If you’ve got your pulse on all things organizational and digital planning, then you’re probably already familiar with Notion, an all-in-one project management and note taking software that has captured the hearts of Type A (and aspiring Type A) personalities all over the internet. If you’re not quite clear on how Notion works, I recommend starting here with my blog that breaks down the basics and how I use it to organize my business and personal life; Otherwise, read on for how I personalize my Notion so that each page drips with ✨aesthetics✨.
The beauty of Notion is that you can keep it simple and minimalist, sticking with the software’s basic features to create your task lists and organize your data, but if you’re like me, then a well-organized system is not enough to satisfy your neurotic AND creative tendencies. We crave a space that offers both function and inspiration – a space that we can look forward to working in everyday because it’s just so gosh darn pretty.
Thanks to Notion’s drag and drop interface, as well as their various basic block options, you have the capability to really customize your pages so they look and feel like a planner you’d call home. It might take a little extra time and creativity to set your space up with these features, but I promise it is 100% worth it.
1. Aesthetic Stock Images with Specific Keywords
The first place I start when I setup a new Notion template or page is with the imagery. Image blocks are a great way to break up text and databases, while setting a vibe for your page. If I’m not using my own photos, then I use Notion’s Unsplash search for image blocks.
I try to stick to a specific theme that elicits a feeling or mood like a warm summertime day at the beach or a cozy rainy day under the covers. From there, I’ll brainstorm colors, locations, and objects that match this theme. I’ll try to stick with the same 1-3 colors in the images I select so that it creates a cohesive palette throughout my Notion. I also usually avoid photos with human subjects since too many portrait type photos can become distracting.
The following list contains some of my go-to keywords for finding aesthetic-driven imagery in Unsplash:
- White aesthetic
- Beige aesthetic
- Green aesthetic
- Neutral aesthetic
- Neutral tones
- Green photography
- Paris cafe
- Palm trees
- Pampas grass
- Summer images & pictures
- Fall images & pictures
- Beach images & pictures
- Coffee images
- Flower images
- Forest background
- Desert background
- Hd pastel wallpapers
- Hd white wallpapers
2. Custom Dividers
Notion has a basic divider feature for breaking up sections of your page with a simple thin gray line. This option works great if you’re pressed for time, but if you want to maximize your aesthetic potential, I recommend getting a little creative here and creating your own dividers.
To do this, I use Canva to create a 2000 x 200 pixel design. If you want your divider thinner, you can change the height to anything under 200 pixels, but I always like to keep the width at 2000 pixels. Now let your creativity run wild!
You can keep it simple with a basic line and change up the coloring so it matches your color palette, or you can get more expressive with your divider by creating something like an affirmation banner. Then when you’re satisfied, you’ll export it as a PNG or JPG and upload the divider as an image block in your Notion.
3. Custom Font Headings
Another feature I like to outsource to Canva for my Notion are the headers. Notion has three main heading options for text that is restricted to one of the three font choices you’ve selected for your page. To help things stand out and set the overall tone of my Notion, I like to create my own headings with a bolder font choice through Canva.
Using a 500 x 250 pixel design canvas, I’ll add my heading title and then select a unique font that complements the rest of the text in Notion. Sometimes I’ll add a background color or image, while other times i’ll just export it as a PNG so that I can have a transparent background with the text. Then everything is designed, I’ll export them as a PNG or JPG and upload these new headings as an image block.
4. Uniformed Icons
You’ll notice that Notion loves to push emojis as icons for your pages and databases. Sure, this is a simple and quick way to apply icons, but the quickest way isn’t always the prettiest. Personally, I find the emoji look to be a little chaotic with all its colors, and also pretty limited as far as icon imagery goes. If you want that same idea of minimal, easy to understand icons, but with a bit more of a cohesive and monochromatic design approach, let me introduce you to the following sites for free Notion icons:
- Notion.vip – These are my personal go-to with it’s simple and quick click-to-copy feature
- Super.so – This site also makes things easy with click-to-copy
- Simple Notion Icons – Love this option because you can customize the color of your icons!
- Rajasekar’s Notion Icons – Another site that allows you to customize the color.
If the monochrome icon look isn’t really tickling your fancy, my other go-to for icons is creating color coordinated icon graphics. To do this, I’ll head to Canva and add a circle graphic to a 250 x 250 pixel design. Then I’ll pick a color palette for my icons and export each color as a PNG circle, that way I can organize each of my pages and subpages with their own color based on their content.
5. Colored Content Blocks
The final approach to creating a pleasing Notion page is creating colored blocks for different sections. This helps to breakup your pages without having to add a bunch of dividers everywhere.
You’re probably familiar with the ability to change the background color on text or with a toggle list, but in order to have a background color with a database or bulleted, to-do, or numbered list, you have to do a bit of a work around:
- Create a toggle list
- Add the content you want, like your to-do list, within your toggle list
- Set the background color
- Then turn your toggle list into text, and you’ll see the toggle list feature disappear and leaves you with your to-do list and it’s colored background block
I add these colored blocks throughout my pages to help breakup the page into sections and they also help to carry my color palette.
Hopefully these five aesthetic ideas gave you some inspo for customizing your own Notion! If you’re still on the fence about committing extra time to customizing your pages, you should check out my Notion templates that come pre-designed with these aesthetic features!