An Entire Design Team Swears by This Dot Grid Notebook

Find out why

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Tools of the Trade: Appointed Notebook

Photo: Appointed / Illustration: The Spruce

The world of home decor is vast, and we’re constantly amazed by the designers, creators, and creatives who cross our paths. In an effort to learn more about the innovative eyes behind the scenes, we’ve launched a series that explores the sanity-saving tools, products, and services that keep our favorite designers and decorators focused on the job at hand. Welcome to Tools of the Trade. 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about people who work in creative fields, it’s that everyone’s creative process is different—and people’s opinions vary wildly. When Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths told us that her entire design team of eight swears by this one specific notebook, we had to know more!

Tanya Smith-Shiflett headshot.

Courtesy of Tanya Smith-Shiflett

What item made your work life easier this week/month/lately?

Tanya Smith-Shiflett: My dotted grid notebook from Appointed, especially with the Mark’style Gel Pen. 

Appointed Dot Grid Workbook

Dot Grid Workbook


Appointed Mark’style Gel Pen

Mark’style Gel Pen


Both are always in super-high demand, so this notebook from Amazon is a great alternative if the Appointed one is out of stock.

Anecdote Dotted Journal Notebook

Dotted Journal Notebook


Why is this item so great?

TSS: Collaborative team meetings are a big part of the design world, and we have to take notes as fast as we talk. With ideas flying around, this notebook is a lifesaver.

Where/how do you use this item most?

TSS: In the office, at our large meeting table, and on the road at each of our showrooms. We use them to take consultation call notes before typing them up, design concept drawings, and random inspirations.

How did you discover this item?

TSS: Sara Swabb from Storie Collective recommended this to us, and now all of our girls have one.

Will you use this item in the future?

TSS: Forever.

How has this item made your job easier?

TSS: Dot grid notebooks are so crucial, as they allow us to take notes and draw out designs. The structure is perfect for writing, and the dots are not too defined (versus when we use lined paper, our drawings often get lost in the lines.) Plus, it’s spiral bound, so it's much cleaner to tear out pages and lay them completely flat. We prefer the dot grid workbook, but all of their notebooks are wonderful. 

How might someone not in your line of work benefit from this item?

TSS: Having a place to collect your thoughts is crucial, no matter where you work.

What, if anything, would you change about this item?

TSS: Probably nothing, I love all the colors. They could add more pages, but other than that, I love it.

Are there any care/use tips someone considering this item should know about?

TSS: Get the pen too. The pen makes all the difference—a comfortable smooth pen keeps your hand from cramping. You can also get them monogrammed. Ours aren't, but our next ones sure will be.

For more from Unique Kitchens & Baths, you can find them on Instagram, where they share their designs for bespoke kitchens and baths nationwide, with studios in Maryland, Virginia, DC, Tennessee, and New York.