DESIGN: Lined pages

Since launching our first lined notebook in 2016, we have been in discussion with our community of lined-notebook-users, in order to get the details just right: the line thickness and weight, the margins and spacing. The following article goes into a high level of detail and is intended for true stationery nerds!

Mark+Fold Notebook Mark Two, 2016


Our first lined notebook was the Notebook Mark Two, which we first produced in 2016. The design was based on many years' of using lined notebooks of different varieties, and some personal preferences and pet-hates developed along the way. 

The design we created was as follows:

— clear, generous margins, to give the page some breathing space and elegance; and because you can't write right upto the edge, so this avoid leaving some lined areas 'unfilled'

— similarly, at the bottom of the page, there is often a line so close to the bottom of the page that there is no space to rest your hand comfortably to write, so you tend to skip that line (again, it feels irritating to leave a line 'unfilled')

— the lines are spaced so that you can write on every line (narrower lines can make your writing neater, but when you're in a hurry, you tend to write larger and messier, so you start skipping every other line for comfort); this way you end up writing more lines per page

— however, the lines are not space so widely as to remind you of the 'refill' pads you used at school, which feel a bit inelegant


Mark+Fold's new Lined Notebook, November 2020. Available in Rust and Sequoia


Four years on, we sold out of our last batch of lined notebooks and felt it was a good moment to go back to the drawing board. As we reach our fifth anniversary, we wanted to bring together the best bits of all the notebooks we've created so far.

We spoke to a group of customers about the finer details and decided to make some tweaks:

— we have made the lines slightly lighter; they are printed in a lighter shade of warm grey, which compliments the cream pages and is less imposing than the darker lines on the Mark Two. Ideally your pen should be the most prominent mark on the page, with the lines providing an underlying structure without dominating the page.

— we have retained the margins, but made them slightly narrower at the sides, to allow a fraction more writing space per page; whilst many people prefer lines to 'bleed off' the page, we feel this gives the page an elegant feel overall and delineates the areas you are unlikely to write on as they are so close to the edge

— we decided to keep the line spacing the same; we will never get everyone to agree 100% on this, as everyone has different hand-writing, but the most compelling comment we received was "there is no other brand making a classy, high quality notebook with wider lines." In other words, other options tend to be good quality thin-lined, or poorer quality wide-lined. We like the idea of putting usability first and making the notebook as beautiful as elegant as it can be, but at no cost to its functionality


Our new lined notebook is currently available in Rust and Sequoia.

Mark+Fold Lined Notebook in Rust & Sequoia  Mark+Fold Lined Notebook in RustMark+Fold Lined Notebook in Sequoia