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While it is not something everyone has considered, a lot of bullet journaling enthusiasts wonder what type of journal will be better? Dotted or gridded?
This is a debate which has a fair few people on each side, and a lot of people are passionate about their preference. If you are undecided, this can make choosing which is best for you quite a tricky decision.
So, which will be better? Dots or a grid?
For a quick answer, we think there is an advantage to getting bullet journals which have a dotted grid. We think this is because it has more unique advantages to other alternatives like a lined grid.
This will also help make your page a lot more visually appealing and will also give you plenty of structure and guidance without being overbearing.
A great thing about a dot grid is that this will scale easily to ensure that it will work with whatever layout you want to go for.
However, most people will want more of an explanation of why dot grids are the preferable choice. Because of this we will use this guide to go into detail on why we think you should use a dot grid journal for your bullet journaling!
What Is A Dot Grid Journal?
Simply speaking, a dot grid journal is a notebook or journal which has its pages using a grid layout, however instead of the grid being spaced out using lines, it instead uses evenly spaced dots instead.
This means that only the intersections of the grid will be visible as dots, but the connections between them will not be.
A lot of people see this style when flipping through different notebooks in a stationery store and do not know what this style is best for.
However, the main use for this style has been bullet journaling, so this is why you will find this style of notebook being sold in more and more stores.
Do Bullet Journals Have To Be Dotted?
When it comes to bullet journaling, while there are some rules which most people tend to follow, there are no strict guidelines in place. This means that there is no requirement for a bullet journal to have a dot grid layout.
So, if you have found a notebook style which you absolutely love, but it does not come in a dot grid journal style, then do not worry as this style can still work for bullet journaling.
Plenty of people have created incredibly intricate and impressive designs on whatever style of notebook they can get their hands on.
So, do not feel limited by needing to get a dot grid journal style, however, this is the style which we think is the best. The main reason people tend to start bullet journaling is that it will help them become more organized and have a better way to log their life.
This means that the type of paper you are using does not really have that much of a bearing.
However, if you want to know which type of paper is likely to prompt the most creativity and allow you to work without many restrictions, then dot grid journal is the way to go.
Why Bullet Journals Are Usually Dotted?
You will find that a lot of people love bullet journaling because they are an amazing outlet for creativity intersecting with organization and planning.
This is something which a lot of people love about bullet journaling, and if there was not this intersection between organization and aesthetics, then it would likely not appeal to as many people.
People usually aim for their bullet journal to look as nice as they can. This is why dots are so popular for bullet journaling.
They give you a more lean and clean way to organize your bullet journal without having to worry about there being too much on the page.
The main advantage dot grid journals have over solid lines is that they simply take up less visual space meaning that you have more freedom with your designs and they are less likely to look garish.
And, the advantage they have over just plain white paper is that you get enough structure to ensure that what you are journaling will stay aligned and where you want it to be.
A lot of people see it as a big advantage to be able to decorate their page as accurately, but as freely as they want, and this is where dot grid journals look best!
Advantages Of Dot Grid
While we have already mentioned a couple of the reasons why we love working with dot grid journals, let’s look at some of them laid out in a way that might be easier to understand and explain!
More Visually Appealing
This has already been covered, but by only having a dot grid on the page, your bullet journal will be a lot less busy, while still giving you guidance.
While fully lined and fully gridded paper serve their purpose, they also tend to just take up a lot of space on your page and this can end up feeling a little limiting and like you do not have much space to work with.
But with bullet journals you will get a much better looking final result because you have almost complete control over your final page design.
When you leave lines or full grids empty, they end up feeling like they are taking up space and are noticeable, but untouched dots on a dot grid journal do not feel nearly as noticeable.
Provides Adequate Guidance & Structure
While having random dots on the page might serve some people, the reason why the dots work so well is that they are evenly spaced in a grid.
This means that you know exactly how much space is between each dot and you can use this to make planning your page as simple as possible.
This means you can choose to fill them accurately with whatever you want, and you do not have to worry about them being uneven.
Once your page is filled up, everything should look neat and perfect, thanks to how useful the guides on the page are, however, these guides are not that noticeable because they are just dots and do not take up too much attention or space.
Scales Easily To Your Layout
The most common size you will find when it comes to dot grid journals is that there will be a 5 mm spacing between each of the dots.
