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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest post: Christine reviews the Quo Vadis Equology President weekly planner

Here is another excellent guest post from Christine, about her Quo Vadis Equology President weekly planner with 100% recycled paper. I love her creative use of color on her weekly pages!!

Here's Christine!  (Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)

An Ode to Mr. President

Thanks to Leah and Karen from Exaclair, the Quo Vadis President of the Equology line is my main planner companion in 2011. Despite some initial apprehension about its large format (well, I got what I asked for!), the President quickly turned out to be exactly what I needed. I carry it (may I say, him?) everywhere, often with some papers tucked into it. The format (8 1/4 by 10 3/4 inches, or 21 by 27 cm) is just too small to fully cover a 8.5 by 11 inch paper, but it’s still useful for documents that don’t mind dog ears, or smaller papers and standard envelopes. Mr. President weighs 544 grams but strangely he feels much lighter to me. I used to use an Ecojot planner that weighed slightly less but seemed so heavy that I rarely carried it with me. So maybe it’s simply all the great features of the President that make its weight insignificant.
The Equology cover is made from recycled plastic and feels, as Leah put it, pleasantly similar to a cat’s tongue. The inside cover page lists its main features, such as being a 13-month planner starting in December.

What follows is a “Personal Notes” section for only the most relevant information (unlike a certain popular planner line that demands your credit card number!). I like the bottom section describing how to best use your planner. 
Next page covers “International Telephone Access Codes”, which again has added how-to information guiding you through some specifics of making international calls.

Next, a full page provides “Minimum and Maximum Monthly Average Temperatures In the World” for 46 major global cities.
This is followed by a “Chart of International Holidays” for 31 countries.

The next two pages are a monthly planner for 2011, highlighting Sundays and holidays in the US, Canada and UK. Each day provides about one inch in length of blank space.
Then the weekly planning portion begins, with late November / early December 2010 in my case. The pages are set up to display vertical columns from Monday through Saturday, while Sunday is a horizontal box along the bottom of both pages. The edge of the right page features 5 boxes with symbols for the following information: Phone, Internet/Email, Payments, and 2 boxes for Notes (one of them could be used for random notes, and the other for written projects, for example). Each space is 4.2 by 10.5 cm, or approximately 1.5 by 4 inches, with the bottom space being 6 by 10.5 cm.
Each daily column lists the number of the day as well as the number of remaining days in the year (for example, November 29: 333-32), something I appreciate and haven’t seen in other planners so far.

The top of the column provides a priority box, which I use for lists whenever there’s nothing pressing to do that day. The day is timed from 8 am to 9 pm at half-hour intervals and lines at each full hour (a little less than 2 inches, or 4.3 cm to be exact!). I love the fact that this saves space for writing, as I only need to circle the times I have appointments or meetings. Have a date from 3 to 5 pm? Simply circle both times and connect them with a line. Perfect for the more visual ones of us.

The upper right corner displays the week we are in (such as, “48th week”) and three mini monthly calendars: last month’s, the current month, and next month’s. These tiny calendars are not for notes (which might be overkill) but simply for reference.

Replacing the ribbon common to many planners, the bottom-right perforated corners allow for the quick locating of the current week. Personally, I prefer tearing off the corners over a ribbon, which I’ve often found cumbersome and dangerous for my string-addicted cat.

***Edited to add a real-life example of weekly pages, click on the photo for a larger view to see the details:

The Equology paper: the Quo Vadis website states the recycled paper weight to be 89 grams, as opposed to 90 grams for its standard non-recycled paper. When seeking the most sustainable paper products available, it is important to look for a high percentage of “post-consumer” recycled content, as this process literally recycles paper from households and businesses rather than only using paper factory trimmings. Since recycled paper, especially given the choice, is very important to me, I can’t speak to the quality difference between this paper and the kind used in the conventional Quo Vadis line, which I’ve never tried. Not that I care, because I am perfectly content with the thick Equology paper that works well for my writings and drawings. For the most finicky ones who are curious: one side is slightly smoother than the other, which however had no effect on my fountain pen experiment: Some people state to experience problems using fountain pens on recycled paper (note that there are different degrees of quality, as with regular paper). I bought some ink and tested it with my 23-year-old fountain pen. I had absolutely no issues with it, and I’m not just saying this due to being ‘environmentally biased’.

