In the packages from Rhodia and EcoSystem that we were lucky enough to receive this fall, there were two semi-large/medium black planners. These are both the variety that start in the summer; so I have given these 6-8 weeks of testing (each!) personally. And now, I am having trouble deciding which to use for 2011(and the Daycraft models we’ll look at tomorrow don’t help the decision).
EcoSystem 2011 “Advisor“, flexible black cover.
This is a great (and green!) EcoSystem notebook, printed with the days of the week on the left and lined note pages on the right. The paper and binding are top-notch, and the entire book is eco-friendly to boot, featuring 100% post-consumer recycled paper, organic cotton elastic and bookmark, etc. There’s the usual information one finds in the beginning of a planner and a nice pocket in the back to boot. I’ve actually beat the heck out of this thing since early November, and it’s come out looking practically new. If you’ve had a Moleskine in the soft-cover variety that’s had the “moleskin” and cardstock cover materials separate, fear not. In my own experience at least, this flexible and matte cover is as tough as a hardcover. And I really like the tacky material of which it’s made.
The printing is nice and unobtrusive, and the binding is tight. Maybe I need to just crack it, but the binding was tight enough that this book’s biggest flaw (which is, to be sure, slight) is that it doesn’t sit quite as flatly on one’s desk as some other books do. Still, the elastic is snappy, and the bookmark is beefy. “2011″ is debossed in the upper right of the cover, and it’s classy-looking. This is definitely a planner that will last through the year intact.
In some ways, EcoSystem’s planner functions like a Moleskine, only, well, better. (I’ll talk more about that when we review the pocket “kiwi” EcoSystem book in the new year.) This might be worth mentioning for some Comrades: this book has the best moon cycle symbols I’ve seen. If you follow the moon (like I do), you might appreciate this. The fonts and inks are definitely a plush for this book.
Rhodia 2010-2011 Academic “Weekly Notebook“, black flexible cover.
This book is actually an academic (summer-summer) planner, but the 2011 model seems to have the same features. This Rhodia planner has the week on the left, and heavy graph lines on the right, on very very very white paper. The 6 x 9 inch dimensions render it rather large, but it’s actually very thin and carries well. It opens completely flatly on the table, all by itself. The elastic even “closes” into a straight line along the back cover when it’s open, helping it to both stay out of the way and help the book lay down well.
If there’s something I wasn’t crazy about regarding this book it’s that all the printing and graph lines are a little obtrusive and darkly-printed. One thing I always appreciated about Moleskines was that the printing inside was grey and out of the way. Using pencil, the heavy lines took some getting used to. This is probably a person thing, though. The colorful inks and well-planned fonts make up for it.
The Rhodia planner has great information about holidays around the world, not merely a mention that there is a holiday in a certain country on a certain day. It also has the best maps I have seen in a planner. We usually find one global map with timezones on it, sometimes even country outlines/labels. But the Rhodia has a total of seven pages of detailed maps! If maps and/or geography interest you, you might agree with me that this is a great thing. With the holiday listings and detailed maps, one might expect this planner to be unwieldy. But, as I mentioned, it’s thin and light and very portable. With the nice paper and great contents, don’t ask me how Rhodia pulled this off.