Sketchbooks and notebooks are an essential part of an architect’s or designer’s life. Sketching and designing go hand in hand. From students to the profession, everyone uses paper and pen to keep their ideas preserved. These books are not just for keeping records but include freehand as well as scaled drawings and present one’s skills. An architect or designer uses these also for their field works. Whenever they find some creativity in nature and their surroundings, they want to keep it. But many times, capturing it on camera is not possible, so they capture the scene in the sketchbooks and notebooks.

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“I don’t sketch to make a beautiful drawing, but to resolve ideas.”

  Architect Eva Jiricna

Following is the list of ten notebooks/ sketchbooks that an architect or designer must use:

1. Moleskine Art Sketchbook | Types of notebooks

Moleskine sketchbooks, in the world of sketchbooks, is the most recommended one. It is manufactured by an Italian company, Moleskine, founded in 1997. It is an affordable product having plain top-quality heavy papers. It has different sizes and colors. Its products are even especially customized for various designers according to their use. It comes with a hardcover and elastic closure as well as a bookmark ribbon. The sketchbooks have an inner expandable pocket containing Moleskine’s history, which is mainly used to store small papers by the users. The paper used is acid-free, smooth, and light cream in color with rounded edges. It hardly bleeds ink on the other side of the paper. Each paperweight is around 165 gsm/111 lb and is FSC Certified Paper.

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2. Leda Art Supply Sketchbook

Leda sketchbooks are made up of perfect quality cream-colored papers with 81 lb weight and ideal for inks and light color washes. They come in different sizes and also in both hard and softbound. They lie flat despite being thread-bound and are flexible which makes them easy for users to handle. Pages get easily removed from the sketchbook. It is affordable for everyday use. It comes with a back pocket and an elastic band to keep the pages together. Its impressive cover looks professional.

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3. Pentalic Pocket Sketchbook Traveler Journal

This traveler journal by Pentalic is a must-have sketchbook for people with a busy schedule to note down stuff on the go. It is a handy pocket journal of 6” by 8”. It has a hardcover which prevents it from wearing out for a long duration. The paper used is thick and does not bleed easily and allows any kind of ink on its surface. The only problem with this sketchbook is that it is not ideally water-resistant. The pages are 120 gsm and acid-free. This sketchbook includes an elastic enclosure, a ribbon bookmark as well as a back page packet.

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4. Sennelier Urban Sketchbook

This urban sketchbook by Sennelier is a unique one. It is for the one who loves to draw or note on locations. It has an innovative fold design that gives the user eight panels per side for panoramic proportions or enough space for several small works. The paperweight is 300 gsm with a rough texture to give a better experience for the wet media and watercolor requirements.

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5. Field Notes | Types of notebooks

Fieldnotes is a vintage-style pocket notebook designed by the Draplin Design Company and Coudal Partners. It measures 4.25” by 6.5” and has 48 pages.  It comes in a pack of 3 memo books available in plain, lined, or graph paper pages. The pages have cut and shaped edges which makes them more professional. It has neutral-colored covers making it a non-gender restricted notebook. It is good for field works and easy to carry. The paper quality is not smooth but stringy and hard, other than that it is a very classy and attractive notebook.

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6. Magma Sketchbook

The magma sketchbook by Magma and Phineas Harper is one of the best notebooks for architects and designers. It has a notebook for every kind of designer that means they have different editions of the notebook. There are four editions: Architecture, Design & Art Direction, Fashion, and Art & Illustration. These books are completely made up of eco-friendly materials with softcovers and are available in gray, blue, and brown colors. If we talk about the Architecture edition then it includes 120 blank and gridded pages and even printed scale rulers in both metric and imperial. Other than this, it also includes 16 pages of information about architecture styles, drawings, circulations, structural details, sustainability, and many other topics.

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7. The Confident Notebook

The confident notebook by Baron Fig is designed by designers for designers. This notebook represents minimalism but is highly aesthetic. It comes with a choice of plain, ruled, and dot grid. It has a hardcover with a heavy ribbon bookmark. It is available in grey, charcoal, and soothing light colors on market. This notebook opens flat so is easy to handle. The paper quality is an acid-free fine grain with rounded corners. It can handle any ink and is safe from degradation.

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8. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook

Rocketbook is a ‘never buy a notebook again’ notebook, which means it lasts forever. It is designed by Rocket Innovations by using polyester paper, but it still feels like an actual one. It is exceptionally well priced. It comes with a pair of heat-sensitive markers and pens with is the only way to write on this notebook. Coming to the secret, this notebook has a mobile application that allows to capture the digital images of the sketches and notes in high resolution and upload them in any location one wants. Now comes the part of reusing which means erasing all the pen marks. It is very simple; one just needs to wipe it with a damp towel or simply put it in a microwave and heat it for 30 seconds. It is ready to be used again.

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9. Grids & Guides

Grids & Guides by Princeton Architectural Press is a 144 paged notebook wrapped in a hard cloth cover. It features eight designs of different graph papers along with many charts, tables, and infographics. It includes pages with numbered lists, cartesian grids, dots, radians, and logarithmic graphs. Every page has a new design of graph so for using this notebook it is better to divide it into graph types. And about the quality of paper, these are of good quality. More than functionality it is worthy of its aesthetics due to the informative inserts.

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10. Art Alternatives “Very Big” Hardcover Sketchbook | Types of notebooks

At the last comes the very big sketchbook by Art Alternatives. It is a 10.75” by 12.5” notebook, perfect for small to large scale sketches. One can also see their transformation and progress by using this sketchbook. It has 600 pages and each page weighs 75lb. It has acid-free white paper with the best texture for drawing. The only difficulty with this is that it is heavy to carry but still best for large-scale purposes.

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  • Studio Alternativi. (n.d.). 10 Best Sketchbooks for architects. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Sep. 2021].
  • (n.d.). Sennelier Urban Sketch Book. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Sep. 2021].

Shreya Sinha, a passionate future architect. Interested in Sustainable Design and Planning of our buildings and spaces, her driving force is her wish to contribute to creating the world a better place for our future generations. She loves listening to music and exploring nature's beauty with her adventurous trips.