In March, 2016, Day Designer was kind to send Creative Writing an A5 planner for a try-out. The planner cover is a solid white leatherette material, and it came with enough undated, daily inserts for three months. In the opinion of this reviewer, how useful is this planner, especially with writers and bloggers in mind?
As the name suggests, Whitney English’s Day Designer planners are one of the fewer kinds of planners that feature a daily organizer (the Japanese line, Hobonichi, is another popular daily calendar, but it is a bit more challenging to obtain in the States). The line comes in spiral-bound (known as the “Flagship Edition”) and a newer, A5 size ring-bound version.
The spiral-bound Day Designer planners tend to sell out quickly. At this time in the spring of 2016, it is possible to pre-order a “mid-year” spiral edition that will come out in April – the mid-year daily calendar will run from June, 2016 through May, 2017.
Day Designer is aptly named. What sets it apart from other companies is the focus on design with daily planning – that is, its copyrighted layout of a full day to a page. Most planners on the market are weekly organizers, presenting a monthly view on two pages, then a variety of weekly design layouts – a week on a page, a week on two pages, vertical or horizontal arrangements, etc. Many writers need more room than the small boxes that weekly layouts provide, so a daily planner may ease that need for more space. Those looking for a weekly layout, in fact, should shop elsewhere, as this planner does not include one.
The item is shipped in a box, and inside that this binder was wrapped in white tissue paper inside an attractive, white box that would make presentation of this item as a gift more convenient. The overall size of this six-ring binder is approximately 7.5” by 9,” and the rings make it compatible with Filofax and other six-ring binder systems. The white cover is textured to resemble pebbled leather, and it has a “squishy” feel to it, comfortable in the hand. The binder smells like vinyl but does not give off a strong odor.
The cover of this A5, called “White Pebble” on the website, features an unusual magnetic closure (most binders of this type snap closed) with the “DD” logo affixed in gold-tone on top. The cover has a gold lining with six gold-toned rings that are approximately 1.25” in diameter. This sample’s rings were tight and opened and closed properly.
Inside the left cover of the binder are six pockets – a zipper compartment in gold, a secretarial-style long pocket in white, one long slip pocket, and three credit card-sized pockets, also all in white. Inside the back cover are two white pockets — a long side pocket and a slit-style pocket that could allow for the insertion of a tablet of paper. There is an elasticized pen loop sewn into the edge of the back cover. The closure strap on the binder is long enough to add more pages or inserts than the starter set that comes with it.
One noticeable feature of the interior of the cover is special padding on both sides to protect the binder from indentations made by the rings. In this binder, the padding is also in gold-tone so as to blend in with the lining.
A writer or blogger, like anyone else, might be hesitant to purchase a white binder, reasonably thinking it may show dirt and handling more quickly. This vinyl-style leatherette could probably be wiped clean with a damp cloth for some normal handling markings; however, it would take more time and handling to see whether the cover yellows or scuffs when tossed in a bag or used on a regular basis. Markings from markers or pens will be more noticeable on this cover and may or may not come off. If items were laid on or against this soft cover, it will likely show indentations.
Overall, the cover of this binder gives a classy, attractive appearance with a chalk-white color, pebbled texture, comfortable hand, gold-tone logo on the snap, and a peek of gold-tone lining visible from certain angles. It may not be for everyone, since the plain whiteness of it will likely show wear fairly quickly.
What about the inserts? Via the website, here is a list of what comes inside the “starter kit” of this A5 binder when you purchase it:
- 120 GSM White Text Pages with Dark Grey Print
- 180 GSM Colored and Customizable Tab Pages
- Six Color Tabs in Pinks, Yellow and Green
- Blank Stickers and Prompts for Tab Personalization
- Two-Page Yearly Reference Calendar for 2016 and 2017
- Full Page Check Lists to Mark ‘Important Dates Coming Up in 2016’ and ‘Things to Plan for in 2017’
- Perpetual Calendar that runs from January through December
- 12 One-Page Monthly Overviews with a Monday Start Day for Each Week (dated January 2016 to December 2016). Includes Check Lists for Personal and Work or School To-Do Lists.
- 96 Undated Daily Planning Pages (3 months of use): Scheduling from 6am to 9pm; Today, To-Do, Due, Dollars, Don’t Forget, Gratitude, Top 3 To-Do Prompts, Notes and more
- 12 Address Contact Pages
- 12 Phone Number Contact Pages
- 12 ‘Big To Do List” Pages with Columns for Work and School
- 12 Grid Dot Notes Pages
- 12 Expense Tracking Sheets
- 2016 and 2017 U.S. Holidays Listed by Date and Day of the Week
- Two Sticker Sheets with Tab Labels and Decorative Stickers
The company also notes that this edition was designed in the USA but produced in China.
The owner/title page of these inserts features attractive colors and gold-foil accents that add a more sophisticated appearance to the planner, appropriate for a business setting. Aside from the solid color dividers and tabs, all other pages are colorless. There are no plastic page protectors, page lifters, bookmarks, pouches, or any other accessories included with this planner.
Usefulness, then? For the writer or blogger looking for more space to schedule projects, interviews, blog posts or articles, etc. the one-day-per-page layout may be a plus. Those who prefer a planner with no color on the pages may also appreciate the simple, colorless design of these pages. More daily pages and other inserts are available from the Day Designer website.
This reviewer found the monthly pages too tiny in print and box size to be useful. A day-per-page gives more room to write; however, the page is broken up into several labeled sections that may or may not suit individual needs. For those who would like a guided organization to their days, the sections may prove helpful.
The aptly named Day Designer in A5 White Pebble provides a writer or blogger with a pretty, understated, and functional daily planner. The white binder can be used separately, or in conjunction with, Day Designer inserts, plain notes pages, or six-hole style inserts of one’s choice, making it more easily customizable than the spiral-bound version. Likewise, the Day Designer inserts may be used with Filofax or other six-ring binder systems.
This A5 planner cover with the starter set of inserts retails for $89.95 on the Day Designer website. The price may be prohibitive, especially for a white leatherette product that does not contain a full year’s worth of inserts and no accessories; however, the flexible uses of the planner may help justify the cost for some users, especially those seeking a pretty, solid white binder that they may wish to use for special occasions, spring and summer, or for a specific project.