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How to Choose & Design Your Own Custom Notebooks, Journals & Notepads

updated: April 26, 2024

If you’re interested in choosing the perfect personalized notebooks, you’re in the right place. Our buying guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Promotional Notebooks, Journals or Notepads?

Useful for notes, reminders and recording upcoming events, notebooks are an ultra-portable tool that everyone can appreciate. Even in an age of endless calendar and note apps, nothing beats the reliability and permanence of handwritten notes in a compact, beautiful notebook. If that notebook is imprinted with your custom logo, all the better.

You can tell notebooks, notepads and journals apart by looking at their binding and cover.

Notebooks tend to:
  • Be securely bound along the sides of the paper, typically with a metal spiral.
  • Include a cover.
Notepads often:
  • Are bound at the top.
  • Allow pages to be easily removed.
Finally, journals are usually:
  • Bound with stitching along the side.
  • Equipped with a durable cover.

So, why should your organization invest in promotional notebooks, notepads or journals? It all comes down to versatility. All three have a broad range of uses and can be distributed at an array of occasions.

For example, notebooks are perfect for:
  • Trade shows, conferences and other industry events.
  • Dentists’ and doctors’ offices.
  • Teacher, school and student giveaways.
  • Company onboarding
  • Financial firms.
  • Bookstore and office supply store complimentary gifts.

Let’s take a look at the options you can select when shopping for your promotional notebooks, notepads and journals.

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Promotional Notebook and Journal Materials

As with promotional notebooks and journals are available in an abundance of materials. Here are some of the many materials you’ll be able to choose from.

Brown notebook with pink logo

Eco-Friendly Materials

If your recipients are environmentally conscious, they’ll love receiving a promotional notebook or journal crafted from eco-friendly materials that support the planet while looking great. In fact, 42 percent of consumers have a more favorable opinion of advertisers if the promo product they receive are environmentally friendly, according to ASI’s 2019 Global Ad Impressions Study.

Such materials include recycled cardboard, cork and cotton canvas, all of which are biodegradable and renewable. The Recycled Doodle Freely Notebook pictured here features a hard cover made from recycled materials, as well as 80 pages of both lined and unlined paper for notes and drawings.

Dark blue denim notebook with brown trim and a blue and yellow logo


If you’re after a look that’s cozy and relaxed, you may want to check out promotional notebooks and journals crafted from linen, which is woven from flax.

The Linen Banded Pocket Journal has 160 white pages with gray lines and includes an elastic band and silver ribbon marker.

Black faux leather journal with debossed logo and green bookmark

Simulated Leather

As we mentioned earlier, simulated leather custom notebooks and journals can be made from a few different materials, including polyurethane and UltraHyde. All types of simulated leather can create a convincing leather-like look that will add a hefty dose of elegance to your custom logo.

pictured here is the Large Venezia Journal, which features soft faux leather covers, as well as a color-coordinated pen loop, elastic loop closure, bookmark and page edges. Inside are 96 lined pages, as well as a handy document pocket.

Brown leather notebook with debossed logo and snap closure


Whether you’re seeking an aesthetic that’s ultra-polished or more on the rustic side, genuine high-quality leather can help you achieve it. Plus, no one can resist feeling special after being given a real leather promotional notebook or journal. Take a look at the Traverse Small Leather Journal, made of beautiful distressed leather. The Traverse journal comes in many rich colors of leather and contrasting accent stitching and includes a muslin bag.

Yellow Moleskine notebook with purple logo


These Italian-crafted Moleskine promotional notebooks and journals are just as sought-after as their padfolio counterparts.

Take for example the Moleskine Hard Cover Grand Notebook pictured here. Streamlined and refined, it features a bound hard cover with rounded corners, elastic loop closure, expandable inner pocket, bookmark and 240 pages of lined acid-free paper.

Blue Neoskin journal cover with debossed logo


Promotional notebooks and journals made from Neoskin have soft, suede-like covers you’ll want to touch again and again.

Available in a selection of bold colors, the Neoskin Cover and Journal Duo pictured here includes a 72-page recycled notebook along with a silky, reusable Neoskin cover. Inside, you’ll find a color-coordinated pen loop and page marker.

Black and red notebook, red and silver pen and a red and silver power bank, all with white logos


As discussed earlier, PVC promotional notebooks and journals are made from a durable synthetic plastic polymer that can easily withstand wear. The Soft Touch Journal has a PVC cover that feels great to the touch and comes in a variety of colors. The elastic band closure and ribbon bookmark add convenience and elegance to these branded journal notebooks.

