Somewhat ahead of Christmas, I was looking at the Quo Vadis blog, when an offer was made to send out free planners of various sorts for comment. The acquisitive part of me cried out, “Free stuff! Grab it!” and contrary to my usual policy of ignoring that particular internal voice, I acted upon it. On 14 December, I found in the mail (and subsequently mentioned here) a Quo Vadis Business weekly planner. The time since then has been punctuated with me looking at it, pondering it, and calling myself a lazy lump. It’s long since time for the review.
I come at writing a review of a planner much as I would to flying an airplane—it’s something I know the theory of, and have even seen done, but I’ve no real experience in it. There are a couple of connected fields that I do feel qualified to comment in, and that will form the meat here.
First, I come at it from the direction of the fountain pen
looney fancier. Is it a good bet for a person who uses a sensible writing instrument? To answer this, I attacked it with a variety of pens and several inks. Two of my most penetrating inks went into two rather damp and flexible pens. When exposed to Herbin’s Lis de Thé and Terre de Feu, the paper in this planner conducted itself quite well, with never a sign of feathering or bleed-through. There is some showing through on the far side of the page, but no more than is evident from the teal and grey print. The paper is thin, which is useful as far as keeping thickness of the book managable, and there’s a limit to its opacity. If you’re extremely intolerant of seeing a hint of what’s on the next page, you may not like this planner.
Another very minor issue stemming from the thinness of the paper is drying time. Where the ink went on thickest took rather an age to dry, I assume because there was no depth of paper to absorb it. This is good on the bleed-through front, but sub-optimal in the direction of just dashing down a quick note—however, in mitigation, I will mention that I was using wet, flexible pens when this showed as an issue. At full flex, I was leaving absolute puddles on the page. More restrained and modernly stiff pens with non-exotic inks (including Herbin) dry briskly, and once down I note with some glee are rather less likely to smear or transfer than is ball-point goo. The paper reacted well to the points of all pens attempted upon it, too– no hint of scratching, even with an elderly pen almost innocent of tipping.
My other angle of attack is that of a book-binder. In short, I like it. It’s composed of sewn signatures in a hollow-back format—not my favorite, but reasonably durable, and given to lying flat once the spine has been properly exercised. The pattern of the stitching in the middle of each signature is suggestive of being sewn on tapes, although a non-destructive peeling away of the covers gives me to think that there aren’t tapes in there. I’m not sure what exactly is in there, as there’s a thickish paper spine reinforcement that comes up under the end-papers. Tapes or not, it’s a sturdy construction.
The boards are a medium-weight cardboard with a very convincing leatherlike material fitted on as the cover. It’s not entirely inflexible, but it’s stiff enough to act as a support for palm-top writing… for a fountain pen, at least. The backboard is fitted with a bellows-style pocket for flinging mementos into—mine currently holds the card of the all-giving Karen of Exaclair, through whose largesse I have the item under consideration. There is also on the outside of the back an elastic cord, as is becoming de rigeur for pocket-books like this. Once again, there is an air of sturdiness to this book that pleases me– it doesn’t come across as anyone said “Hey, it has to last a year at most, right?” I should very much like to get a notebook of a similar sort.
As far as the content layout goes… well, it’s a weekly planner, all right. I have no real basis for comment, so I’ll just say it looks like you could plan your week quite nicely in it. The 10cm X 15cm size is good for sliding into a suit-jacket’s inner pocket, but I suspect people with lots of planning to do (a wedding, a prospectus, and plot to destroy the moon, all in the same month!) might find the week spread over two pages a little confining. For people like me, for whom weekly planning involves taking the garbage out once, it’s fine. For mariners and werewolves, the phases of the moon are indicated, and some of the more idiosyncratic regional holidays are also mentioned.
Today’s Pen, planned ahead: Parker Duofold Senior
Today’s Ink, spur of the moment: Lamy blue-black