Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Tru Red Expert Guidance Collection Journals

The Expert Guidance Collection is a family of journals from Staples’ in-house Tru Red brand which offers note-taking tips and techniques printed right inside.

The Expert Guidance Collection is split up into four types of journals:

  • Starter: For novice notetakers who are new to note-taking techniques
  • Explore: For medium-level notetakers who want to improve
  • Mastery: For note-taking experts who don’t need much guidance or advice
  • Pocket: Small, portable journals

The collection is made up of premium quality journals with many features. Some of the features are found in all of the journals but not all of them are in every model. Each journal has premium weight paper, numbered pages, and a reinforced cover. The cover materials vary based on the model with the Starter having a plastic coated cover, Explore a leatherette, which is similar to the cover on a Moleskine Classic, and Mastery moving to a fabric.

Tru Red has promoted the Expert Guidance Collection on their Instagram and Facebook pages where you can learn more about the brand sees their product as fitting into the current stationery ecosystem.

All of the models use a hardcover and a 192 pages of heavy, smooth paper that is acid-free and ready for archiving. The journals include spine stickers so when you are done using them you can add the sticker and put the book on your shelf, knowing the contents and date range.

The paper is designed for use with Tru Red’s rollerballs, which means it’s heavy enough to stand up to a wet pens without show-through on the other side of the paper.

Starter Series

The Starter series has perforated to-do lists, sketching pages, pockets at the front and inside cover, and a pen loop along the spine. There is also a large loop on the back of the notebook as well as a diagonal closure loop on the front. It’s sold in medium (5 x 8 inches) and large sizes (8 x 10 inches).

The note-taking guidance at this level is very limited, largely instructing people to use icons, highlight important sections/headers, and to use arrow to indicate the flow of ideas.

Explore Series

The Explore series has a cleaner design, with the pocket on the front, has a band for holding it shut, and has two bookmark ribbons. This level uses a much nicer leather material on the cover, which is a big step up from the Starter’s plastic diamond grid and even preferable to the Mastery’s fabric.

This level is focused on teaching techniques from note-taking experts, like block thinking, mind-mapping, and outlining. These are explained in a tear-out sheet in the front of the book. These are techniques that were used by Leonardo DaVinci, Charles Darwin and other note-taking masters.

This style is sold in a gradient dot grid that gets progressively darker as you go down the page. This looks cool on the page, but can be rather distracting practice.

Mastery Series

The Mastery series has an elastic strap that holds it shut with a metal indented piece on the covers, which makes it easy to differentiate from the other models. There are three ribbons for saving your pages, a pen loop, a tough fabric cover, and an interior pocket at the front.

The smaller size of the Mastery journal lacks the pen loop and some of the other features of the larger model.

Tru Red Expert Guidance Collection Journals Information

Street Price Check Price
Manufacturer Tru Red
ModelsStarter, Explore, Mastery
Cover TypeHardcover
Cover Material Leatherette, Fabric
Cover Color Red, Black, Grey
Paper Color White
Paper Decoration Lined
Line Spacing8 mm
Number of Pages 192
Weight (g/sq/m)90
Perforated Edge? No
Refillable? No
Paper Size Custom
Paper Size 25.4 x 20.3, 10 x 8
Paper Depth2.5 cm
Similar To: