• Peter at Start Bay Notebooks

A Guide to Notebook Sizes and what they are good for

Notebook sizes from A5 down to Passport Size - pros and cons of each size

Notebook sizes can be a bit confusing so I thought I'd do my own guide to different sizes.

No size is inherently good or bad. And, of course, much of it is down to personal opinion and preference. But there are certain things worth bearing in mind about the different sizes,

In this guide I look at the following, from largest to smallest:

A5 size (210 x 148mm)

Moleskine Large - A5 but slimmer (210 x 130MM) Travelers Notebook - A5 High but slimmer again (210 x 110mm)

B6 size (176 x 125mm)

A6 size (148 x 105mm)

Field Notes / Pocket Notebook size (140 x 90mm)

Travelers Company Passport size (124 x 90)


A5 The largest size I'm looking at and quite a standard size for European and Japanese manufacturers.

Pros - Good size for writing and sketching - proper size for serious things

Cons - Can feel a bit bulky if you're looking for portability. 'A' sizes can feel a bit wide but are practical.

Examples: Rhodia, Leuchtturm, Life, Midori MD

A5 Slimmer / Moleskine Large - A fairly popular European size, perhaps mostly known because of it being what Moleskine class as their Large size.

Pros - Good size for writing, also feels kind of elegant because thinner than A5. When open a spread is the closest to the Golden Ratio or Section (classical proportioning used by the Greeks) which is maybe why it fells so feels aesthetically right.

Cons - Can feel a bit on the narrow side if you're used to A5.

Examples: Moleskine Large

Travelers Notebook / Standard TN size - A5 height but slimmer again.

Pros: Something of an icon and recognisable by the thinner size. It actually works better for me when turned round at 90 degrees so that you can work across the full 210mm.

Cons: A bit narrow for anything conventional when used the usual way round. Kind of made thinner to go in a pocket? But they don't really.

Examples: The standard size insert for the Travelers Company (Midori) Travelers Notebook

In Between

B6 size - Often overlooked because it's not as commonly found - which is a shame. More popular with Japanese manufacturers.

Pros: A really nice size which is OK for carrying and on a desk. Serious proportions but in a very convenient size

Cons: Not as much choice. Instead of being a good in between size it could be seen as nether ideal for the desk or to carry - but I don't think so.

Examples: Perhaps not as many as there should be. Stalogy, Life, Leuchtturm


Pocket Notebooks - A6 / Field Notes / Passport size- I've put these all together because there's not a great deal between them. They are all compact and pocket sized with the advantage, I perceive, of making the user disciplined in their approach - there is not much room to waste.

Differences: Leaving aside the paper types (which is for another day) the A6 is a bit chunkier and wider, better for something a bit more substantial. Field Notes (140 x 90mm Pocket size) is slimmer and slightly more elegant, if a bit less practical. The Travelers Company Passport size is just a bit too small for me, it's the size of a passport.

I hope this is of some use but if there are any questions please leave a comment or get in touch with me.

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