It is now January 12 of 2019 and I still have not decided yet which planner I shall use in 2019...........!!!
It all started in September 2018 when I found out that the planner which I was using then (Weekend Wish from Discover21) does not have Tomoe River Paper anymore in their 2019 version. I ordered it anyway to discover that I do not like the new paper at all....and then my search for a planner started.
I have some specific wishes about any planner and I have not found my dream planner yet. Something is always missing but I`m getting close in finding it!
- fountain pen friendly paper
- white or offwhite paper (not cream)
- B6 size
- vertical weeks
- 2 days on one page
- "all-in-one" - months, weeks, days, lists, trackers, note pages
- minimalistic layout, either black+white or minimal color accents
- lay flat
- stay open
- bound planner
The Weekend Wish planner has started this whole search in last September as they changed the paper but still I have included him in my list of possible ones for 2019.
I have now narrowed it down to the following:
- Organicer from a kickstarter project from Slovenia
- Weekend Wish Diary from Discover21 from Japan
- Take a Note planner from Taiwan
- Soumkine monthly planner and Universal Planner from France
- Franklin Planner Organizer from Japan
Here is a summary of each planner with some pictures
(click on the titles of each planner to reach the respective webpages)
This planner was created via a Kickstarter project in the last year, it was successfully funded and I received the planner in the beginning of this year.
It is a chunky planner in the size of A5, with a hardbound cover. The dominant color is black, with bits of yellow, green and rosé on the pages.
This planner works together with an app. You can take pictures of your weekly or daily layout, it will transfer these into the app where you can edit everything. You can mark tasks as done, you can add information, you can share it. It works on Apple and Android. The apps is still in Beta so not perfect yet, but they are working on it.
The planner has the following set up:
- one year at a glance
- monthly overview with habit tracker, goal planner and blank boxes on two pages
- month on two pages (Monday start)
- vertical weeks for one month in a consecutive order (7 days on two pages for the first week, then 8 days on two pages for the following weeks)
- 4 days on two pages in a consecutive order for the whole month
- one (or two) dot grid pages at the end of the month
-(Then it starts again with the new month.)
- at the back two lists (books to read and movies to watch)
- one page with a contact list
- one page with a gift list
- all in one planner (except note pages)
- vertical weekly layout
- 4 days on two pages which is enough for me
- needs a little breaking in but then lays flat and stays open
- nice paper, not ok for all fountain pen inks (the darkest and wettest ones will bleed and feather), but most of my inks work perfectly well on this paper with nearly no ghosting
- unusual layout of the weekly pages as these run consecutively. So you do not have Monday-Sunday on two pages, but the left page can start with a Tuesday and then, 8 days later, the overview stops on the right side with a Sunday. This is something which needs getting use to
- not enough blank pages. There are only about 12 pages of dot grid pages, spread throughout the planner right at the end of each month. I rather would have them together at the end of the planner with at least 30 sheets of blank pages, preferable in a small grid of 4mm. Which means you need to have a separate notebook for any lists or tracker. I have therefore added an A5 notebook from Hobonichi, small enough to fit into the back of the planner. It has the same size so fits in nicely.
- it really is chunky and heavy but it can stay at home because you can use the app to organize your tasks during the day when you are out of the house
This is a planner from Japan from the Company Discover21. I have ordered it via Amazon Japan without any problems.
It comes in a B6 size in either pink or turquoise, which means that the whole planner is created in either color, including the cover and the prints.
The planner of 2018 was made with Tomoe River Paper which is just perfect for any fountain pen inks and I was looking forward to order it again for 2019 as the whole planner was a dream come true for me. The size, the color, the layout...all perfect for me!
But then I discovered in September 2018 that they changed the paper to a thicker and heavier one and I was very much disappointed. I contacted the company and they told me that the change of paper was a wish of the two ladies who are the creator of this planner as they wanted to have thicker paper.
I ordered one anyway as I thought that I can at least try it out, maybe it would be a nice surprise... but no, the paper does not work well with fountain pens anymore (at least until about half the planner up to page 240, then the ink starts to feather and bleed through which is an absolute no-no for me). Maybe I have a faulty one, I have asked the company but have not received an answer yet.
And in addition: that planner does not stay open anymore. It doesn`t matter how much I smooth down a page or or bend it back, the page will stand up after a time or flap over. Last year with the thinner and more flexible Tomoe River Paper the planner stayed open without any problems. It was not a complete lay-flat but flat enough.
