A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Feature, Showcase, Web Exclusive

Aesthetic Note-taking for Dummies

How to take notes that look nice and help your grades

Throughout a student’s time at school, whether it be middle school, high school, or college, taking notes is something that every student will have to do. Notes can be extremely helpful for learning and reviewing, but oftentimes students never look back at their notes because they are messy or they didn’t take notes in the first place. 

The point of note-taking is to be able to look back and review information. Taking notes is pointless if you don’t go back and review them. Making notes look nice and neat is an easy way to be motivated to look back at notes. It also makes taking notes much more enjoyable since you can be creative. 

In the past few years, the hashtag #studygram has become popular on Instagram where people post their notes. Most of these notes look very neat and aesthetically pleasing. People also post their notes on other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr. These pictures can be inspiring, but on the flip side it is easy to be intimidated looking at these perfect notes. However, don’t get discouraged. Your notes are for you and you only, so it only matters if you like them.    

Having good pens and highlighters can be helpful when trying to make your notes look nice. The pens that I like best are the Pilot Precise V5 RT. They have an extra-fine tip (0.5mm), don’t smudge, and don’t bleed through paper. They come in a variety of colors and can be found at Walmart and on Amazon. 

There are a variety of highlighters that are exceptional for note-taking, but some favorites are Stadtler Textsurfer Classic Pastel Highlighter marker pens, Stabilo Boss Original Highlighter, and Zebra Mildliner Double Ended Highlighters. The Stadtler and Stabilo Boss highlighters are bright colors that have line widths of 1-5mm and 2-5mm, respectively. Zebrapen.com claims that the Zebra Mildliners feature “a unique mild color that shows up softly on paper and a broad and fine point tip for all hand lettering and marking applications.”

 

I like using highlighters for writing titles and emphasizing important information. I always highlight the whole line that I write the subtopic on. This makes it easy to neatly divide up subtopics and adds a nice pop of color. 

I always have a color theme for each page of notes. If I use a blue highlighter for my title and subtopic lines then I’ll also use a blue pen for my definitions. For me, having multiple colors of highlighters and pens is too confusing, but if you want super colorful notes then go for it! A fun way to use multiple colors is to use a different color for each subtopic. This way you can have an assortment of colors and still have it look nice and neat. As long as you like the look of your notes, you can be as creative as you want. 

You can show off your creativity in your notes with doodles, diagrams, and informative webs. Drawing small doodles can help you remember and recall information since you will have a written and a drawn version of the information. Doodles also add a flair of artisticness. Copying diagrams from your textbook or online are great ways to summarize information and learn it. Diagrams are especially beneficial for science classes. Making diagrams of things like the eye, the hydrologic cycle or the cell division process makes it easy to review summarized information. Making informative webs are really helpful for seeing how topics are connected to each other and they look nice in your notes. They also are a great review tool. 

Titles are one of the most important aspects of your notes. It is the first thing you see and it tells you what that page is about. The most common way to make titles is making a banner (photo 1), adding a shadow to the letters (photo 2), splitting the word in two pieces (photo 3), and writing in cursive (photo 4).

If you really want to go all out in your notes, stickers and washi tape is the way to go. These are not necessary to make your notes look nice, but they can aid in making your notes more aesthetic. 

Having your notes looks nice has multiple positive impacts. It allows you to be imaginative even in subjects that are not typically considered as creative classes, such as science and math. Simply writing down information can help you learn and reviewing your notes will help you study. In turn, taking notes can help improve your grades dramatically.

In an email interview with Mahat Nur, owner of the Instagram studygram @coffeemlk, when talking about the benefits of note-taking he says, “Taking pretty notes has helped me in a number of ways. It’s increased my follower count, meaning I’ve had so many opportunities that have come my way (super grateful). It’s also increased my grades dramatically! I used to get C’s and D’s, but thankfully I get A’s and B’s now because of my studygram. Another thing is that I’ve met so many lovely new people! I’ve also started up my own sticker store, which is @coffeepaperieco on Instagram!”. 

It can be difficult starting out taking nice notes, especially if you are not well-versed in taking basic notes. However, it is never too late to start! For beginners, Mahat Nur recommends using “a notebook that you’re comfortable with and also a nice pen is always a bonus! I use the Pentel Energel BLN105 and the Staples Arc Notebook”. Also, following studygram accounts is a great way to get motivated and inspired, and @cofffeemlk is a great one to follow! 

Whether your notes are colorful, simple, decorative, or anything in between, taking nice notes is a fun and creative way to learn and review information.

Google+