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A bullet journal – or BuJo – can be anything and everything you want it to be. It can act as your daily planner, monthly planner, list of goals, diary, to-do list, and so much more. Bullet journals aren’t complete without their themes, stickers, and beautiful artwork. The design is such an integral part that many people spend hours seeking the best bullet journal theme ideas.
To create a great bullet journal theme, you can’t go wrong with seasons and memorable places on a monthly spread. This is why these themes remain the most popular. However, there are plenty of other choices; an emoji-themed BuJo makes for a fun bullet journal that can be used as a mood tracker. You can also opt for collection themes that include your favorite superheroes, supercars, movies, and TV shows.
In this article, we explore some of the best themes for bullet journals that would be perfect for 2023. So, let’s get started.
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To those who are new to bullet journals, we know it can mean information overload when searching the Internet. It is easy to get mixed up with terms like layouts, indexes, themes, and spreads. We strongly suggest that you tread lightly and limit your research. The whole idea behind bullet journals is to become more organized and make things less complicated for yourself.
The best way to start bullet journaling is to start out simple. Begin by choosing a layout and a theme. Layout refers to how you want to organize your ideas, tasks, or progress. Theme refers to the design of your bullet journal.
Regardless of whether you are new at BuJo or have been doing it for years, everyone needs theme inspiration when they are designing their journal. Therefore, we have narrowed it down for you and curated a list of some of the best bullet journal themes for this year.
One of the most popular layouts, in bullet journals, is monthly spreads. The entire journal is divided into all the months of the year and helps you plan everything. This kind of layout is not only great for helping you meet your goals but also helps you keep a record of your progress and accomplishments. You can go back to earlier months any time and see how far you’ve come.
Once you have decided on the monthly spread as a layout, here comes the fun part. You can use your creativity and make every month visually appealing.
Themes For Collections
A collection is another popular layout in buJo that allows you to dedicate portions of things that are important to you. For instance, a list of souvenirs you want to collect from every country in the world, gifts you need to purchase for holidays, books you want to read, experiences you want to have, etc.
The best thing about this layout is that it can entertain many designs in one journal. Each list of collections can have a different theme and it gives you a lot of creative liberty.
You can have different themes for each spread and collection, or keep it cohesive and have an overarching theme for your whole bullet journal. The great thing is it is completely up to you.
Here are some great ideas for your 2023 setup:
- Seasons: What better way to represent every month than with the season it brings? Use winter wonderland themes such as penguins, mountains, ice skating, and snowflakes for all the winter months. Fall months are great for you to bring out the leaves, autumn trees, woodland art, sunflowers, and hot air balloons. Spring can have a different flower for every month or it can be flowers for one and birds for another. Picnics, butterflies, and rainy days are all great designs for spring. Sea and sand, flip-flops, watermelons, ice cream, and anything else you associate with warm weather for the summer months.
- Places: If you love to travel, then using your dream destination for every month is a great way to personalize your bullet journal. Perhaps you like New York in December? Bali in August? Japan and its Sakura season in April? With this theme, you’d have endless choices to choose from.
- Colours: A great way to have a cohesive theme throughout your journal, yet change things up every month is to have a colour theme. Choose a colour that is predominate in all your spreads but then do it a different way each design. You can have a theme, while being completely different at the same time.
- Nature: So many good themes can be found in the natural worlds. Wilderness, forests, mountains, flowers, the beach, the sky (both night and day), galaxies and planets. Look around you and be inspired.
- Sports: Use your favorite sport or team and create a design. Whether its through the colours of your team or through the sport itself, it is a great way to get you enthused about your spreads.
- Weather: Use rain, snow, sunshine, clouds, umbrellas, thunderstorms, rainbows anything to evoke a feeling of your favourite type of weather.
- Food: Donuts, cupcakes, drinks and cocktails, ice cream, tea, coffee, chocolate and fruit are just some things to use.
- Plants and Gardening: Cactus, succulents, ferns, flowers, the options are endless when it comes to plants. There are many tutorials about how to doodle plants so choose your favorite and get started. Add some gardening tools like watering cans etc to complete your theme.
- Transport: Cars, planes, trains, boats, hot air balloons. So many options. This is a great choice if you love to travel or you can even design something like ‘driving to my goals’ with a great car design.
- Animals: Animal lovers can go all out with this theme by designing and tailoring it around different animals. A few suggestions are:
– Bees and honeycomb
– Tigers & other big cats
– Whales & Dolphins
– Fish & Other sea creatures
– Native animals (eg Australia would have kangaroos, koalas, emus, platypus etc)
- Books: Choose your favourite author or story and theme around that.
- Movies and Shows: Movies and shows make for excellent themes. If you are listing down work-related tasks, using the ‘The Office’ TV show theme would make for a great design. Matilda the Musical is another great idea for a bullet journal theme that lists your favorite books to read. Or pick your favourite movie or show and use it throughout. There are some amazing designs on Instagram and Pinterest to get inspiration, especially for things like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney or Marvel.
- Video Games: Choose your favourite game for a theme.
- Fantasy: Fairy tales, Unicorns, Mermaids or anything fantastic.