The planner has the following set up:
- about 20 pages of explanation on how to use that planner in Japanese in the beginning. I have pasted grid pages (printed out on TRP) over these pages and have now 20 pages of blank note pages. I`m very sorry for the two ladies who created these pages as I guess they have put a lot of thought into these pages but I cannot read Japanese anyway so I have no idea what it all means and this was a good possibility to add blank note pages
- yearly overview of 2019 and 2010
- starting page of the month on two pages, here I have added grid pages in TRP as well to have additional blank pages
- month on two pages
- horizontal week on the left pages, grid page on the right (I have pasted in a vertical week on two pages, printed out on TRP, over these two pages)
- 4 days on two pages with a very small grid of 3mm (4 pages for one week), always starting with Monday on the left and having a blank box per week for additional notes (after Friday)
- then followed again by the weekly overview and the next week days
- then again the monthly starter page, the monthly overview, followed by the weekly and daily pages and so on for the whole year
- at the back again pages with Japanese writing, here I have added as well blank grid pages, altogether 20 pages. So I have altogether 40 blank pages with an additional 24 (two before each month)
- this planner starts actually with the month of December 18 and runs to November19. Dec19 would be in the next planner of 2020. Last year I have used Dec17 for Dec18, I have adjusted the dates accordingly. This is the strange part of this planner but when you use it every year it does not matter that much. But still, having one year in one planner just feels better for me.
- perfect size of B6
- very nice color
- perfect layout
- ability to add blank grid note pages to this planner which gives me space for lists and trackers but not necessarily any scribbling notes but this could be done on any loose sheets
- space to add a vertical overview of any week
- 4 days on two pages which are perfect for me
- chunky due to the added pages but still portable with a clear plastic cover
- the paper!!! big big disappointment for me.... I miss the Tomoe River Paper
- it does not stay open anymore... the old one with TRP laid flat and stayed open
I have found this planner by chance, one person mentioned it in a Facebook group for Japanese planners.
I have ordered it via USA from A Blank Note as this was the only one which still had one for 2019 (it was already December when I ordered it).
This planner has an A5 size (true A5), it is made out of white 68gsm Tomoe River Paper and has an open spine which makes this planner lay flat completely and it stays open for sure!
They have a version in their own language and this one in english. The print throughout the planner is very light, it nearly disappears when you start to put writing in it, it is a very light grey, with highlights in vintage brown (sepia). Saturdays and Sundays are printed in sepia, the cover is in the same color with gold print.
This is a very elegant looking planner, sleek and thin and comes with a clear cover which keeps it protected and still slim.
They even received a Good Design Award for this planner!
The planner has the following set up:
- yearly overview, starting September 2018, whole year of 2019 and going to April 2020 on one page
- one page of monthly trackers
- monthly overview of one month on two pages from Dec18 to Mar20, all together one after the other
- weekly vertical pages, two days on one pages; always starting with a weekly overview column on the left side,then Monday to Wednesday and on the next two pages Thursday to Sunday
- one week after the other, ending with the first week of the new year
- 8 dot grid pages in 3,5mm
- Tomoe River Paper!!! in 68gsm!!
- slim with a lay-flat binding 180 degrees!
- a lot of dot grid room around the monthly boxes on the monthly pages to add information or tracker on these pages
- vertical week pages, with two days on one page, with a lot of room to add tasks and daily journaling on the same page, so that you have a weekly layout combined with a daily journaling option
- and a structured layout, you know that Monday is always on the left side and Thursday as well, with a Sunday always on the right side
- a small weekly overview column at the start of a new week which gives you additional room
- throughout the planner the same grid size of 3,5mm,, no quotes on any page which take away space
- this planner does not have enough blank pages, I have added a Hobonichi A5 notebook for my lists and trackers (which fits perfectly well into the back of the planner as it has the same size),so this goes against my "all-in-one-idea" but it is not that bad as both notebooks have the same size and it looks like the notebook belongs in the back
- somehow the print is a bit too light, you really have to look closely to see the lines especially in bad light but on the other side the writing stands out very well because the print merges with the background (so this is both a pro and a con)
Soumkine planners and notebooks are made in France with Italian 70gsm paper. They mostly have planners in A5 size but have now added a B6 slim size and B5 size.
The paper is very fountain pen friendly, even with just 70gsm. No bleeding, just a bit of ghosting and just a bit of feathering with some dark wet inks, but overall very good.
The paper has a bit of a "toothy" feeling, it gives very good feedback while writing. I have the feeling that my pens do not "slide" around on this paper but let me write nicely. Funnily my writing looks very good on this paper. Not hurried at all.
The Universal Planner has a fantastic grid 4mm layout. The creator, Fiodor Sumkin, has added fine lines as a guide to let you create your own layout. You can create a monthly layout, a weekly layout with 4 days per page or two days per page or use one page per day. It is fantastic for bullet journal users as this planner lets you create your own layout without strict rules but still with faint guidelines.
The number of boxes of the grid layout are just perfect, you can create monthly or yearly overviews and trackers as there are 32 boxes across(perfect as most months have 31 days!)
Each notebook in A5 has about 70 pages so you have slim portable notebooks. The monthly planner has monthly overviews in addition to blank grid pages.
