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6 Popular Journal Sizes and Ideas for How To Use Them

by Ambassador Team 26 Nov 2023 0 Comments

Have you got a few journals of different sizes on the shelf?  Perhaps you are unsure of how to use one that is smaller than your preferred size.  Maybe you find the size of a larger journal daunting?  Archer and Olive have a wide variety of journals in many different sizes and each lends itself to a certain type of use, whether that’s as a Bullet Journal, for trackers, lists or just being creative.

Looking down on pile of journals of various sizes

Hello, it’s Alex (@TheJournalCorner) from the Archer and Olive ambassador team.  Today we are going to look at the pros and cons of different journal sizes with some inspiration on how to use them.  

We are going to go through the sizes from the smallest at A6 up to a large B5 journal.  Of course journaling requirements will vary depending on the individual - do you need something transportable or are you more based at home?  Perhaps you want space for additional decoration or enjoy creatively cutting your pages. Hopefully this blog post will allow you to think of a use for a journal that is a little out of your comfort zone and still sitting on the shelf!

Supplies needed

Different size journals laid out

You may already own a journal ready to use, but otherwise this article should help you decide on what size will suit you best.  I have used the Archer & Olive journals from the Fall 2023 release in this blog and accompanying video, but check out new releases here.

In addition to a journal, some of the ideas I am sharing today will also need pens such as the calliographs and a writing pen.

If you are looking to purchase anything from Archer & Olive, please use ‘Alex10’ to save 10%. This is an affiliate code, so it allows you to support creators like me too.

A6 or Pocket Sized Journal

Red A6 journal held in hand

Starting with the smallest journal available at Archer & Olive, the A6 or pocket sized journal is definitely small but perfectly formed.  At just 3.5’’ wide and 5.5’’ tall, it’s about the height of a pen and will fit into the palm of your hand.

I must admit at first I was dismissive of such a small journal as I always use a larger size but recently have found an A6 to come in very handy. The smaller page size has the advantage of not being too overwhelming too, especially if you have a creative project.  It’s the ideal size to travel everywhere with you in a pocket or bag and look cute on a shelf!

Here are some suggestions for using an A6 size journal:

  • Pocket Diary
  • Pocket Journal
  • Travel Mini-Log
  • Shopping list Notepad
  • Mini sketch and doodle pad
  • Poetry notebook
  • Idea catcher
  • Dream journal
  • Spending Log Book
  • Gym session tracker
  • Emergency Contact List/information
  • Weather Observations

A6 open showing a shopping list with pen

Such a small A6 pocket sized journal is ideal for quick, on the go notes and personal organisation.  It’s small size makes it convenient to carry with you wherever you go.

A6 open with pen and stencil showing spending log page

B6 Journal and ideas of how to use them

Red A6 journal on top of Blue B6 Journals

Moving up in size, we next come to a B6 journal.  This is slightly wider (4.92’’) and taller (6.92’’) than an A6 but still has the advantages of being a small, transportable journal.

While many of the uses for an A6 journal can also be transferred to B6, there is a bit more space for information or additional decoration.

A B6 size is ideal for:

  • Taking notes during a meeting
  • Book reviews
  • Garden Journal
  • Language Learning notebook
  • Mini Recipe Book
  • Creative Writing Notebook
  • Log for business ideas
  • Content creation inspiration
  • Daily mind mapping and brainstorming
  • Restaurant Reviews with photos

Take a look at the video at the end of this blog for how I have used a B6 as a book review journal.  The size allows space for one book review per page which includes an image, synopsis and my review.  This would work well for trips to the cinema or favourite movies too.

B6 Open being used as book review journal

A5 Journal Size and Inspiration

I think it’s fair to say that A5 is the most popular size of journal from Archer and Olive.  It offers the best of both worlds, being small enough to take out and about but still not feeling cramped on the page.

B6 Blue notebook on top of A5 journal

It is a versatile size and a great starting point if you are new to journaling and figuring out how you will best use a notebook.  As a Bullet Journal it works well being transportable but still with plenty of space that shouldn’t feel overwhelming to fill.

