Planning a Planner, Part V October 01, 2015 10:00

This week we're wrapping up the final installment of our Planning a Planner series.  To get the whole story from the beginning, check out Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.  We almost can't believe that all of our planning, designing, checking, back checking, changing, and printing is soon to be complete.  You know the feeling of being really really excited for something, but having to wait for it?  Like a really great vacation, or having a baby, or 5:00 on a Friday?  Well our really exciting thing is knocking on our door and we are so excited to be able to share it with you all.

Last week we showed a sneak peek of the weekly layout for the planner, and some of the changes that we made from our initial design to the final.  The differences described last week to the weekly layout were definitely the biggest changes we made, but we wanted to let you in on another secret:  the planner is full of spaces for jotting down notes, lists, goals, sketches, meeting minutes, daily thoughts, etc. Our focus group found these spaces to be essential for using the planner to do more than recording daily events.  The sizes of spaces vary and are tucked away on month and week layouts, but also are reserved on entire sheets at the end of each month.  I have a personal accolade for these extra spaces.  Have you ever tried to get a passport photo taken of a 2 year old?  If you haven't, let me tell you - it is one of the worst experiences in life.  We constantly needed to take breaks and 'reset' in order to stop crying (both of us) or to work up courage to be near the scary camera again.  During these breaks, my daughter would happily color on the blank pages of my planner.  (In the end, it took 3 different locations and 4 different photo sessions, but we finally got a photo that was acceptable.  Save yourself the trouble and take domestic vacations!)  In our final product, most of the 'extra' pages are graph paper which our focus group also overwhelmingly preferred.

One of our biggest goals is versatility, so in areas where there could have been a title, nine times out of ten we would eliminate it.  We tried to keep things as fluid as possible so that this planner would work just as well for the stay at home mom juggling schedules as it would for the college student as it would for the person working multiple jobs.  

We debated the cover quite a bit.  Most planners out today are flashy or colorful or patterned, but we decided to take a simpler approach, going back to a couple of our core values of simplicity and versatility.  We wanted both men and women to be comfortable carrying this, and for it to be appropriate for client meetings or planning to throw a party.  We didn't want to go 100% plain, and so we enlisted the work of the fabulously talented Andrea and Joe of The Laughing Owl Press Company.  They letterpress printed our custom covers and they are really beautiful.  Without further ado, we present the first look at our 2016 planner covers!

 
 Image courtesy of The Laughing Owl Press Co

During this whole process, we realized just how picky we actually are.  We looked extensively at types of paper, thicknesses and weights, trying to balance having a durable paper that wouldn't make a 3" thick planner that weighed 10 pounds, but would be more than sufficient to not cause bleed through.  We reviewed binding options, colors and sizes.  We debated the paper type and style of the folder, the tabs, the printing on the tabs.  We reviewed proofs with a magnifying glass and spent too many hours with the printer discussing the perfect lineweight and the perfect grey for text.  We endured our husbands thinking we were insane for not approving something that was 99% perfect but not 100% perfect.  We worked a lot of late nights and probably thoroughly annoyed our ever patient printer by delaying our deadlines just to make sure that everything we were doing was exactly how we wanted it.  

We are excited.  We're excited to use these planners, share them with you, and see what you think of them.  We'll be updating our website just as soon as we can with all information regarding how you can order a planner of your own.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or just want to talk about planning or how you don't think we're crazy for wanting this to be the best it can be, we welcome your comments.