Picture the creative process you go through each time an ”aha” moment occurs. C’mon, just take a minute. Chances are you don’t see yourself glued behind a screen, anxiously modeling 3-D structures and landscapes.
If you are anything like most of us, you know that ideas come to mind in the most inconvenient places. Maybe it’s a park, or in the middle of traffic. Whatever the case may be, you really just want to jot a few things down or draw out your thoughts.
Worry not, fellow architect, for we have the solution. In this article, we look at the best sketchbooks for architects and interior designers. We delve into the specifics of each option and clear up some of the confusion often seen around the topic. Finally, if you happen to be an architecture student, we also give some ideas for good cheap sketchbooks that won’t break your bank.
What makes the best architecture sketchbook? Is it the elegance of its cover? The firmness of the paper? Most would argue that it’s a combination of many factors. The most important, however, is a personal preference. For this reason, we chose several sketchbooks that might fit your needs.
Let’s start this list with the best sketchbook for architects. Not just our favorite, but the one brand most talked about in the circles of our profession. The Moleskine sketchbook. It comes in several sizes, but we fell in love with the smallest edition (114 x 175mm). It fits in your pocket, making it an excellent companion for walks in nature or a morning espresso at your local cafe.
Its ivory-colored, 165 g/m² paper is very durable, being able to resist large amounts of ink, watercolor, and even aggressive erasers. The binding allows it to lay completely flat at 180 degrees in case you want to create larger drawings (or you can just take a bigger size instead). Additionally, you will find a dedicated section to add your personal details, as well as an expandable inner pocket on the backside.
If you’re wondering which of the options is the best moleskine sketchbook, make sure you head over to Youtube to check out some of the reviews. Existing users have made several videos that will help you get more informed before you decide to make a purchase.
tyyp Berlin is well-known for its high-quality, eco-friendly notebooks. This sketchbook combines elegance, practicality, and sustainability. The A5 format (210 x 148mm) is great for landscape architects and anyone who uses watercolor to enhance their drawings. The paper is thick, cream-colored, and does not leak. The bundle also contains separate pages for taking notes, as well as a pocket on the inside of the cover for business cards or personal details.
What we love about this sketchbook is the ability to personalize the cover by embossing a firm’s logo. In turn, large orders of this particular sketchbook could be offered at a seminar, gifted to employees, or be used as promotional material during trade shows.
Mossery is another popular name when it comes to high-quality sketchbooks. The Threadbound Sketchbook Bundle is smaller in size (193 × 145mm), making it a great “pocket” handbook. But that does not limit it - thanks to its exposed spine, it can lay completely flat for larger drawings. This makes it great for brainstorm sessions in cafeterias, libraries, or anywhere with a table.
When you open the bundle you will find the threaded cover and three refills of Mixed Media 224gsm or Watercolor paper 300gsm, depending on your needs.
Mixed Media paper works better for those who use fountain pens, ballpoint pens, water-based markers, or pigma microns.
Watercolor paper is a little thicker to support light washes of watercolor.
This offers the opportunity to pick what best suits your creative process as an architect.
Looking for a bigger option when it comes to architect sketchbooks? This option works well for all artistic endeavors and looks pretty cool too! Being an A4 size, the V&A Sketchbook works well for those among us who carry around a bag or briefcase. It can work well for brainstorm events with a team, drawing exercises during seminars, and even for some creative evenings at home.
The paper is slightly different than the previous options (150gsm Munken cartridge paper), making it lighter and thinner than the prior. We should warn against heavy ink and watercolor with this one, as it may be a little too thin, but many find that it can tolerate even the messiest work.
Once again, the layout of the page is best suited for landscape architects and interior designers who are looking to turn abstract thoughts into complex images. It might not be the best option for professionals who just want to quickly take 5 minutes to sketch something that came to mind.
If you’re used to notebooks with spiral binding, finding a good sketchbook might be trickier. That is, until you find Cassart sketchbooks. This beautiful Architect sketchpad makes it easy to remove a page in case you need to give it to a client or simply want to throw it away. Its dimensions are also more like a typical notebook, offering the possibility for a dual purpose (writing and drawing).
The Cassart sketchbook is a great addition to your toolkit. It comes with thinner paper (140gsm) that is very durable when it comes to ink and watercolor. As for the cover, elegant matte black makes it look more expensive than its price tag. Note however that it’s not hardcover, unlike the options mentioned above.
Most of the options given above can also be labeled as interior design sketchbooks. That said, we might take a step further by considering the nature of interior design and its difference from architecture in general. Coloring is more often needed, dimensions of space might be more often measured to keep the creative process within limits. For these and many more reasons, you might want to check out the following options.
Not to sound repetitive, but Moleskin has a good reputation with interior designers as well. All sizes of Moleskin sketchbooks are seen as a standard among architecture and interior design students thanks to their thick and durable paper that can be used both for notes and drawings.
So if you are looking for the best sketchbook for designers look no further. Try to understand what type of sketchbook you need for your needs, visit Moleskin’s website, and place an order. Note that there are several discount codes you can find for USA and UK orders
Strathmore sketchbooks are unique in their look as well as their paper. What makes these great for interior designers is the slight gray or tan tone of the paper. This enables your drawings to incorporate white-colored paint as well. This point may often be overlooked by architects, but seems to be more important for interior designers who pursue the feeling of feng shui.
When you go shopping for portable canvas (catchy, huh?) to keep track of your ideas, you’ll often hear many different opinions beforehand. One of the first questions you’ll get to hear is what the purpose of your purchase is.
Back in university, it was mandatory for all architecture students to bring a sketchbook. But so was a plethora of notebooks, a basic sketchpad, and for the more ambitious among us, a journal to track progress. Each of them has its unique differences. So what is your purpose? Because, depending on it, you’ll know what you need to buy.
Buy a sketchbook if you want to primarily draw with pencil, pen, or even watercolor. Sketchbooks are an extension of your creativity. Use them without any rules and constraints, but make sure they can handle the task at hand. When shopping for an architect sketchbook, as we saw above, consider your lifestyle as well. Buy a pocket-size sketchbook if you walk around without a backpack, or a larger one if you can store it efficiently.
Buy a notebook if its primary function is notetaking. Notebooks usually (but not necessarily) come with lines on the paper to keep your thoughts organized. They are not meant for drawing or abstract expression. An architecture notebook is usually spiral-bound, making it easy to tear out pages if need be.
Buy a journal for the sole purpose of journaling. (Art) Journals can be a ritual of sorts, to help you track your progress as a professional while jotting down thoughts and ideas to ponder on. Both journals and sketchbooks usually come with a hardcover and are lined with a strap.
If you are looking to buy the best notebook for architects make sure you check out our gift guide. The same goes for architecture journals.
There are some things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to picking a new sketchbook. We previously mentioned that:
Before we let you go, let’s take a moment to summarize the essence of this post, and give some useful recommendations.
As you know, the best architecture sketchbooks come in different sizes, for different needs. We suggest buying the sizes that you will most likely work with. A practical approach, in this case, is the best way to get started.
Next, make sure you always write your name and contact details somewhere on the inside of the cover. You’d hate to lose months of creative ideas because you left your sketchbook on a table at your local cafeteria, or on the train.
With that in mind, make sure you check out the reviews from each of the options shown above. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer for further questions. In most cases, they’d be happy to help you out.
Speaking of which, so would we! If you happen to be an architect or interior designer looking to increase your number of meetings, let us help you polish your promotional efforts. Click on the banner below to book a free consultation with our team.