Comparing Rhodia Softcover & Leuchtturm 1917

Warning: This post might be a bit geeky for some of you, but I have always been a stationery lover. So if you are considering starting a bullet journal for 2018 or just trying to buy a good notebook to write in, please read on. Otherwise, you can skip this post!

A new year, a new bullet journal. I used a Rhodia softcover notebook for the last three months of 2017 and now I’m switching to a Leuchtturm 1917 for 2018. They are both well-known good quality notebook brands. There is nothing wrong with Rhodia notebook itself. But Leuchtturm 1917 is my choice for 2018. You will see the reasons below.

For the whole reasoning behind starting to use a bullet journal rather than a traditional diary, see this post. And for the general setup of my minimalist bullet journal with no decorating and only three colours, see photos in this post. Below, I’m going to compare the two notebooks so you are able to make a more informed decision on which one to choose.

First of all, here are some facts to start with:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 17.39.08

Now some details from my experience using both:


There are many colours to choose from for both notebooks, all very colourful. BUT the design of the Rhodia is way more elegant and tasteful in my opinion. I love the contrasting colours of the front cover and the elastic band, not just this specific colour combination, all of the 16 colours are bold, playful and delicious, paired with a bright orange band.

Leuchtturm 1917 have matching colour elastic bands. They look fine. But I once stood in front of a whole shelf of them and couldn’t decide which one I wanted (compared to when I saw Rhodia and I wanted ALL of them!).

Rhodia has a soft leather cover. It feels so high-end in hand. But it does mean I can’t write in it without lying it against a hard flat surface (this happens mostly when I take sermon notes).

Winner of this round is definitely Rhodia!


Comparing Rhodia Softcover & Leuchtturm 1917

Two notebooks look almost the same height x width x depth in photos, which is odd, because Leuchtturm 1917 has 90 more pages! But they do feel different in hand. Leuchtturm 1917 is significantly more noticeable in my bag!

That leads to an important point: Rhodia is so much more expensive – the price is higher and the page count is smaller! I have to say this is almost the only reason I choose Leuchtturm 1917 for 2018. I finished the 160 pages Rhodia in three months – the 249 pages Leuchtturm 1917 might not last me a whole year – but I can’t really pay £80 a year on notebooks!

Leuchtturm 1917 has two page markers, which also gets a point.

Leuchtturm 1917 wins this round.


They are both dotted, which is the classic design for bullet journaling. What is there to compare? There are just dots. That was what I thought and I was wrong! If you look carefully, Leuchtturm 1917 has one fewer line (of dots) on each edge of the page – Leuchtturm 1917 incorporates margins into the page layout. It doesn’t matter if this is your first dotted notebook. But it did take me by surprise when I switched from Rhodia – the same sentence does not fit in the same space anymore! Before you roll your eyes at me, let me say – it matters! Especially when I try to fit three months’ calendar onto one page and there is no space for the column for Sunday of the third month. To be honest, instead of the margin, I prefer the extra line of dots – maybe just habit.

One of Leuchtturm 1917’s main features is the page number, which is useful. I had to number all my pages in Rhodia one by one. I did it as I went along so not too bad.

Bias-ly Rhodia wins this round again.


I use Staedtler triplus fineliners in both of them. They are both ink-proof. But you can see from the photo above, they are both almost see-through and Leuchtturm 1917 paper is more translucent because, after all, it’s 10 gsm thinner.

The colour of the photo above is pretty true: Rhodia paper is darker with a hint of creamy yellow. Leuchtturm 1917 is white.

The textures are different too. Rhodia is silky with a sheen. I did have a few smudges. Leuchtturm 1917 is matte. I haven’t written enough to test the speed of ink drying.

Draw for this round.

Overall I have to say I liked my Rhodia very much but I’m sure I’ll make good friends with my new Leuchtturm 1917.

For pens, I recommend using fineliners rather than ballpoint pens. I tried a fountain pen at the beginning, but it was way too thick to write between lines of dots. Also, fineliners keep the paper smooth and flat where ballpoint pens almost carve into the paper and leave ugly marks on the back of the same page and even many pages underneath. I use dark grey colour rather than standard black as I find black contrasts too much and hurts my eyes.

It’s a remarkable thing that you’re still here with me. Thanks for reading. Hope you find your perfect bullet journal for 2018!







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