Before I started my bullet journal, I was a bit intimidated by the idea of having to doodle complex designs every week. Once I started, though, I figured out how to make my spreads look organized and visually appealing without spending too much time on them.
In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to create spreads that look great on the page without costing too much time, effort, or money. The only supplies I use in most of these spreads are Crayola markers and ballpoint pens, which shows that you don’t need to splurge to have a good-looking bujo!
1. Drop shadows make everything look better.
This is a fact. No matter how you structure your spread, drop shadows automatically add visual interest to the page. In the January spreads pictured below, I added shadows to the calendar boxes. They instantly made these simple spreads look much better!
2. A smaller spread means less space to fill!
Monthly and weekly spreads usually take up two pages, but sometimes, you might find you don’t need all that space. Why waste time filling up two pages when one is enough to plan with? July 2019 was a pretty quiet month for me, so I used this simple 1-page calendar to plan our road trip and jot down some appointments. By this April, I was simply running out of pages in my journal. I downsized to one page per weekly spread, and I added a little cloud doodle inspired by YouTuber AmandaRachLee. The spread ended up looking cute, but I didn’t have to fill up two pages of space that I didn’t need.
3. Literally just write the days of the week.
Nothing to fear here, as long as you didn’t skip your cursive lessons in third grade. Again, I drew both of these spreads with Crayola markers, so there’s no need to invest in any brush or calligraphy pens if you don’t have them. The idea here is to use the letters as the art, as I do in the first spread, or as dividers, as I do in the second spread. This is one of my go-to strategies when I’m short on time and inspiration, and it usually turns out good!
4. Never underestimate the power of simple shapes.
In this weekly spread from March, I just used the side of a brush marker to scatter leaves around the page.
In this November spread, I drew random shapes in two shades of purple, and I love how it turned out. I lost one of the purple markers halfway through the month, but it was good while it lasted.
For this September spread, I stuck to one shape: circles! For weekly spreads throughout the month, I found different ways to use dots in these same four colors. I love how this month turned out, and it was super easy to just fill up space with a simple shape.
Any shape could be repeated to create a similar effect. I’m a fan of circles and triangles, but if you’d like to see how dodecagons turn out, by all means, go for it.
I use these strategies all the time to make my spreads, especially when I’m pressed for time and just want to get to the planning part. These are all great ways to start off your bullet journal as well, because creating quick plans every week helps to get in the habit of bullet journalling. Besides, spreads that are heavy on the doodling can be a bit intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you from bullet journalling!