Writers write, including in their planners, agendas — whatever one calls one’s calendar where tracking to do lists and appointments takes paper form. An inexpensive option for a planner with lots of space to write (or decorate, if one is so inclined) is the “See It Bigger” set of planners.
Designed with large print for those whose eyes have become weary of, or over-strained with, small print, the design also allows more space to write than traditional ring-bound, spiral, or sewn-bound planners. The amount of white space, in fact, may surprise some users but perhaps delight writers and/or decorators. What is printed is large, bold, clean, and fairly sparse. However, what is included can be helpful in scheduling one’s work or personal events or perhaps writing a few lines of poetry or prose each day.
The series of planners is available in different sizes from pocket to 8-1/2″ by 11.” This review will focus on a sewn-bound, 7″ x 9″ (approximately an “A5” size) 2016 Monthly/Weekly planner purchased recently at Wal-Mart for a discount price of approximately $8. Unfortunately, the website listed for the parent company (planaheadnow.com) appears to be old or out of service. Amazon.com does feature some “See It Bigger”products.
This planner comes in at least two colors of leatherette material — plain navy blue and fuchsia — the one reviewed here is the fuchsia shade. The planner measures 7-3/4″ x 9.5.” Inside both the front and back covers is a colorful image of large flowers in fuchsia, gray, orange, and green.
Paging from the front, the planner begins with a “letter” from the CEO of Plan Ahead, who describes his reasoning for producing the “See it Bigger” line. On the next page appears space to write “Personal Information” that includes personal contact information, the same for one’s company, and an “ICE” — in case of emergency section. Four more pages come after that for “Important Contacts” information — these include “Medical” contacts listed as doctors, dentist, and hospital; “Financial” contacts follow with banks, credit card, accountant, and lawyer information. The next page includes “Insurance” contacts for auto, homeowner, life, mortgage, and disability companies. Finally, “Household” contacts include spaces to write in information for electricity, gas, water, cable, trash, alarm, and heating/air conditioning services.
Since this calendar comes with three “extra” months (October, November, December of 2015), a full 2015 calendar in large print over two pages follows the contacts pages. This calendar is followed not only by the full 2016 calendar in large print over two pages but also the same thing for 2017.
A unique feature of this planner is the “Holidays” section. Holidays listed include American, Canadian, and Mexican days for both 2016 and 2017. Not only is the date listed, however, but also the day of the week. If one wants to know, for example, for future planning, what day of the week July 4th is both this year and next, this listing will tell you — in 2016, it falls on Monday, and in 2017, on Tuesday.
Following this section is an “Events” section spread over two pages. All 12 months, all undated by year, appear here in a horizontal lay-out with faint gray lines.
The first monthly layout, spread over two pages, follows next. The design is large-print, clean, and with lines for notes vertically along one side. A fuchsia cross-hatch design appears across the top of each page in the planner. Horizontal dividing lines on many pages other than the month pages are also in a fuchsia color.
The weekly layout may please those who think, and prefer to jot notes, “horizontally.” Five light gray lines rule a horizontal layout on the weekly pages for each month. The week runs Monday through Sunday with Monday spaced on the top left, Friday on the top right, and a notes section on the bottom right, creating an even 8-section layout for each spread. All the weeks are laid out this way.
At the end of the last week of the month, there is not an extra notes or decorative page to separate the months; the monthly spread for the following month immediately follows. The weekly spreads are continuous — that is, if the first day of the month would appear in a week spread before it, it is not repeated in the weekly spread following the month page.
U.S., Canadian, and Mexican holidays are designated throughout the calendar in black print. The calendar section ends with the weekly spread of Monday, December 26, 2016 to Sunday, January 1, 2017.
Ten pages of ruled note paper follow the calendar section of the planner. Following that are 12 pages of “Contacts” spaces. Ending the planner are nine pages of “Password” information that include spaces to record website, login, password, and notes. This section would likely need to be kept confidential for most users, so where the planner is stored when not in use could be important if this section is filled out.
This inexpensive planner comes with a single matching satin ribbon for marking one’s place. A pen test of a Bic fine point, Pentel R.S.V.P. fine point, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, and Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine showed some ghosting, with bleed-through starting a little with the V5. Impressions on the paper, even when writing lightly for the pen test, however, were quite pronounced on the other side of the page. For a planner at this price point from a discount store, one would perhaps not expect especially fine paper. The paper is white, not cream or ivory.
What the planner offers a writer is a couple of things. The large, bold print may be helpful for those whose eyes could benefit from that. Many writers spend hours reading reference books or other very small print source material, or they may work long days at computer screens where their eyes become strained.
Some writers or other planner users may also appreciate the page design that allows lots of white space for writing, drawing, or decorating. The price point, too, makes this a possible option for those who are considering a more expensive planning system but want to test the waters of planner designs first, or for those who may want to use the calendar for a designated, limited purpose, such as a single project, etc. and not as their main personal or work agenda.