Open scrapbook journal page with yellow background

Here are some ideas for an A5 Journal:

  • Bullet Journal
  • Daily Diary
  • Sketchbook
  • Nature Journal
  • Memory Journal with photos
  • Commonplace Book
  • Travel journal
  • Recipe Book
  • Self-Care Journal
  • Content Planner
  • Quote Book
  • Travel Planning Journal
  • Wedding planner

Open A5 Journal with School Memories title and space for photos

Travelers or TN Sized Journal

This is a tall (8.25’’) but narrow (4.33’’) journal, similar in height to an A5.  I find this size is ideal for anything list based e.g. shopping, expense logs, exercise tracker though not as portable as an A6.  It works well as a landscape art journal too.  I have loved seeing it be used for double-page squared journal spreads too.

Green pumpkins travellers journal laying on top of blue A5

Of course the classic use of a Traveler’s size journal is as a record for trips from itineraries and maps to personal reflections of places visited.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • 30 days of gratitude
  • Daily highlights list for the month
  • A line a day
  • Meal Planning
  • Household project lists
  • Washi or pen swatch book
  • Baby milestone log
  • Expenses log book
  • Meal Tracker

Open traveler's journal with titles shopping list and meal planning spread

Take a look at the Travelers Size Archer and Olive journals here.

8x8 or Square Journal with Ideas to use

This square journal is the widest of our collection today at 8’’x8’’.  It’s a pretty unique size and lends itself to certain uses and layouts.  While not as portable as some journals, it’s ideal if you are looking for extra space to be creative.

Brown square journal with leaf pattern

The square pages allow you space to cut waterfall tabs or dutch doors without sacrificing room to write.  I feel it works really well for project planning or memory keeping as there is plenty of room to add photos too.

Open 8x8 journal with memory page and photos 'my 40th'

Ideas to use an 8x8 journal:

  • Memory journal
  • Family Diary
  • Brainstorm/Spider diagrams
  • Project Planning
  • Photo Album
  • Mood Board
  • Garden Plot Planner
  • Pet journal 
  • Fabric Swatch book
  • Pattern Design notebook
  • Watercolour or Gouache painting
  • Painting and Decorating Planning

Open 8x8 used as a daily diary with date and notes in margin

You could also use it for quote pages, especially fun with creative lettering.

Open 8x8 with quote


B5 Journals and some ideas to use them

I am biased with this one as it’s my favourite size for Bullet Journaling.  At 6.83’’ wide and 9.84’’ tall it may not be the most portable but it’s the perfect desk size.  

Red A6 on top of large blue wolf B5

I love the extra space it offers as a Bullet Journal to add decorative headers, washi and stickers to my journal spreads.  The extra room may mean this journal lasts you longer too - I use 2 a year as  Bullet Journals.

Open B5 as a bullet journal with memories of month and playlist spread

In addition to a Bullet Journal, here are some other suggestions:

  • Creative writing/short stories
  • Art Journal
  • Goal Setting and Progress Tracking
  • Learning Log
  • Scrapbook
  • Commonplace Journal
  • Collection of newspaper cuttings
  • Study notes
  • Creative journal for quotations

Open B5 with 'watched in June' images around a title

Using a B5 gives you plenty of extra space to be creative too!  Below I am testing different header types for my Bullet Journal.

Open B5, left black paper, right white with examples of headers for 'monday'


Printable and Video

I hope you have found this article useful in helping you understand and choose the journal that is right for you.

Please take a look at the printable below for a collated list of journal uses by size.  

Cover for printable list of ideas

Don’t forget to watch the video for more examples of how I have used different journal sizes too.


Travelers size on top of 8x8 journal

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful to start a journal in 2024.

For more journal inspiration come and say hello @thejournalcorner. We always love to see your creations, so please tag @archerandolive or use #aoshare on Instagram.

The Archer & Olive blog has a lot of articles to help inspire you to use different size journals.  For A6 inspiration take a look at using a pocket notebook for traveling and as a penpal tracker.  There are 10 ideas for a B6 journal here or read through the pros and cons of using a B6 as a Bullet Journal.  

To create extra space in an A5 try using dutch doors or take a look at a food adventure setup in a travelers size. 

The width of an 8x8 journal is taken advantage of with a gratitude and reading goals page in these blog posts.

Finally, take a look at the larger B5 in use as a Bullet Journal or Family Cookbook.

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