I was so excited to review this planner. Upon initial research, The Luddite Function Pro Freefield Vertical B6 Planner ($19) had a lot of things going for it:
- Available in A5 and B6 size
- Tomoe River 52 gsm paper
- Freefield Vertical layout (as well as 4 other page layouts)
On the plus side:
- The lines are a light grey and inside the field areas are an even lighter 5mm grid.
- The type used for the days of the week is crisp, unobtrusive Futura.
- The weeks start with Monday.
- I love the “Freefield Vertical” layout. I don’t have a lot of meetings to account for on my calendar but lots of projects, to-dos and notes I like to track. This type of layout provides space at the top for AM/PM or home/work events and then the rest of the column/below area is open for other information. I tend to use this type of layout treating the lower section as a communal space for weekly activities. I may make a section to track activities, list out books I’ve read or podcasts I’ve listened to, etc.
Unfortunately, the reality of this planner did not align with my expectations.
- Somehow in my head, I thought the size was A6, not B6. While B6 (approximately 5″x7″) is quickly becoming a popular size, I do not own any covers that are B6 sized.
- The monthly pages are all in the front and the weekly pages follow. Since this is a bound softcover planner, there are no built-in book marks or tabs to make flipping back and forth easy.
- The covers of the planner are the thinnest cardstock. The book is floppy and needs a cover of some sort to stiffen it and make it durable enough to be used for a full calendar year. The thin 52gsm paper provides no additional stability so without a cover of some sort, this notebook will be a wrinkled, crumpled mess within a couple weeks.
- The 52gsm Tomoe River paper is not the Tomoe River paper we have grown to love. This must be the new Tomoe River 52gsm and, I hate to say it, it’s garbage. I tested multiple pages and fountain pens to verify that it was not a fluke. These images (comparing the Luddite planner with an Elia Note) shows how differently the paper behaves. The writing was done with the same pen and ink on the same day. Yeah… horrifying.
- And finally, the 52gsm paper reminded me why I have never really taken to the Hobonichi planners — the show through from day-to-day and week-to-week is too distracting for me. It looks and feel messier than a more opaque page. My planner pages can get messy enough as it is but seeing the mess from last week just makes my skin itch.
It breaks my hear a little to do this but I do not recommend this planner. Just the paper quality alone os enough for me to say no, no, no. If you are not a fountain pen connoisseur, then there is no real appeal for buying a Tomoe River planner so I can’t even caveat this review with “well, other pen users might like it”. Nope. Hard pass.