I finally reached the end of my first bullet journal last week, a blue Leuchtturm 1917. The Leuchtturms are pretty ubiquitous among bullet journal enthusiasts. They’re widely available, especially now the bullet journals are trending, and seem to have achieved a fair balance of cost and quality. Chapters is currently having a sale on many of their Leuchtturms in a variety of colours, making them even more cost effective.
There were a lot of features I came to appreciate about the Leuchtturm. There were eight pages in the back that could be detached and used to cover up mistakes. Plenty of space at the front for an index. The paper held up to most pens and inks while being thin enough to support the pictures, decorative paper, and washi tape that made up the bulk of my journaling by the end. Happy as I was, though, I was curious to try other models of dot grid journals. Many of the channels I follow on line have given up on their Leuchtturms for other brands.
The Scribbles That Matter caught my attention based on the cover. The journals sport a fun, funky pattern of skulls, coffee cups, hearts, and arrows, and I simply could not resist. Further examination of the specs revealed a number of potential advantages over the Leuchtturm: that pages in Scribbles That Matter journals were thicker, meaning there were fewer of them but it was less likely pens and markers would bleed through. The page colour was also slightly lighter making even fair or mild toned inks show up stronger. The journal also comes with a pen loop. That’s less of a deal for me since I carry a bundle of pens with me at all times, but when I ordered the journal, I really thought I would use that pen loop.
Since I’ve had a couple of days to play around with my new journal, here’s a look at how Scribbles That Matter measures up to my Leuchtturm 1917.
I bought my Scribbles That Matter over Amazon while it was on sale for $22. This sale price is comparable to the regular price of the Leuchtturm 1917 at most retail locations. However, the only Scribbles That Matter A5 that’s currently available on Amazon retails for $22.24 + 10.52 shipping. Also, sales occur regularly on Leuchtturm journals sold on Chapters.ca, so it is possible to get a Leuchtturm 1917 for less than twenty bucks.
Obviously, there are other factors to consider, but looking strictly at the dollar value, Leuchtturm is the lower cost option.
Both the Leuchtturm and Scribbles That Matter journals come with a few index pages at the front of the journal. The index in the Leuchtturm has more rows, meaning there is more room to document pages; Scribbles That Matter include rows that look almost comically large next to the Leuchtturm, meaning there are fewer of them. Given that I filled up my Leuchtturm index within the seven months that I used it, I’m concerned Scribbles That Matter won’t have enough space for all my pages.
Scribbles That Matter provides a page dedicated to a Key; the Key is a hugely important part of any bullet journal. I had to make a page dedicated to this in my Leuchtturm because it wasn’t provided. Having done so already, I didn’t really care if it was provided to me in the Scribbles That Matter, particularly when the index was already shortened. This page would have served me better as an extra index.
Leuchtturm includes 8 detachable pages in the back for lists or mistakes. Scribbles That Matter does not. The final pages are blank and labelled for Pen Testing. As with the Key page, I think Pen Testing pages would have served me better if I was new to bullet journaling. Given the choice, I would have opted for the detachable pages.
Finally, the Scribbles That Matter comes with a pen loop. You can buy one for the Leuchtturm, but it is sold separately. Again, this was initially a selling feature for me, but it’s not something that I’ve used.
Overall, I think the Scribbles That Matter has features that are geared more towards new bullet journalers, where the Leuchtturm is more customizable in terms of its features.
Leuchtturm pages are fairly thin and may, depending on the pen or marker you’re using, bleed through or having a high level of ghosting, whereby the ink is visible through the back of the page. This didn’t happen often, but it was mainly with my Crayola Supertips markers, which I liked using for accents. Minimalist bullet journalers won’t likely notice this problem so much, as pens are less likely to bleed or ghost. There are 250 pages in the Leuchtturm 1917 A5, and I used almost every one of them over the course of seven months.
Scribbles That Matter pages are much thicker and hold up better to art supplies. They are almost strong enough to withstand a Sharpie, but I wouldn’t recommend it. My Supertips don’t ghost on these pages unless I layer them several times. What this journal makes up for in terms of page quality, however, it loses in sheer number of pages. The Scribbles That Matter journal only has 185 pages, and that includes the pen test page. None of the pages are detachable, though I imagine they’d be easy to cut if needed.
One thing I do like about the pages in the Scribbles That Matter is that they’re lighter, meaning that even mild colours show up stronger on the pages as opposed to the Leuchtturm; however, I’m concerned about gluing pictures and decorations into the journal given the pages are already so thick. I may have to rethink my approach for this notebook.
For artists, there’s a lot to love about Scribbles That Matter. The journal has great pages that hold up to a number of different materials without bleeding or ghosting. However, I’m hesitant about it for my own journaling style. The pages are simply too thick to scrapbook without risking the kind of expansion my Leuchtturm underwent. Only time will tell on this one.
Strength and Weight
My Leuchtturm did hold up to all sorts of travel and movement, but I will say that the Scribbles That Matter feels a whole lot sturdier. Not only in terms of the pages, but also in terms of the cover. I’m so much more confident throwing this journal around without fearing it’s going to get bent or scuffed or torn. And the pages that I keep worrying about are built to withstand pretty much anything.
Despite loving the aesthetic and durability of Scribbles That Matter, it’s just not the journal for me. People who are new to bullet journaling will appreciate the index, key, and pen test pages; artists will love the quality of the paper; and people who are rough on their journals will get a lot of mileage out of the sturdy design. Also, if you’re the sort of person who can get by with one pen, the Scribbles That Matter has a great pen loop included in its design. For me, though, I’m going to be looking for something that’s a little more customizable, something that’s designed for me to glue as many ticket stubs and pictures onto the pages without worrying about breaking the spine…something a little more like my old Leuchtturm.