Nine nifty ways to use a dotted journal (or planner)

Hands drawing and writing in a dotted journal

There’s nothing plain about the fresh trend in the notebook world – it’s dots! Here’s all you need to know to get the most out of your MOO Hardcover Journal – dot grid version.

Thanks to its versatility and less-is-more appeal the dotted notebook page has been quite ‘the thing’ recently – just ask the journalers of Instagram.

What makes a dotted journal different?

Traditionally, notebook pages came in three options: unruled, wide ruled or narrow ruled. 

Unruled Blank pages have long been the preference of creatives looking to sketch and doodle. 

Ruled lines meanwhile help those whose handwriting tends to slant off into oblivion, as can sometimes happen on a blank page. 

Then there was the squared pages option, which often brought back memories (good or otherwise) of math homework. These made it easier to do things like draw diagrams or lay out a table of figures. But they also made pages look a little denser. They just didn’t leave much room for artistic flourishes or creative expression.

The dot grid however is the goldilocks option – a happy compromise between blank, ruled and squared pages. It feels like a blank sheet of paper… but with built-in autopilot.

Regularly spaced dots can be used to keep handwriting on an even keel, add structure to a table or checkbox layout, or give you the backbone of a diagram. But they don’t make so much of an impact that they get in the way of drawings or make your page look cluttered. 

Best of all, they’re easy to fade out of your photographs using filters and editing tools, so you can post images online and give the impression that you started with a blank page. We won’t tell. Promise.

9 ways to use your dot grid notebook

If you’re lucky enough to be the owner of a MOO Notebook or Journal with dotted pages,  you may already be bursting with ideas for how to use it. Or you may be in search of a little inspiration. If so, we have you covered with a whole list of suggestions for how to use a dotted notebook.

Woman dressed in orange carrying an orange hard cover notebook

1. As a daily journal

Now is the perfect time to start a daily diary. And a dot grid notebook is ideal. Record thoughts, impressions, memories and ideas  – whatever helps you to de-stress or process your day. Just use the horizontal dots the way you’d use lines in a ruled notebook. It may take a little practice, but you’ll be into the swing of it after a line or two.

With a dotted page, you have the added benefit of being able to break out of lined text into doodles or sketches when the mood takes you. Or you can box off different parts of the page so you can capture ideas in a non-linear way.

2. As a dot grid sketchbook

Dots can add an extra element of structure to your sketch practice. They can help with composition, as you’ll be able to better portion out the page for different parts of your drawing. 

They can also lend a hand when it comes to perspective drawing and mapping out geometric forms like buildings and cityscapes.

Finally, you can use them to help you gauge proportions between different elements of your drawing. Say you’re drawing a group of people – if you can see that someone’s head is two dots high, you can use that two-dot measure for other people in the picture and keep everyone’s proportions the same.

If you’re using a dotted notebook as a sketchpad, it’s important to have good quality paper (our 100gsm Munken Kristall, for example) to work on. It really makes the difference. You’ll be able to use an eraser without buckling or wearing the paper, go over lines, and use ink without worrying that it will bleed through.

3. For practicing calligraphy

Caught the hand-lettering bug? If you’re into calligraphy, or if you fancy giving it a try, a dot grid journal is a great item to have in your kit.

Not only will a dotted ruling keep your lettering perfectly horizontal on the page, it also helps you to keep even spacing between letters and words, and to make sure your letter forms (‘e’s, ‘a’s, the tails of your ‘y’ and so on) are consistent and beautifully even.

Unlike a lined pad, a dotted paper notebook’s ruling won’t cut through the downstrokes on under-hanging letters and create an unsightly interruption of your flowing script. It’s barely there and easy to fade out when you publish your finished piece on Instagram.

4. For doodles

Sometimes, you don’t want to create masterworks, or even finished drawings – you just want to let your pencil or pen go for a walk and see what happens. Doodling is a great stress-reliever and can help you through a creative block or a long meeting. So why not dedicate a whole dotted notebook to this noble pursuit?

Using dotted paper gives you a framework to doodle on – try joining the dots in random ways, using them to make the corners of squares and rectangles, or turning each dot into the starting point for a repeat pattern or shape.

5. As a planner

Want to give your day some order? Use that helpful dot grid to create a weekly planner with boxes for each day, or a daily calendar that helps you stay on track of your tasks from morning to evening. Since you’ve got a whole dotted notebook to play with, you could keep things fresh by trying different layouts and structures each week. That’s a benefit you just don’t get with pre-printed planners.

Closeup of a green dotted journal

6. As a place for brainstorms

Dotted paper gives you the freedom to get your thoughts down on paper in whatever way makes sense. Use the dots to create flow-charts to help you map out business plans or projects. Write sideways and upside down, or use thought bubbles and boxes to separate themes and ideas from each other. The page is whatever you make it.

7. As a bullet journal

Bullet journaling could be credited with kicking off the dot grid trend, although there’s no rule saying the two have to go hand in hand. We’ve written previously about the power of the bullet journal system – essentially, it’s a minimalist form of keeping daily notes and planning your time. Given that dot grids are a minimalist form of page ruling, it’s unsurprising that they’re a great fit.

Use the dots in your notebook to form starting points for your notations, and use them to create a pleasingly well-proportioned index at the start of your journal.

8. For organized checklists

Got a to-do list to write out? Making a shopping list? Use the dots of your dotted page notebook to make four-cornered checkboxes for that authentic ‘tick off’ moment. 

So satisfying!

9. For keeping record

The versatility of a dotted journal means you can easily create charts and graphics to record progress over time, and they’ll look neater and cleaner than they might on ruled or blank paper. Use the dots to form the basis of a bar chart, so you can fill in squares to represent your spending each month, or your progress through a book you’re reading.

You can also use the dots to create tables for columns of figures, ideal for doing business expenses or planning your savings for a holiday or vacation.

Explore our Wow from home range to help you stay creative and organized, whatever your situation.

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