#11 TRENDING IN Student Life 🔥

How to Take Aesthetic Notes in School That You'll Actually Use for Studying

student life

Sat, August 26

As the start of a new school year approaches, so does the intreneched anxiety about homework, studying and notetaking. Although many begin the year with fresh markers and blank notebooks, most people's notes become indecipherable scribbles by October. This is dismissed because "taking aesthetic notes takes too much time" or "aesthetic notes don't really help anyway," but really, they are entirely worth it. So, how do aesthetically-pleasing notes help you study and how can you make your pages Pinterest-worthy?

How does writing aesthetic notes improve your studying experience?

While aesthetic notes can be visually pleasing, they can also have a positive impact on both motivation and learning.

Firstly, when you take the time to create these notes, you become more engaged in the material. This increase in motivation makes studying more enjoyable and interactive. As a result, you are more likely to stay focused and retain information better.

Secondly, by using colors and visual cues in your notes for aesthetic reasons, you're helping your brain process and store information. This means you'll be able to memorize content easier and more clearly during exams or tests.

Here are a couple of tips that will help you take aesthetic notes this coming school year and make you actually want to study!

Find your specific style

Before you open your notebook, try to find a style that suits you. You can do this by testing different pens and markers, writing out titles and headers in different fonts, creating example pages, looking at inspiration and experimenting with unique layouts. Ultimately, try to settle on a style that reflects your personality while helping you stay organized and study more efficiently.

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Get inspiration

At first, writing aesthetically-pleasing notes can be daunting, so look online to find inspiration. I'd suggest creating a photo album or Pinterest board to house your ideas. While copying from inspo pictures may be helpful, also try to find aspects that do or don't work for you and keep those in mind for your future note-taking process. This is my go-to Pinterest board for inspiration.

Invest in good materials

In order to create these notes, one should consider buying good materials. When starting out, you only really need notebooks, pens, highlighters and white-out.

For notebooks, a large A4 or A5 spiral bound notebook is most essential. If you have many classes, you may want to buy multiple or a large one with dividers. Notebooks like these can be found at any stationery or dollar store, but if you want something more aesthetic, check out the links below!

When purchasing note-taking supplies, finding quality pens is important as the majority of body text is done in gel or fine tip black pens. While any pens work, you should beware of ones that run out quickly or leak.

My favorite pens for taking notes are the Sharpie medium point gel pens as they don't smudge and last for quite a long time. You can find them on Amazon here.

Another one of my favorite materials for note-taking is highlighters. I would suggest deciding on a color scheme before purchasing them. Consider these:

Lastly, having white-out (liquid or roll-on) is important as it takes the stress off of making mistakes.

Beyond those basics, you can also buy sticky notes, colored pens, stickers, decorative tape, rulers, etc.

Research different note-taking methods

Depending on the subject and your personal preference, you may want to adopt a specific method of taking notes to learn the material better. I suggest trying each of these methods before settling on your favorite. It may also help to find out if you're a visual learner as certain methods are perfect for that style. Read more about visual learning here.

Cornell Note Taking System

Photo by Cornell University

This highly structured note-taking system, originating from Cornell University, features 3 sections. The main one contains key points and diagrams, usually in bullet form, and is written during class. The lower section is written after class and contains a quick, concise summary of the topic to find key information quickly.

The final side column has more flexibility in its content, but usually contains cue questions, vocabulary, formulas or important names and dates. This column is written after class and may require more research or added information.

Here's a helpful video on how to take aesthetic notes according to the Cornell note-taking method!

@youthpassionproject here’s how straight A students take their notes! cornell notes tutorial📓 #studyhacks #studytok #cornellnotes #notetakingtips #studytips ♬ original sound - RetroBands


This method is perfect for visual learners and can help connect topics. After writing the main idea at the top of your page, break it down into subtopics and add 3-5 bullet points underneath. Then, break those down even further with more subheadings and bullet points. Doing this until you have fully broken down the main topic can help make a complex subject seem less daunting and easier to understand/memorize.

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The Boxing Method

This common method employs a rigid structure and is best for subjects that have many individual subtopics. By separating the notes on different topics into boxes, it organizes the idea and makes it easy to differentiate between subtopics when studying. The only con with this method is that it doesn't work if there is overlapping or connecting information. If this is the case, try the mindmapping method.

The Outlining Method

Easily the most common form of note-taking, the outlining method is helpful to logically organize information and is easy-to-follow. You can take outlined notes by writing a main point, sentence, topic, or idea and adding indented supporting details or examples after it. If you need to add more info about a supporting point, simply indent again, and write below it.

Due to its linear arrangement, this method is not conducive to heavy visuals, so choose this for a topic that requires small diagrams or only one image.

I suggest playing around with different fonts and title styles.

Choose a color scheme

One of the easiest ways to make notes look coherent and aesthetic is to pick a color scheme! In order to design the perfect color scheme for your notes, choose one to three colors. If you use multiple, make sure they are next to each other on the color wheel.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Then, choose one or two lighter shades of those same colors. Create a couple of color schemes to alternate through your notebook but maybe experiment from time to time.

Color Code

Aside from a visually-pleasing color scheme, color in general can also play an important role in helping you study. Color coding, which means assigning colors a certain meaning in your notes, allows you to retain important information faster and study in a more efficient manner.

Firstly, you could color code using highlighters to differentiate important information that you need to remember. An example of this is highlighting vocabulary in pink, dates in yellow and formulas in blue. This method could also be used with a colored pen to write out important sentences or facts so they stand out. If you choose this method, it would be helpful to create a key/legend at the beginning of your notebook so as to not confuse yourself.

Alternatively, you can color code different subjects. This means choosing a different color scheme for each of your subjects, like greens & blues for math and yellows & oranges for science. I would suggest color coding by subjects if your notebook is used for all classes and isn't divided. This way, you can easily locate notes for studying.

Include hand-drawn visuals and diagrams

To make the most out of your studying experience, I would recommend adding diagrams and visuals to your notes, even if you're not the best drawing. Diagrams can not only help add academic value to your notes by providing visual aid, but also give them an aesthetic flare. If you aren't very confident about your artistic skill, you can copy from notes or a textbook or even print small pictures instead.

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Write it out later

In order to write concise, helpful and aesthetically-pleasing notes, I’d recommend taking quick, messy notes during class (or recording the lesson if your teacher permits it) and rewriting them later. By doing so, you can write stress-free and have time to categorize information you may have recorded at different times in the lesson. Re-writing your notes, accompanied by reading them out loud, can help you memorize them faster.

Don't get carried away

While making your notes look aesthetic can feel fulfilling and be helpful to studying, getting too caught up in making your notes look perfect can take away from the enjoyment. This means you shouldn't spend more time writing your notes than you are studying, as the way notes look isn't more important than the content. Also, don't throw away your notes if you make a slight mistake! Use whiteout or cross it out, because in the end, the notes are just a tool for you to further your learning experience.

Thanks for Reading and Happy Note-Taking!

Elle Glen
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Writer since Nov, 2022 · 7 published articles

Elle Glen is a high school journalist based in British Columbia, who is a reporter for the Griffins Nest newspaper. She has a dedicated love of reading which led to a love of writing. She spends most of her time reading, writing, being introverted, and listening to The Smiths. Elle is a curious individual who is fascinated by politics, trends, fashion and music.