However, this is not a guarantee, and you can find some dot grid journals having dots that are only 3 or 4 mm apart, and there are even some bigger ones which can have spaces that are as big as 7 mm.
This means that you have plenty of choice when it comes to how you choose to lay out your page.
You will be able to use these equally spaced dots as a unit for measuring different elements on your page which is incredibly useful.
This means that different elements of the page can be easily scaled up as well as repeated since you will have the same measurements on every page.
This is also perfect when it comes to your writing in a dot grid journal as well since the dots act as a guideline for how big your text is, so if you want to have something to compare the size of your letters to, the dots are a simple answer.
Writing Neatly On Dot Grid Paper
Part of the reason why people love bullet journaling is because of how nostalgic it feels to handwrite something yourself. This is even better if you are taking your time and can ensure that everything looks just as you would imagine it would.
However, this is not the case for everyone and a lot of people end up being embarrassed by the quality of their handwriting.
This can make writing on dot grid journals quite imposing since if you do not know how to write well on paper you are used to using, then the thought of using a new layout might feel scary.
However, you do not have to worry and writing on dot grid journal paper is not that tricky and a lot easier than writing on blank paper.
It can be just as simple as writing on lined or grid paper, and there are some simple techniques you can keep in mind to make it simple.
You do not want to worry about rushing this since bullet journaling is not something that you want to feel like you have to be quick with.
It is something you will naturally get quicker at as you go, so do not worry if you feel like you are really slow when you start.
Being slow is actually some of the best advice we can give when it comes to bullet journaling on dot grid journal paper.
You might feel like you are being too slow and want to be quicker, but if you know how to pace yourself then you will realize that your end results will be something to be proud of.
You might feel like after a while you are getting tired and want to speed it up, but this is the best way to start lowering the quality of your work, and we strongly advise against this.
Instead, we recommend that if you are getting tired, just walk away and spend some time to get over the fatigue of holding the pen.
You might even want to try a looser grip on the pen, this can make your hand feel a lot less tired.
Something which can help a lot of people when they start to use their dot grid journal is to visualize what they are writing to help it feel a lot more natural.
This will likely not feel as natural at first, but if you are accustomed to writing on lined paper then this can be incredibly useful. All you have to do while writing is try to imagine lines connecting the dots of your bullet journal so you can imagine horizontal lines to write on.
This can act as a boundary and will ensure that your letters do not end up anywhere where you do not want them.
If you are writing on a bullet journal that has quite small spaces between dotted lines, then you might want to leave spaces between each line so you do not have too much overlap between your writing.
If you want the best looking results by the time you have finished your journaling, then you need to keep in mind consistency.
You want to keep in mind how your form will look, your curves, your spacing, as well as a slant you might be working with.
If you can keep a consistent look, then the final result on the page will be stunning. There are some simple tricks you can try to get a great result with this.
For example, you can ensure that both the top and the bottom of your letters align on an identical plane horizontally.
You will want the bottom of your letters to touch the lower boundary, but not to protrude through it unless this is intentional with descending letters.
You also want to retain a uniform slant on all of the letters. Make sure they are all leaning in the same direction at a uniform angle.
You should also try to have equal spacing between the letters in a word and ensure that separate words also have similar spacing between the letters as well.
If you practice following guidelines like these, you will notice that your handwriting will start to look a lot better and this can increase how much you end up enjoying this hobby!
Summary – Best Type Of Dot Grid Notebooks
While you might like a smaller or larger grid size, we have found the best success when working with a standard 5 mm dotted grid.
This gives you enough spacing between rows, but if you want to add rows for spacing, this also looks great, meaning that you have plenty of options for spacing and layouts.
This is also a useful size of grids to get accustomed to since, as we mentioned, this is the most common size you will find.
If you get accustomed to writing with a larger or smaller grid spacing, then once you finish the dot grid journal, then you might struggle to find a replacement with the same size, especially if you do not want to just buy the same journal again.
We recommend the best size pages for bullet journaling is either an A5 or B5 size, and you should use pages which are archival quality and acid free.
You want the stock to be 60lb with about 150 pages numbered in the journal. You also want it to lie flat while open, and we prefer working with a more minimalist or simple page design, but this is more up to preference.