- Shopping: If you’re a shopaholic, then why not create a shopping theme. It can also be a cute design if you are trying to curb the habit and creating a no spend tracker. I’ve even seen amazing themes using just socks.
- Clothes/Shoes/Makeup: Use things you love to create themes. If you have a passion for shoes, then doodle those pages with what makes you happy.
- Music: Use musical instruments, notes and sheet music to create a magical, musical theme.
- Christmas: Mostly used in December (obviously) but you can mix it up and add it to a July theme as well. Or the whole year – who cares?
- Hobbies and Activities: Camping, knitting, baking, sewing, surfing, fishing, photography etc.
- Party and Celebration: Its party time! Balloons, confetti, fireworks are all great and happy things to use as a theme. Or go with a celebration or holiday that’s coming up in the month (like world chocolate day).
- Decades: Go for a theme of decades. For example if you grew up in the 80’s you could decorate with bright colours, 80’s movies and music, or fashion.
- Quotes: Use quotes to style your bullet journal and create a whole year of inspiration to yourself.
- Minimalist: Pair it back completely and go for a minimalist style. You can still make your journal look pretty but focus more on functionality and practicality. Remember, you are supposed to be using your journal to focus and improve productivity.
A mood or habit tracker is a great way to maintain your mental and physical health. It also allows you to notice patterns of your mood around certain people or in certain places. A habit tracker helps you recognize your positive and negative habits, their frequency, and what triggers them. Having this data on your moods and habits allows you to work on them.
Here are some fantastic tracker theme ideas for this year:
- Emojis: An emoji-themed mood tracker is one of the most fitting ways to keep track of your day-to-day feelings. You can either draw your emojis to represent different types of moods or you can rely on some fantastic sticker sets to help you build up your design.
- Memes: If you are a fan of memes then you know that there’s a meme out there that best describes your current mood. Print them out, and design a mood tracker with a meme theme. Not only will it allow you to note down your accurate feelings and emotions every day, but will also put a smile on your face every time you open your buJo.
- Exercise and health: Get yourself inspired with your habit trackers with an exercise theme. Some ideas are exercise equipment, fruit and veg, an alarm clock, water bottle, heart rate and footprints.
How to Create Your Bullet Journal Theme
Once you’ve chosen your theme, it is time to create the look you are after. This can be done in many ways, however the most common you will see is those elaborately drawn designs on Instagram or Pinterest. Don’t be disheartened! There are many ways to create the theme you want without needing to be an award winning artist.
Draw or doodle
If you have some talent, then drawing allows you to create a page how you want it. You can draw backgrounds, pictures, doodles and let your creativity shine.
If you want a simple way to get a creative look, or if you can’t (or don’t like to) draw, then using stickers can allow you to create beautiful pages with a lot of themes. Just use Google or Amazon and type in ‘your theme sitickers’ and you will usually find plenty.
Washi tape is a great way to add some colour and a theme to your page. There are more and more tapes coming out with so many various designs that you are sure to find something to complement your theme choice.
When looking though bullet journal supplies, stamps are an underrated feature. There are so many designs available and if you get good quality washable stamps, also get ink pads in many different colors so you can have a choice in design.
Shaping your page can create an intriguing and different look. Otherwise known as creating a dutch door, the process involves cutting the edge of your page in different ways to create an aesthetic look, or for practicality. The original dutch door is created by cutting pages horizontally so the top and bottom more independently, but you can also cut page vertically to make some pages smaller than others (for example to always show a monthly calendar while the smaller pages have the weekly one). Shaping pages can also be done to create curves or decorations.
Pictures and Scrapbooking
A great way to build your theme is by gluing in pictures or paper. If you have a particular theme in mind, you might find the easiest way to build it is to print out pictures and stick them into your journal or find wrapping paper, scrapbook paper or anything that can help create your theme.
Creating your bullet journal theme
- Plan your theme and pages. Go through and make a list of what pages you want in your bullet journal and how you are going to fit them into your theme.
- Outline lightly in pencil. It’s good to outline your pages in pencil first. Whether it is a spread, collection or tracker, putting it down in something that can easily be erased and changed allows you to get an idea of how everything will fit on the page.
- Create your design. Draw, doodle, use stencils, shape pages, use stickers, use stamps, use washi tape, glue in pictures, whatever you want to do to create your finished design. You can use markets, pens, pencils, watercolor paint, just be mindful that the stronger mediums will need thicker and better quality paper to avoid bleeding or ghosting.
- Admire your work. Always sit back and reflect on your page. It doesn’t matter if it is simplistic and minimal or could be hung in an art gallery, it is a reflection of you as it is nice to just simply look at what you have designed.
- Use your journal. No matter what theme you use, the most important thing is that you actually use your journal. After all, that is why you started it.
Picking the best themes for bullet journals can be a daunting task. After all, it is the design that makes you excited to pick up your journal every day and is often the source of comfort you seek. That being said, don’t let choosing a theme stress you out. Have fun with it, experiment, and find your style.
If you want to try out a theme, but aren’t confident with drawing, use stickers or stencils. Remember that it’s your journal and only you have to look at it. Just do whatever make you happy and makes you want to use your bullet journal every day.