskine’s expansive A3 Art Sketchbook, and you’ll find the measurements for each notebook in the specifications on each product. And sometimes one notebook just isn’t enough – we’re big fans of having a few notebooks in different sizes and styles on-hand to suit our different needs.