One thing I love about the large format is the space it allows for drawings. I’ve had so much fun personalizing this planner that I could easily fill up the pages until July. Drawing with markers has the disadvantage of slightly bleeding through on the other side of the paper. For this reason I’ve only drawn on every second week of the planner.

Following the main planner section, a monthly calendar of January next year covers two pages with 3.7 by 4.3 cm boxes, and a 7 by 23 cm Notes section along the right edge.

The next two pages show a monthly calendar of next year in the same way as the current year at the beginning of the planner, with the addition of monthly priority fields.
Then come the maps: World Time Zones, North America, Canada, USA, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and Africa, followed by a ruled Notes page.

Two receipts and payments pages each cover the next four pages, providing space for each day of the year.
 The last page is a small monthly calendar overview of the previous, current and following year.
Last but not least, the removable address booklet features a full notes page and contact info table from A to Z.

If you are looking for a 100% post-consumer recycled paper planner with a multitude of useful features and a larger format than most out there, Mr. President will reliably be at your service. 

Many thanks again to Christine for this excellent review!


  1. Wow, I love what Christine had done to the pages, this is so beautiful! The paper quality of the Quo Vadis must be outstanding to be able to take so much colour. It sure looks like you have tons of fun with this planner! Can we see some filled in/used pages later on?

  2. Christine is unable to post comments on my blog (sorry Christine!!) and asked me to post this comment on her behalf, which I am very happy to do:

    "Thank you so much, Jotje!! It is SOOO much fun to draw with markers, the more colour shades the better! I get high on it (and they're scented, maybe that's why!)! I know that coloured pencils would be more ecological, and I use them too, but the feeling of seeing the ink come out of a good marker is almost like eating chocolate, maybe for some women like applying make-up! :-) I highly recommend the 18-pack Mr. Sketch (not enough colours though if you ask me); they draw fantastic and smell really good! For example, lilac smells like cotton candy! Stabilo fineliners are my other favourites. And yes, the Equology paper is awesome - regular pen and even my fountain pen do not bleed through (the heart did because I kept taking a photo of the scene due to blurring, and my pen kept pressing on the heart). I can absolutely supply some filled pages at some point, but they'll be rather boring. For this reason I thought I'd write a review of my Moleskine visual journal; it's mostly drawings."

  3. Jotje your wish has been granted! Christine kindly sent me a photo of a week in action, and I edited the post to include the photo.

    Thank you Christine!

  4. For Christine - If you are afrer a decent set of markers that will not bleed try the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Markers. Come is 48 colours, pricy, but worth it. Sold in singles too so that you can buy just one and try it first.

  5. Correction (better late than never): The plastic used even in the Equology covers is, just like that of virtually all planners out there, made from Poly-Vinyl-Chloride (PVC), the most toxic plastic in existence, from production through its use and disposal. I finally obtained this information from Carol who works at the Canadian distributor for Quo Vadis.

    In the remote event that someone will read this post (nevermind from Toronto where I live): I'm currently collecting any Quo Vadis planner covers to return them to the company in France as a statement against the production and sale of PVC. So if anyone is willing to give me their covers, in any condition, I'd be happy to accept them for this purpose.

    A good documentary about the subject of PVC is US-made and award-winning "Blue Vinyl".

    There are plenty of alternatives (e.g. latex, #5 plastic, or paper-based covers) out there, but people must ask for them and refuse to buy PVC (just like we'd refuse to buy asbestos, once as popular as PVC today).

    Note that so far I haven't come across a municipality anywhere that recycles PVC.


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