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Lay-Flat Notebooks Perfect for Your Desk

Lay-Flat Notebooks Perfect for Your Desk

Spend any amount of time on Cool Material and you’ll know we’re huge fans of pocket notebooks, journals, cahiers, memo pads, composition books and any  collections of blank pages we can use to commit thoughts, ideas, and projects to paper. We love all of them. But there will always be a special place in our hearts for notebooks that will easily sit on the desk while we convert all of our crazy notions into actionable items and to-do lists. That’s where lay-flat notebooks come in. These are our current favorites.

NOMATIC Notebook and Planner

The NOMATIC Notebook and Planner—formerly the Basics Notebook—is a product that we imagine came from a group of creatives sitting down and pondering how they could improve the iconic Moleskin notebook. The basic principle of the notebook is the same, but it’s been upgraded in every way. Offset pages to hold your pen. Second piece of elastic so you don’t lose your spot. Three colored ribbons for organization. Sections of lined, blank AND perforated pages. The back pocket even includes whiteboard pages for quick, temporary brainstorming. As if that wasn’t enough, the Planner option also comes equipped with three added sections for long term goals, monthly calendars and hourly breakdowns of each day. $24 (Notebook) | $30 (Planner)

Baron Fig Show & Tell Confidant Notebook

Can’t decide between blank and lined pages for all your sketching and writing? Have your proverbial cake and eat it, too with the Baron Fig Show & Tell notebook. Designed in collaboration with Dribbble, this version of the popular Baron Fig Confidant Notebook features pages that are split in half with blank space to sketch on the top and ruled lines for stories and notes on the bottom. In other words, the Show & Tell name is more than fitting. $20

Stillman & Birn Hardbound Zeta Sketchbook

If you’re confused or overwhelmed by all the different writing options available in notebooks these days—dots, grids, lines, graphs, cubes and combinations of any or all of them—consider going old school with the tried and true blank page like you’ll find in the Stillman & Birn Hardbound Zeta Sketchbook. Black, hardcover, leatherette exterior with 26 sheets of 270 gsm white paper thread & glue bound inside create the perfect canvas for notes, to-do lists, and all the other masterpieces you need to commit to paper. So what if it’s technically called a sketchbook? Isn’t anything you take notes in a notebook? $18

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

No list of notebooks would be complete without at least one option from Moleskine, the brand you can find almost anywhere and the notebook du jour of creatives everywhere. We’re going to pass on the more traditional Moleskine options because honestly, there are better options out there. But when you integrate Evernote into the mix to turn it into a smart notebook with more features than most new apps, it’s a different story. The idea is simple—use a notebook you’re already familiar with for all your notes and combine it with Evernote’s Page Camera feature to instantly digitize and store your ramblings forever. Can’t decide between digital and physical? You don’t have to because this notebook does both. $26

Rhodia Orange Landscape Webnotebook Blank

There are quite a few different reasons French brand Rhodia has been making notebooks since the early 1930s and developed a downright cult-like following over the decades. Their notebooks are high-quality, durable, well thought out, and a pleasure to use with everything from fountain pens to Sharpies. Any one of their black or orange pads is a step in the right direction, but if we have to pick a favorite it’s the Orange Landscape Webnotebook Blank. The “Webbie” as they call it has super smooth, 90 g paper bound in an orange, Italian leatherette cover that’s set in an unconventional landscape style that makes it easier to fit at the edge of a desk below a keyboard. $20

Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook

If you’re looking at this notebook and thinking, “Another Moleskine alternative? Really, guys?” you’ve never had the pleasure of using a Leuchtturm1917 notebook. We’re not going to tell you that the fact they’ve been in business for more than a century—that’s where the 1917 comes from—should sway your decision, but they spent all those years putting their “Details make all the difference” tagline into practice. Numbered pages. Blank table of contents. Acid-free and ink-proof paper. Stickers for labeling and archiving. Did we mention the numbered pages and table of contents that make it impossible to forget where all the important notes are? $20

Apica CD Notebook

Founded in Japan in the early 1900s with the name “Japan Notebook Manufacturer,” Apica is a name only the most devout notebook nerds and Japanese school children have probably ever heard of. Somewhere between an exam blue book and a Mead composition notebook, the Apica CD Notebook is a small (only 28 sheets!), lay-flat notebook with an immediately familiar style. The thick cardstock cover is emblazoned with phrases like “Most advanced quality” and “Gives best writing features” that we didn’t need to know but ultimately appreciate and frame imagery that just makes it feel important. It also has acid-free paper, a 7 mm rule and a price tag less than a Jefferson (he’s the president on the two-dollar bill if you’re not in the know), which makes it possible to buy a years supply for around the same price as one of the other notebooks on the list. $2

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