Blue spiral-bound notebook with dark blue logo


Waterproof and durable, plastic promotional notebooks and journals are perfect for students, people who work outdoors or simply those who live in cities with unpredictable weather (San Francisco, we’re looking at you).

The Mini Pocket Buddy Notebook has a bright colored translucent plastic cover. Durable and eye-catching, it comes with 50 lined sheets of paper and is spiral bound with a separate zip-lock plastic pocket attached to the spine.

Green polycanvas notebook with black logo


Made from either pure polyester or a blend of both polyester and cotton, polycanvas promotional notebooks and journals are made from a rugged material with a soft look.

The 5” by 7” Polycanvas Refillable Notebook pictured here is available in five beautiful jewel-tone colors. It sports front and back pockets to store business cards, paperwork or a smartphone for maximum convenience. It also features 50 sheets of lined paper, a ribbon page marker, a pen loop and an elastic strap closure.

Black and gray spiral-bound notebook with logo


Polypropylene is a versatile type of polymer that’s both rigid and chemical-resistant. Promotional notebooks and journals made from polypropylene stay protected in a variety of weather conditions and can withstand plenty of use.

The Pocket Plus Notebook pictured here features a polypropylene slip cover for document storage, twin-looped metal binding and 70 sheets of lined paper.

Grey cloth journal with blue logo


Although you may be used to hearing about polyester in terms of clothing, it can also be used to create stylish promotional notebooks and journals.

Check out the Two-Tone Gray Journal highlighted below. Its polyester cover features a modern two-town design that’s reminiscent of a high-end executive suit, making it perfect for boardroom meetings and industry events. It’s also equipped with a pen loop, elastic band closure and 80 sheets of lined paper.

Bright red journal with white logo and strap closure


Polyurethane is a heat-resistant polymer that’s exceptionally durable. Promotional notebooks and journals made from polyurethane are strong and long-lasting, and are also available in a range of attention-grabbing colors.

The Double Cover Travel Journal pictured here is perfect for taking notes on the go, thanks to its compact size and handy strap closure. It sports decorative stitched edging, two front covers, five card pockets, a pen loop, two ribbon bookmarks and 80 pages of lined paper.

Glittery gold notebook with black logo


Good old-fashioned paper promotional notebooks and journals have the advantage of being lightweight, super-portable and biodegradable.

shown here is the Mini Glitter Notebook, which features a stunning sparkling color in gold, silver or pink. Perfect for distribution at large events to students, employees or attendees, this notebook also allows you to choose between graph, lined or dotted paper.

Brown woodgrain-look journal with debossed logo and attached pen


Vinyl is a highly adaptable plastic material with countless applications, from housing siding to medical supplies to children’s toys. Promotional notebooks and journals made from vinyl are waterproof, durable and sleek.

The Woodgrain-Look Soft Cover Journal Set shown here features a trendy woodgrain pattern on its cover, making it perfect for nature lovers and city dwellers alike. It features an included bamboo pen, as well as an elastic closure, pen loop and 80 pages of lined and perforated paper.

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Promotional Notebook and Journal Materials

As with custom padfolios, promotional notebooks and journals are available in an abundance of materials. Here are some of the many materials you’ll be able to choose from.

Bright blue adhesive notepad with dark blue logo and image


As you might expect, the most common notepad material is paper. All paper notepads are recyclable and lightweight, making them ideal for any location or event.

Shown here are the SOUVENIR® Die Cut Sticky Notes 4" X 3", which are available in fun stock shapes and feature 25 sheets of adhesive paper.

Brown cardboard spiral-bound notepad with blue logo and attached pen


Sometimes, notepads can include protective cardboard covers much like promotional notebooks and journals. Just like paper, cardboard is biodegradable, lightweight and recyclable, with the added benefit of being extra-sturdy.

The Pocket Notes notepad shown here is made from cardboard and eco-friendly recycled paper, and features a micro-writer pad with an elastic loop. Inside are 60 ruled pages, all held together by metal ring binding.

White and blue lined notepad with orange, green and yellow logo


If you’re looking for notepads that won’t get lost or slide around, magnetic notepads are the perfect solution. These notepads can easily be attached to a desk, file cabinet, fridge or any other metal item.

The Business Card Magnet With Notepad showcased below features flexible magnets made from recycled materials, as well as a 50-sheet non-adhesive notepad. With a full color imprint area, this magnetic notepad can show off every hue of your logo.

