If you follow bujo fans on any social media platform, you’ve seen some of the most beautiful spreads out there. People all over the world are using their bullet journals as a creative outlet, combining productivity with artistic talent. Many of these amazing artists start each month with a theme, and you should, too.
Why? A theme will focus your efforts and unlock your creativity. It may seem counter-intuitive, but years of teaching theatre has given me tons of evidence to support this theory. Just like a writing prompt helps kids come up with amazing, outside-the-box stories; a monthly theme will push you to your creative limits and help you build on your skills.
There are many kinds of themes that you can put to use in your journal, in any combination, to beautiful effect.
Check out this gorgeous cool color palette from @hellohelery_art .
Choosing a limited color palette is a great way to assure that your monthly and weekly spreads all have a unified look. It’s a must if you decorate with stickers, washi tape, or collage. To assure that every spread is gorgeous, remember those color harmonies you learned in elementary art class. Remember complementary and analogous colors? It’s okay if you don’t. Pinterest has a ton of beautiful color palette posts to inspire you. You can check out my inspiration board here to see what I’m talking about.
Once you’ve decided your color scheme, match all your markers and accessories to it. Remember, you can be as strict or flexible with it as you want, but I like to stick to no more than three variations on each color… I limit myself with space. Every accessory, sticker, marker and pen I use for the month goes into a separate pencil case. That way I don’t have to fish out my supplies every time I fill out my mood tracker, and I’m less tempted to stray from the theme. Win-Win!
@_coffeeandsarcasm_ is a theme queen. I love these dandelions!
A doodle theme can really help you push yourself creatively. Pick something you can draw, or want to learn to draw, in a variety of ways. I love the “Draw This 20 Ways” challenges, because they are great for brainstorming themes!
Choose washi tapes and stickers that go with your doodle theme. Cut images out of magazines, or print digital images to build collages. From there, you can build gorgeous spreads without be overwhelmed with ideas. Your theme will inspire the spread! To keep things unified and looking on point, make sure you include a doodle on every page of the month, even if it’s just a small detail.
This is one of mine… a weekly spread with a little inspiration!
Anyone who spends all their free time scrolling through bujo feeds (Everybody does that, right? No? Just me, then…) will know that journaling and hand lettering are a perfect match. Whether you are a lettering newbie or a seasoned artist, choosing a quote theme could be the perfect way to get your daily practice in. You can have a broad theme, like poetry, or a really specific one like Stephen King quotes. You could even decide to quote nothing but Jimmy Fallon one-liners. It’s going to look inspirational in that beautiful modern script. Letter a quote on every spread, or write out a poem one line at a time throughout the month… let your creativity decide!
Holidays or Events
This Valentine’s theme from @nicole.josephinee is adorable. It’s clearly Valentine’s, but still unique and creative!
Holidays and events are great for inspiring themes. There are the obvious national holidays, like New Year’s in January and St. Patty’s Day in March, but a little research will lead you in some unexpected directions. Did you know that October 4th is National Taco Day? July might conjure thoughts of fireworks for most Americans, but it also happens to be National Ice Cream Month. Yeah. Ice Cream. Check out National Day Calendar next time you’re looking for ideas. (FYI: My birthday happens to be National Ice Cream Soda Day.)
As you are thinking about setting up your journal next month, consider picking a theme. Check out some national holidays, pick some quotes from your favorite author, and limit yourself to a color palette. You may be surprised at the wealth of ideas that come from a little limitation. Planning will be more than a habit, it will be a creative outlet!
Did you like what you saw? Follow these amazing bujo artists on Instagram! Just follow the link under each image and click that follow button!