Grids & Guides Notebook Review

Grids&GuidesA few weeks ago, I got the new Princeton Press Grids & Guides notebook (the red cover was being promoted for Valentine’s Day).  And, though I didn’t initially get it with map-making specifically in mind, I think this might be of interest among my friends and fellow gaming map makers.  We probably are not the target market for this notebook, but it’s well suited for all kinds of creative inspiration.

The Grids & Guides notebook is a nicely made clothbound notebook with an assortment of different grid styles, as well as a few pages of information on various topics (the ‘Guides’ portion).  The notebook has 144 pages of nice quality off-white stock, and the size is 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″.

For those interested in alternative map styles, the Grids & Guides notebook offers a number of different grids, to add some variety and interest to your map making.  It’s not a stock notebook with all the pages gridded the same way. There are 8 patterns that are repeated throughout the notebook.  The Guides portion is several pages which serve as section breaks, each printed with information on topics such as knot-tying, musical scales, logic expressions, and geometry.

There are two versions of the Grids & Guides notebook.  The original one was the black cover, and the red cover is the new one.  There are differences in the guide topics and in the grids contained in each, although some are repeated in both versions.


The red notebook’s 8 different grids include regular squares in 3 different sizes.  Of these, the finest size has 1/16″ squares (and slightly darker 1/4″ and a heavier 1/2″ lines), the medium size is simple 1/8″ grid with a centered X/Y axis, and the largest uses 1/2″ squares which are keyed A-O across the top (long edge, at the gutter) and 1-10 down the side.  Other pages have a dot grid (with dots at 1/4″ spacing), as well as log-log, diamond (with 1/4″ squares as well as diagonals), an isometric grid with 4 lines per inch at 120 degree rotations, and a circle pattern grid made with overlapping 1″ circles at 1/2″ spacing plus 1″ grid lines.

The black notebook (which I’ve only seen online) has Cartesian grid, isometric grid, log-log plot, same as the red notebook.  The others found only in the black notebook are a ledger table, reticle grid (little crosses, rather than the dot grid), architectural plan grid (with double lines to alow for wall thicknesses), storyboard grid, and polar graph & unit circle.


Overall, the red notebook has a better set of grid choices, though the architectural grid would be nice, perhaps in place of the smallest of the three regular grids.  Maybe there will be other, future notebooks with other colors of covers and an even better mix of grids.  The only one I found to be really useless for my purposes is the log-log (though I decided it would be suitable for a pen test to see how drawing and writing are on the paper.


The paper is nice quality, with only a slight indication of show-through from the heavier pens.  It’s not really bleeding through, but it can be seen from the other size if you have a dark area filled in, or if you have heavier lines it may be noticable, but probably only if you look for it.  The printed grid lines are fairly fine in this notebook, and they should not be too much of a distraction.

I’m not sure if this will become a maps-only notebook for me, or if I will end up using it as an anything and everything kind of notebook.  I tend to be more of a single-page map maker, rather than using bound notebooks (though I do love bound notebooks for other things).  It’s generally easier to scan things from a single page.  But with the fun and creativity this notebook, don’t be surprised to see some maps from me in the future that are drawn from this notebook.

If you’re an Amazon customer and you’d like to support me by buying it from them, you can use these links for:
Grids & Guides (Red): A Notebook for Visual Thinkers (Grids and Guides)

or the black cover version, which is a couple bucks cheaper (at least at the time of posting):
Grids & Guides: A Notebook for Visual Thinkers


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