Updated: Aug 16
Bullet Journalling, or the art of flexible planning has been around for quite a few years now, and I've been keeping one since 2017 on top of keeping a personal journal on the side.
Journalling in India had had its challenge in the early days because there wasn't a whole lot of options when it came to notebooks, and my first BuJo was a basic ruled notebook, at the default of anything else being available in a price range I could then afford.
India took a bit of time to wake up to the dotted grid notebook concept that makes keeping a bullet journal a whole lot easier, especially if you are into making cute spreads and trackers. The first Dotted Grid Journal I had was one from the brand "MyPaperclip" (affiliate link) which doesn't seem to exist anymore. Back then that notebook set me about 800 rupees and it was actually quite expensive for what it was. The cover wasn't really sturdy, the paper was your average paper, but it was the first dotted grid notebook that wasn't imported and sold at a king's ransom price on Amazon.
Over the years, the bullet journal options multiplied in India and I've tried quite a few. Here are 5 popular brands/type available in India, for all budget, out of which I tried 3 for multiple purposes and heard nothing but good things about the other two. Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links, if you click on them and buy anything, I get paid a commission at no extra costs to you. If you read this blog from outside India, Leuchtturm and Archer & Olive are available worldwide, so the review can still help you make your choice for your next journal.
This notebook made in India comes in two covers style : Signature Marvel with a rough paper texture and Signature Elite with a smooth vegan leather, both are hard cover journals and they have the exact same number of page and quality of paper inside. Both come in a variety of colors and are by far the most budget friendly and value for money dotted grid journals on the market.
If you are a beginner, this is the BuJo you've been looking for! It has 248 NUMBERED dotted pages, and 3 pages of Index at the beginning of the journal which is quite impressive as far as number of pages go in any notebook. You can really go nuts with BuJo spreads and trackers without fear of running out of space too quickly. I used mine to fit a whole year the both time I used these. It also come with a few pages of stickers to use in your journal, and a folio pocket at the back. The stickers are pretty basic and not really to my taste but I used a few of them, so not a total loss. The Matrikas Marvel which you can see in the picture above went through a LOT of abuse in 2020 (pretty much like all of us) and it was the year I did the most complex spread with half pages, and folds and used tons of stickers and washi tape, by the end of the year, the cover had bends and creases and a lot of stains because of it's rough paper texture but the binding held. The paper in it is 80gsm and it doesn't bleed with most pens, except Stabilo Highlighter and a few blue, purple and red brush pens, those are pigmented to bleed through a lot of different papers, no matter the brand of pens. The favourite thing I had about those 2 journals was the fact they had 3 bookmarks, that's the highest number I've ever seen in a journal.
Chances are you've heard of this brand and have been looking at them on Amazon but been repelled by the high price tag. That is because for some reasons, the sellers on Amazon pumped up the price a great deal. If you want to get your hand on a Leuchtturm, and you totally should, the best way to do so in India is also a way that support a great small business entirely dedicated to BuJo supplies : Bigger Dreams Co.
There is a reason why Leuchtturms have been popular for years. They have 251 pages of silky smooth 80gsm paper with a finish that prevents the ink from your pens to sink through and bleed, which most 80gsm paper doesn't do. This one can even take some light watercolor as long as you don't use too much water. It has more pages than the Matrikas, with the same paper thickness but the book looks a lot less bulky and it's glossy cover can be wiped clean easily and seems a bit less bendable than the Matrikas Marvel in particular. I haven't used Leuchtturm for my Bullet Journal, but have one for my personal self-growth journal and I LOVE it, so much so I bought another one to keep track of my earnings and spendings.
Leuchtturms are also available with thicker 120gsm paper for those who prefer using a lot of paint in their journal, again, available with Bigger Dreams Co. in India.
archer & olive
The Rolls Royces of the Bujo world! These notebooks need no introduction to those in the journalling world, they are best known for their super thick 160 gsm paper whcih can take a LOT of "abuse" without bleeding. From experience only 2 types of markers will bleed through that paper : Stabilo Boss highlighters (go figure) and Copic markers, but then alcohol based markers bleed through ANY paper and they are definitely not your standard BuJo supplies anyway.
In India, those are available only in two places : Bigger Dreams Co. Though they have not restocked the brand in over a year. And Paper Planning and More which is another small business dedicated to bring you the best bullet journal supplies from around the world in India.
There is no way to soften the blow, Archer & Olive notebooks are expensive, so I would never recommend it to a newbie or someone that is having a more utilitarian approach to bullet journalling. These are meant for those who like their journal to be artsy and creative and use a lot of mediums, including paint. I've used them as a self-growth journal in 2020, a BuJo in 2021 and this year I'm keeping it in their Blackout book. I might not use an A&O as a BuJo again, but might definitely use them as art journals, they are pretty much meant for that type of heavy duty journaling with their strong binding and quality thick paper.
This is one brand that the bullet journal community raves about but I am yet to try, I thought I'd add it to the list because they are widely available on Amazon, on Bigger Dreams and Paper Planning and More.
They are marketed as an eco-friendly brand of journal that are all vegan, recyclable and degradable. The journals have 100gsm acid-free paper and 192 pages. The notebook is designed for bullet journalling with index pages, and future log pages at the beginning.
the jotting dots
This is the latest brand on the block, made in India and one I am yet to try and probably will try as an art journal soon. They have a wide range of notebooks with think paper : 120, 160 and 190 gsm, and they are available in several sizes including square, B5, and A5. Right now they are available on their own website : The Jotting Dots or at Bigger Dreams Co.
These could be an excellent alternative to Archer & Olive in India because they have the same thickness of paper, and are a lot more budget friendly. On their website, they also sell watercolors and washi tape that are worth checking.
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