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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guest post from Mstraat: Graphic Image weekly notebook review

Many thanks to Mstraat for this excellent review of the Graphic Image weekly notebook!!  I'd never seen details of this planner before so I was very interested to read her review and see her excellent photos.

This is my 2012 Graphic Image Notebook in lime leather. The actual color is a nice, soft avocado and has worn well. I am not careful with my planner as it goes everywhere with me! The page edges are gilded, there is a cream ribbon marker, and the paper is a cream color. There is a note in the back page that the paper comes from “responsibly managed forests”, and “all materials in this book meet established criteria for their preservation for several hundred years” under normal use and storage. It is published and bound in the U.S. This planner measures 5 ¼” x 7 ¼” and is ¾” thick so it is portable. The photo shows a comparison with a Large Moleskine Daily.

The endpapers are yearly overviews, with 2011 on the front left, 2012 front right and back left, and 2013 back right. There are 248 pages and a table of contents at the front, as the pages (besides the diary and maps) are numbered. The first 13 pages include five-language common phrases (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and U. S. and international holiday lists. 

The diary section begins with 2-page monthly grids for December 2011 through January 2013.  There is an overview of the previous month and next five months to the left. The grid “squares” measure 1 2/8” wide by 1 3/8” tall and are faintly lined, a very nice feature. Holidays for the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are printed at the bottom of the squares.

The monthly spreads are followed by a week + notes format for mid-December 2011 through mid-January 2013. 

The left-hand page has the month at the top and then horizontal spaces for the days, with the date and weekday name in each. There is a darker rule between days and faint-ruled lines in each day, with a break in the center of the lines so they may be used either as columns or written straight across. The lines are spaced at 6 mm, with four per weekday and three for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday share the space at the bottom, which was a disappointment to me. The photo on the website when I ordered showed Saturday at the bottom of this page, and Sunday at the bottom of the right-hand page. So the weekend days have very small spaces. The right-hand page has the month and day numbers at the top right with the week number underneath. There are then faint-ruled lines able to be used as columns, with 24 lines if you count the dark rule at the bottom. Under this line (which, alas, used to be Sunday. . .) there are monthly overviews for the previous, current and two following months.

The final diary section is an overview for 2013 with two months per page, one column for each.  There are 29 lines so if you wanted a day per line you would need to use the space below the last line.

Page 164 begins a “Travel Information” section, including air distances, weather, time zones and weights and measures. The “Contact Information” section begins page 172 with dialing codes. There are then 13 pages for your own contacts; I assumed this was intended for two letters per page and added the letters at the top corners.

Next is a page and a bit for birthdays and anniversaries, with printed charts of traditional gifts, birthstones and so on.

There follow four pages for recording hotel and restaurant details, which I am using for book lists. 

Pages 196 through 210 are lined pages for notes—this is an outstanding feature to me!—and then page 211 is for personal data, which seems an odd spot for this even if it were wise to fill out, which it isn’t. The final section is several pages of beautiful full-color world maps, with several major cities and even the London Underground and New York Subway included.

So how did this planner work for me? “Did” is the operative word. I preferred it to the weekly Moleskine, partly because the paper was heavier and partly because it is much more aesthetically pleasing. The monthly calendars and week + notes pages provide more writing room than the personal-sized Filofax though the book is smaller and easier to carry. I found work arounds for several annoyances:  There is no closure, but a stretchy headband works for that and also solved the problem of no pen holder as I tucked the pen under the headband. Since the book is bound I needed a spot for disposable shopping lists, so I stuck some 4” x 6” lined sticky notes inside the front cover. It surprised me to find I missed my Filofax ruler, not so much for measuring but for using as a straightedge to draw lines, so a few times I used the edge of an envelope or some such. I did miss having a Moleskine back pocket as I had nowhere to put the stickers I use to mark details on the monthly grids. I also found I missed having moon phases on the calendar, though the weekly pages have the equinoxes and solstices.

The paper is very nice for writing and a bit heavier than Moleskine but still not good for very liquid ink, which I like to use. See the photo for ink test results. The Uni Ball Vision Elite bled through. 

And I do confess to liking white paper best in planners, though this paper is a nice shade of cream. Honestly the printed information and maps are not at all useful to me as I don’t travel; more lined notes pages would have been my preference. But the deal-breaker for me was the size of the weekend days. They are just too small to work for me. I adapted by using the left column on the notes page for weekly to dos, the bottom right for info I might need to find later, and the right column for my weekend days. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the day spaces, in my mind; I want weekly things on the right page and daily things on the day spaces. I’ve moved on to another experiment as right now practicality trumps sheer beauty for my planning needs.


  1. A very nice planner and an excellent review! But yes, nothing annoys me more than a planner that has smaller spaces for the weekend. When will companies understand that the vast majority of people need the same, if not more, space for the weekend?!

    I love the idea of having a notes page opposite the weekly page. I'm about to start trailling this in my pocket Filofax. I'm currently using a compact and really love it, but it's so heavy in my bag!

  2. One of the perks of the GI notebook was the archival-quality paper. My brother just emailed me this link to an article on the chemistry of "old book smell" and thought it might be of interest:

    1. Wow thanks for that article, very interesting!

  3. I'm very different when it comes to weekend. I like smaller spaces without times. I actually love the format of this. I'm currently using a Quo Vadis Minister but the entire column for Saturday is useless to me and I don't like the times. I also don't use any of the reminders on the right side of the book because I prefer to keep a separate 'To Do' list. I just wish Graphic Image wasn't so expensive!

  4. Do you all know of any planners with a similar format, nice paper, and is a bound book? I really like the extra lines if I want to make an appointment on the half hour. Thanks!

    1. Becky the Quo Vadis Space 24 and Space 17 have similar formats and excellent paper:



  5. Sorry, Laurie! I meant similar format to the minister and the vertical apoointment style of this book. :)

  6. Sorry, Laurie! I meant similar to the minister! :)

  7. Hi Becky, if you can wait a couple of months for the 2013 Plannerisms planners to come out, they will have vertical lined columns without times, and open space on the pages for lists and notes. They are still in production right now, but should be published soon!


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