The monthly planner has the following set up:
- yearly overviews on 2 pages for 2019 and 2020
- a yearly vertical monthly overview with 4 months on two pages
- a monthly overview on two pages, starting with Dec18, ending with Feb20
- 26 pages with the same fantastic grid layout as the Universal Planner (might be that that has changed as I can see a different layout of these blank grid pages in the pictures on his website)
The Universal planner has the following set up:
- 68 pages with the grid layout in 4mm
- slim notebooks
- extremely versatile layout which lets you create your own daily/weekly/monthly overviews and monthly/yearly trackers
- perfect for bullet journaling
- paper very good for fountain pens
- you can create your own layout with stickers, I have for example used my daily and weekly stickers for the weekly pages
- the paper has a cream color, a very very cream color and I`m more a fan of white paper
- even as this paper is very good with fountain pen ink I have the feeling that it picks up very fast the oil of your skin while writing and that on these patches the pens do not write well anymore. No problem with thicker nibs but with fine nibs the writing looks differently. I never had this problem on TRP or any other paper
- not "all-in-one" but if you use a clear cover with two of these notebooks you kind of have it together again
- I can fit about three months of daily tasks and journaling into one of the Universal Planners so I have to start a new one in April. In the end of one year I would have 5 books, one monthly and 4 Universal ones. Which goes against my "all-in-one-idea"....
The last one would be the Franklin Daily planner from Japan. Franklin Covey is well known in the USA for their ring bound planners in various sizes and colors, in addition they have created bound planners with Tomoe River Paper for the Japanese market.
I have bought mine via Amazon Japan, they have a big selection of these planners in various sizes and layouts.
I have ordered the daily planner in B6 big size with a red PVC cover. This planner consists of two books, one with the monthly and daily pages and the second one a book with all kind of forms. These forms are set up according to the Franklin Covey system and are very strict.
The daily pages have at the top three boxes for daily tasks (lined), then on the left side of the page an appointment scedule (lined) and on the right side a grid layout for daily notes. The line spacing is 3,7mm. The print is a light black, not too thick with blue accents.
As I very much need a vertical overview of a week I have thought about adding a printed weekly overview to this planner. But I can only past the left side onto the weekly overview page and the right side of the week would need to be tipped in/glued in at the edge of the page. Which is a little bit akward.
The planner has the following set up:
- a yearly overview of 2019 and 2020 on one page
- monthly overviews on two pages, going from Dec18 to Dec19
- future planning pages for 2020 in an vertical overview with 6 months on two pages
- at the beginning of a week a page with a weekly overview
- then the daily pages, always starting with Monday on the right page
- at the back 6 lines pages
- Tomoe River Paper in 52gsm, which creates a compact planner for the whole year
- perfect size
- very sturdy colorful cover
- there are no blank note pages in this planner (disregarding the 6 pages at the back) and no space to add any. For any lists or trackers I would need to use an additional notebook. I thought about combining this planner with a B6 Nanami Paper Cafe Note Notebook which I would use for several years. But these two books do not have the same size (the Franklin Planner is a very big B6 whereas the Cafe Note is a B6 slim) and I do not really like these various size and always switching between books)
- the daily task boxes are not big enough for my tasks so I would definitely need to add the weekly pages but then the page per day would have too much space left over as I do not write that much for one day.
Now, here we are ..... at the end of my list of "my favorites for 2019" or "what do I do now???".
My thoughts about these planners:
I`m not quite sure yet about the Organicer Planner, I don`t like the weekly layout with the consecutive days as I`m more fond of structured planners.
I would love to use the Weekend Wish Planner because of the color and layout, but I do not like the new paper and the planner does not lay flat.
My favorite one is the Take A Note Planner. It is slim, it lays flat, it has Tomoe River Paper, enough space for tasks and journaling per day on the same page. The light print is one thing which is not my favorite part of this planner.
My other favorite is the Soumkine planner. I can do a similar layout as in the Take A Note and I have enough blank grid pages for trackers and lists. It would be a set up with separate books but the overall look and feel would be the same. Just the ink problems due to the oily patches and especially the cream color stops me from using it. I just come back to it because I like to write on that special paper.
The Franklin Planner is out of the game. The daily pages are a waste of space and a combi with a Cafe Note in B6 is not my preferred set up. I have given up on the Hobonichi in A6 or A5 out of the same reasons. The A6 is too small to fit everything on one daily page, the weekly supplement does not have the same size. The Cousin in A5 has weekly and daily pages but the daily pages would be a waste of space. And there are no note pages in these two planners, I would always need a separate notebook.
Have you already decided which planner you will use in 2019? Are you using bound planners or ring or discbound planner? Do you switch planners during the year?
Which one of the above would be your favorite planner?
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my indecision of the year 2019!
Thank you very much and (planner) peace to everyone!
P.S, and as always, I have bought all these planners on my own expenses, I do not get paid to write about them and I state my own opinion.