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Promotional Notebook, Journal and Notepad Imprint Methods

Promotional notebooks, journals and notepads offer the same imprint methods as custom padfolios. Here, we’ll give you a quick refresher on the imprint methods available when selecting your custom notebooks.

Black spiral-bound notebook with white and rainbow logo

Screen Printing

Available in both full color and single color options, screen printed promotional notebooks, journals and notepads can display your design in a beautiful rainbow of colors.

The Rocketbook Everlast Executive notebook shown here looks like a normal notebook, but is secretly a high-tech powerhouse that can connect to all your recipients’ cloud services. It comes with a Pilot Frixion pen, and features reusable Everlast pages and a sturdy hard cover.

Black faux leather notebook with debossed logo


Promotional notebooks, journals and notepads with debossed imprints present a fantastic way to showcase your custom design in an elegant way.

The Moleskine Large Solid Cover Notebook pictured here features a beautiful leather-like cover with rounded edges, elastic band closure and a convenient built-in bookmark. Inside, you’ll find 120 pages of acid-free paper.

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Promotional Notebook Features

From scented paper to built-in charging cables, promotional notebooks, journals and notepads can come with a dizzying array of appealing features.

  • Here are some of the features you can look for when shopping for your promotional notebooks:
  • Binding: There’s a binding style for every person, whether they prefer to lay their notebooks flat or flip them completely open. For example, you can decide between spiral, ring and stitched bindings.
  • Specialized paper: No matter what your purpose, there’s sure to be a paper for it. Scented, lined, unlined, erasable, reusable, dotted and graph paper are all available.
  • Eco-friendly: As we mentioned earlier, there are a variety of options for organizations who want promotional notebooks that are environmentally friendly. Choices include recycled paper, cardboard and magnets, as well as an array of biodegradable materials like cotton and cork.
  • Organizational features: Notebooks, journals and notepads with extra organizational features are perfect for students, business people, teachers, medical staff and more. These can include tabs, folders, bookmarks, included sticky notes and more.
  • Closures: From elastic loops to buckles to snaps, there are a variety of closures to choose from.
  • Pockets: Promotional notebooks with built-in pockets are helpful in terms of both organization and storage. They’re ideal for stowing extra cash, tech devices, pens and more.
  • Charging cables: Your recipients will absolutely love being able to take notes and charge their tech devices at the same time.

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Popular Picks


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Additional Options to Consider

Before you decide which custom notebooks and journals you’re going to purchase, you might want to take these additional options into consideration.

Rush Service

Need your custom promotional notebooks fast? Don’t sweat it, Crestline Promotional Products offers hundreds of popular products with optional rush service. Just place your order before the time specified on the product page, approve a proof of your order and your customized products will ship the next business day.

Made in the USA

If you provide USA made promotional notebooks, your recipients will appreciate it.

According to ASI’s Global Ad Impressions Study, an impressive 53 percent of consumers have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promo products they receive are made in the USA.

These are two of our favorite U.S.-made products.

Brown and green camouflage notebook with white logo

Mini Camouflage Notebook

The Mini Camouflage Notebook is sure to be appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts and style-minded recipients alike. It features a classic camouflage design in a variety of colors, and comes with your choice of graph, lined or dotted paper.


Custom padfolio and promotional notebook sets are the ultimate all-in-one gift.

Perfect for onboarding new staff, showing staff appreciation or giving away at a special school event, these sets can include:

  • Pens.
  • Sticky notes (click here to learn more about custom sticky notes).
  • Lanyards.
  • Bookmarks.
  • Organizational features.
  • Charging cables.
  • MopTopper™ screen cleaner pens.
  • Phone and storage pockets.

Here are a few fantastic sets your recipients will love.

Blue and white spiral-bound notebook with blue logo, snap closure and included MopTopper pen

Nature Friendly Notebook and Pen

Available in a spectrum of vibrant colors, the Nature Friendly Notebook and Pen, which comes with our 60-page notebook and pen set. This sustainable notebook style is constructed with recycled materials. Each notebook comes with a matching color elastic pen loop and pen..

Matching purple and black tumbler, lunch bag and notebook with pen, all with white logos

Perfect Three Gift Set

Have an upcoming employee retreat, business trip or school picnic? The Perfect Three Gift Set will provide attendees with everything they need.

It features a 16-ounce insulated tumbler, foil-lined lunch bag and promotional notebook and pen set, all in bright, matching colors.

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