I am extremely late to the party with this review. Today I want to talk about the Leuchtturm bullet journal. This is the original “official” bullet journal notebook made from a collaboration between Ryder Caroll and Leuchtturm. Since writing this post Leuchtturm has released a new updated version of the Bullet Journal notebook.
I originally bought this notebook in the before-times (January 2020) for my dissertation module. A lot has happened since then and this notebook has been at my side for a good part of the last 2 years. So today I want to share some of my thoughts on the Leuchtturm bullet journal notebook and help you decide if it is worth the money.
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal Notebook Review
About the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal
The Leuchtturm Bullet Journal is an A5 dot gridded notebook. Released in collaboration with Ryder Caroll, this notebook has been made to be specifically used as a bullet journal. Design-wise it is very similar to the regular Leuchtturm1917 notebooks which I have used (and reviewed) many times in the past.
The regular Leuchtturm1917 notebook comes in a variety of covers but the bullet journal edition comes in three colours (with more to be released). The only difference visually between the regular notebook and bullet journal edition is that it has “bullet journal” embossed on the cover. I’m personally not a huge fan of the embossing, but only because I like having a blank cover so I can decorate it with stickers.
The Bullet Journal “Bits”
The bullet journal edition has a few special features and additions specifically for use as a bullet journal. The inside of the cover has a printed bullet journal key, this is the same key that you will find on the bullet journal website. A few blank icons have been included if you want to add some custom icons to your key. Most of the other features of the notebook are similar to the regular Leuchtturm1917. With an index at the front and numbered pages.
The first two pages in the notebook are meant to be used for a future log. If you follow the tutorial on the bullet journal website this is one of the first spreads you are told to set up. The first two pages in the Leuchtturm bullet journal are regular dotted paper spreads, but the words “future log” are printed at the top of the page.
One of the other main differences is that the notebook has a small section at the back which teaches you how to set up and use the bullet journal system. It would be interesting to see how many people brand new to bullet journaling start out with this notebook. But personally, I’m not sure how essential this section is. Especially when you consider that all of the information could have been found for free on the bullet journal website. If you want to spend a little extra and get into the real nitty gritty of bullet journaling I’d highly recommend The Bullet Journal Method. As well as teaching you how to bullet journal it shows how you can use the bullet journal to set and achieve goals.
The paper used in the Leuchtturm bullet journal is the same as that in the regular Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. This is a reasonably good paper, I’ve never had any problems with ink bleeding or ghosting through the page. It even copes well with different types of paint and calligraphy inks.
The dots on the dotted paper are printed in a very light grey. I think this is one of the reasons why I like the Lecuhtturm1917 notebooks so much. The dots are dark enough to be visible, but not so dark that they become a distraction.
Cost of the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal
Probably one of the biggest downsides of the Leuchtturm bullet journal is the cost. The notebook can be found on Amazon for around £20. This is more expensive compared to what you would expect for a notebook. I know that the Lecuhtturm1917 brand is a little more expensive in general, but even when you compare the bullet journal edition to the regular Leuchtturm notebook it still seems to be very expensive.
The regular Leuchtturm notebook can be found for around £13, which seems more comparable to the Moleskine notebook at £14 and the MD Paper notebook at £16. This means you pay an extra £5 for the bullet journal edition of the Leuchtturm notebook. And for this, you get less choice when it comes to colour and type of cover.
My Thoughts On The Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal
I like the Lecuhtturm1917 notebooks. But there were a few things specifically about the bullet journal edition which I didn’t like. First of all the pages markers. Regular Leuchtturm notebooks have two pages markers, but the bullet journal edition comes with three. I assume this is so you can mark your monthly, weekly and daily pages. The issue I found however, is that the page markers just got in the way. As nice as it is to have three pages markers, I didn’t need them. I ended up getting so frustrated with the markers that I cut them out of the notebook.
Also had a problem with the cover. Usually, the Leuchttrum1917 notebooks can hold up well to use. They can really take a beating before the cover starts to look worn. At least this has been my experience based on the other Leuchttrum notebooks I’ve used. However the material on the cover of the Leuchtturm bullet journal seemed to be different, it may have something to do with the embossing on the cover or a different material was used.
Either way, the cover almost instantly started getting rather large and obvious scratches on it. I wasn’t using this notebook any differently from normal. I use my bullet journals at home and take them to university with me. But I didn’t do anything which would cause such damage. It could just be that the black makes scratches more obvious compared to other covers. But it was very frustrating that I paid extra money for this notebook so you wouldn’t expect these problems.
Do you need the Leuchtturm Bullet Journal?
Okay, so this is the big one. Do you actually need to buy the Leuchtturm bullet journal? The bullet journal is a system, not a notebook. That’s what makes it so flexible compared to a planner. You can choose the type, size and cost that you want. Yes, you can buy the official Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal. But if you used some other notebook it would still be a bullet journal system that you were using in it.
But here is the thing which gets me about the Leuchtturm bullet journal notebooks. They are more expensive than the regular Leuchtturm notebooks. In the UK they are around £5 more expensive depending on the shop you look at. Now £5 isn’t a whole lot. But you’re still paying £5 more for a notebook where the only real difference is the fact it has “bullet journal” embossed on the cover. It’s sort of useful to have the key and future log already printed, but it wouldn’t be so much of a hassle to write these things yourself that the extra £5 is worth the money.
I think the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are great. They don’t get damaged easily and they last a long time. But you need to consider the extras that come with the bullet journal edition and decide if they are a must-have component.
For various reasons I have been working on this post for the last 18 months. It’s not really because I think this review is especially important, I’ve just had a lot going on. But it has been interesting writing a review based on more than two years of use. Sometimes I worry that I’m being too critical, but honestly, it’s just a notebook. Like I said at the start, this particular notebook has been through a lot since I first bought it. It even inspired one of my honours level projects.
Considering the very small differences between the original and bullet journal Leuchtturm1917 notebooks it really comes down to personal preference and what you need from a notebook. If you’re having trouble deciding your idea features I have a whole post on different factors to consider when buying notebooks.
As always, thanks for reading.