These snappily named notebooks are creating a bang! Bullet Journals are a highly organised diary, notebook, sketchbook and list space all in one. In this way they are able seamlessly marry productivity and mindfulness.
Developed by American digital product designer, Ryder Carroll, these journals are described as ‘the analog system for the digital age’. It was developed through years of experimentation following a diagnosis of ADD and a frustration with being expected to remember too many things.
While each journal is unique, they all work from the same framework. The basic components: a one-month overview where you outline big events and big-picture goals; day logs where you keep track of bulleted tasks (hence the “bullet”) as well as notes from your day (the “journal”); a future log focused on deadlines and goals for months to come; and collections of non-urgent lists (e.g., movies to see, cities to visit, books to read) that are easy to find thanks to the index at the beginning of the journal. Confused yet? I certainly was when I first started looking in them but once I delved deeper it becomes clearer and obvious why they are so appealing, particularly amongst Millennials.
Fans of the Bullet Journal applaud the notebooks ability to allow you to be highly organised whilst also being flexible. They talk about it enabling a holistic approach to life, encompassing the day to day mundanity together with the informative, the fun, the frivolous and the highs and lows. They appeal to the sense that we should all be taking more time for ourselves.
Bullet Journals are taking America by storm. According to The NPD Group, ‘over the past year, U.S. consumers have spent nearly $210 million at retail for unruled spiral, composition, graphing, and other notebooks – an 18 percent increase in sales over the prior year’(Retail Tracking Service, 52 weeks ending April 7, 2018). Two thirds of these purchases are by the 18-24 year old age bracket.
So, why in a time when we are all so reliant, even obsessed, with digital technology (and according to most reports the young in particular) are notebooks having such a resurgence?
There’s definitely an enduring appeal to books and there are a variety of reasons for that. They can be used as a form of escapism, to let your mind wonder freely and creatively-virtually impossible when faced with a screen. It is also very difficult to write on a computer without being interrupted by the various message alerts or the temptation to check emails, social media or a quick search for something.
A notebook can spark innovation and problem solving. Freeing your mind from a screen can have a wondrous impact on creativity and clarity. Having the opportunity to let your mind run free on paper is very therapeutic. As Carroll himself says, ‘It’s much better for mental self-care’.
Pen and paper are more flexible. They are not reliant on power or WIFI, they can be taken anywhere and used whenever takes your fancy. You can’t accidently delete something. And pen and paper could actually be better for us. Research published in 2014 by Princeton University and the University of California, suggests ‘that those who took written notes had a better understanding of the material and remembered more of it because they had to mentally process information rather than type it verbatim’. Another study from the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, demonstrated that people who doodle can better recall dull information.
Notebooks are physical items in an age when so much is virtual. They also offer something that can be completely personalised. Whilst the framework is there to guide, the journalist can choose how to organise the content to suit their life. Bullet Journals are fast becoming a works of art to be shown off, admired and favourites on Instagram. There are over 2 million #BulletJournal posts and this new notebook has even developed its own shortened hashtag #bujo.
The Bullet Journals popularity may seem surprising but while younger generations are the most tech-savvy, they are also the ones putting a fresh spin on traditional products and driving these types of trend.
At Woodblock we stock the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal, the journal created in conjunction with Ryder Carroll himself. It’s the perfect size to be carried around but also provides a plethora (240) of ink proof 80gsm pages providing a good area to write on. To maximise the potential of your Bullet Journal there is a Bullet Key and rapid logging guide, three page markers, stickers for labelling and archiving and an expandable pocket for notes and receipts etc. The thread bound finished hard covers make it durable to ensure that these treasures can be held on to far into the future and are available in sleek Black or stunning Emerald Green. The covers are ideal for blind debossing and hot foiling to enable branding for your business or event. To further customise your Bullet Journal, you can add printed page inserts to make it completely specific to your company.
There is certainly a lot of hype around these new stationery must-haves, but their popularity is by no means without substance. They do seem to have created a new style of journaling and inspired a new generation to put a 21st century spin on our eternal love affair with the written word.