Within and without the bullet journal community, there is a passionate fervor for Moleskine classic notebooks. They are popular. And honestly, it’s easy to see why they appeal to the journal-loving audience. They have massive brand recognition, they are beautifully designed, and they are widely available. What’s not to love? After several years of trying out all kinds of journals, I have experienced the positives and the negatives of this massively popular notebook. Keep reading for a full Moleskine classic notebook review and see if these journals are really worth all the buzz.
My Moleskine Classic Notebook Review
By the time I bought my first Moleskine classic notebook, I had already been using my bullet journal for a while. I decided that I would use my new Moleskine as a Morning Pages journal instead of using it as a bullet journal. The Moleskine notebook I bought was a 5″ x 8.25″ softcover journal with dot grid pages. In my Moleskine, I wrote three pages longhand with a fountain pen every day for months, so I’d say I got pretty acquainted with this notebook. And after all that time using the Moleskine, I was surprised by what I found.
Where to Find Moleskine Classic Notebooks
Of all the journals and notebooks that I see used in the bullet journal community, the Moleskine is the one that I see in the wild the most. I’ve seen the Moleskine classic notebook sold in local art stores, big box art stores, bookstores, and coffee shops. You can always pick one up if you’re out and about, or you can check out Amazon for a wide range of color and size options.
What makes the Moleskine classic notebook so insanely popular? Here are some of the Moleskine’s stronger traits.
First and foremost, I think it’s worth noting that a brand name always comes with some level of comfort. You know that lots of people have used and enjoyed this journal, and there is some level of status that comes with a name brand. After all, Moleskine markets their journals as the kinds of journals academics, artists, and intellectuals use. When you use a Moleskine journal, you can’t help but feel that you are some kind of respectable author writing your next best-selling novel or a professor making an important breakthrough in your research. At least, I know that I feel that way. It’s something that very few other journal brands have made me feel, and I think I can say it’s due to Moleskine’s marketing.
As I mentioned above, Moleskine is incredibly easy to get your hands on. In fact, Moleskine is one of the very few high-quality notebooks that I’ve seen regularly in physical stores. Usually, I find that I have to purchase journals online or hunt down the nearest retailer.
Soft and Hard Covers
Some journals are hardcovers, some are softcovers. With Moleskine, you can get either — or both! The Moleskine classic notebook line has plenty of options for whatever type of cover you enjoy most.
When it comes to options, Moleskine has you covered. There are several different sizes and colors of notebooks, so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly. There are also several types of paper types, with choices between plain, ruled, squared, or dotted. This level of variety is certainly one of Moleskine’s major strengths.
When it comes to cost, Moleskine does a pretty good job of keeping their prices moderate. Moleskine is by no means cheap, but their classic notebooks are quite competitively priced.
I am a bit of a paper snob, which isn’t terribly shocking considering how much I like to hand letter and watercolor in my journals. The paper in the Moleskine classic notebook is only 70 gsm, as compared to the Leuchtturm1917 journal’s 80 gsm. Among the most popular bullet journal notebooks, Moleskine has some of the thinnest paper. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t take a beating. In my bullet journal watercolor test, I pushed my Moleskine classic notebook to the limit and it survived. While the paper didn’t handle the stress flawlessly, it did do a decent job of preventing bleeding or other drastic effects.
One small detail that I think is worth mentioning is the pocket on the inside of the back cover. While I didn’t tend to use this pocket that often, it could be a handy addition for anyone who likes collecting small scraps of paper like movie tickets or receipts.
There are certainly a lot of benefits to the Moleskine classic notebook, but I ran into several flaws that I thought were pretty darn irritating.
The Moleskine was able to hold its own during the brutal watercolor test, but I still wasn’t totally blown away by the paper overall. I found that the paper in my Moleskine classic notebook was quite prone to ghosting, which can be pretty annoying. And although the watercolors didn’t bleed, the stress of the wetness led to quite a lot of warping and wrinkling of the paper. When it comes to lettering, drawing with ink, or using a medium that’s heavy like watercolor, I wouldn’t choose a Moleskine classic notebook. It doesn’t quite measure up compared to other journals in this category, which is why I haven’t bought another Moleskine notebook.
One thing that irritated me the most about the Moleskine classic notebook was the incredibly flimsy bookmark. As I said, I used my notebook for Morning Pages, which meant that the journal stayed safely in my office the entire time I used it. Somehow, despite this gentle handling, the bookmark managed to pull loose from the spine and detach itself entirely from the journal. I can’t help but wonder how the rest of the journal would have fared if I put it in my bag every day. Perhaps this issue was isolated and not all Moleskines are so fragile, but I’m less inclined to spend my money on a product that may fall apart at any time.
Another qualm I have with the Moleskine classic notebook is with the strength of the elastic strap. I found that the elasticity of the strap wore out pretty immediately, leaving it weak and ineffectual. With the elastic strap being so weak, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting the notebook in a purse or backpack. The elastic band is the security that is supposed to keep the journal closed and the pages safe, but I can’t say I’d trust this band to do its job. It might not be a big deal to some people, but I know I absolutely loathe when the pages of a journal get creased, torn, or ripped out entirely. The elastic strap paired with the bookmark makes me feel less than confident about this notebook’s reliability and sturdiness.
When you’re trying to find the perfect journal, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Moleskine classic notebooks are a great option if you want an affordable journal that you can customize to your tastes, but they aren’t great for all uses. I found that I’m not a huge Moleskine fan for the type of writing and journaling that I enjoy, but that is just me! You might find that the Moleskine classic notebook line is ideal for you and that you can look past some of this journal’s weaknesses. In the end, it’s totally up to you!
I hope you have found this Moleskine classic notebook review helpful! Let me know in the comments section what product you want me to review next, and head to the My Supplies page to see some of my other favorite materials!
Enter the Fox Den Resource Library
Subscribe now to get access to 40+ pages of free journal printables, brush lettering worksheets, video tutorials, and tons more!