This fall, Inkwell Press released a sort of “filler” planner for folks who didn’t get in on their first release of the 2015-2016 planner which I think debuted in June. This “filler” fourth quarter planner is a staple-bound, A5-sized booklet that provided folks with a taste of their larger planner and it spanned from September 2015 through December 2015.
The original Inkwell Press LiveWell planner is a larger 7×9″ sized spiral-bound planner which is available in two weekly layouts but its already sold out for 2016. I am not inclined to love the idea of a large closed-ring planner system anyway, especially one with exposed rings. I just envision taking something like that in and out of a bag and getting my keys or a knitting project tangled in those rings… oh, the horror.
Since I ordered the booklet, Inkwell Press is now offering the A5 quarterly booklets as a regular part of their product line. They will be available for purchase as a bundle for $35 starting December 9. Their products sell out fast so mark your calendar if you think you might be interested in purchasing these.
I had heard that Inkwell Press used some of the thickest paper in the business for their planners so I thought this booklet would give me a chance to test it out without buying a full year planner.The paper is listed as 140gsm (approx 80lb text). Despite the thickness of the paper, it did not do as well with fountain pens as I’d hoped. I got a good deal of squish — the ink just sort of absorbed into the paper blurring my writing and then got dots of bleed through on the back. With gel, felt tip and rollerball pens in a whole array of colors though, the paper worked splendidly and I had little-to-no show through at all. So, this is not the magic bullet paper I had hoped for.
Each month is color coded with two interesting colors. September was blue grey and lilac, October was orange and grey, November is aqua and grey (with a golden yellow accent), December is coral orange and golden yellow. It makes discerning each month easy without being too distracting. The start of each month is a monthly calendar view on two pages followed by their signature hexagonal “mission board” page. I’m not sure if I would use it or exactly what its for but the colors are pretty and the facing page is a notes page which is handy. Following this is a week on two pages with a Monday start and Saturday and Sunday get equal treatment with a space at the bottom for additional notes. To the right of each day is a colored box for a “top three”.
Anyway… So a nice small staple-bound booklet seemed like a nice change of pace for the end of the year. I’ve been carrying a personal Filofax for the last few months so this is definitely lighter and more compact but lacking in a lot of pockets, slots and extra sections for various notes so I had to start improvising right away.
Unlike the full Inkwell Press planner, the booklet style planner does not have any tabbed sections so I put some clips to use to mark pages and stuck a binder clip inside the front cover to hold notes. At present, I have the DMV notice to renew my license plate stickers clipped there as a constant reminder.
As you can see, I’m pretty much an “all-business” planner. I try to color code with pen colors but mostly I use whatever color is closest and call it a design decision. I use washi tape to denote travel dates or an extended project and call it “decorating”.
I did glue an envelope into the back cover to create a pocket for stamps, business cards and other detritus. You’ll notice that the bottom staple is already starting to pull loose from the cover. By the time I finished photographing this, it had come apart completely, after just two weeks of regular (ab)use. I’m not sure how well these booklets would hold up to four months of daily carry wear-and-tear without a protective cover of some sort.
Inside the front cover, I glued in another pocket for sticky notes, page flags and more business cards (I must be a magnet for those things!).
In the end, the paper did not live up to the hype and that was really why I ordered the planner in the first place. The mission boards are pretty but I am not the type of person to be introspective enough to know how to use them anyway so I just think “ooo, pretty hexagons”. So, I’m inclined to go back to one of my tried-and-true systems that can handle more abuse and are not quite as difficult to acquire.