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'Pick Your Planner' Edition 1: What makes a good planner?

'Pick Your Planner' Edition 1: What makes a good planner?

Welcome to the Pick Your Planner Series, where we’ll be guiding you through our various planners to help you decide which one(s) will work best for you in 2024. They’re each designed to support you with different ‘modes’ of planning. You may find you’d like to build a little system that works for you, with several tools working together, or you may find that one of them ticks all your boxes.

To kick things off, we'll go through what we feel are the essentials that make a really good planner (and which we try to make sure all of the Mark+Fold planners have).  Then we'll take you through a deep-dive of each Mark+Fold planner, for those of you who really like to do your research when making such an important stationery purchase!


So what makes a good planner?

As life-long stationery lovers, we have given this a great deal of thought over the years, and in conversation with loyal Mark+Folders, have come up with the following key elements:

1. A clear picture of the week / month / year
We like to be able to glance at our planner and get a quick overview in just a few seconds. This might be a view of the week on our Week Planner or Diary, a view of the Month in our Monthly Planner, or it might be a snapshot of the entire year on the Wall Planner. Either way, it needs to show you whether July starts on a Tuesday, how many weeks are in April, whether it's a leap year, etc.

To some extent, all planners attempt to do this, but as we all know there are many poorly-designed planners out there! When it's done well, it acts as a visual cue to help you remember what your week (or month or year) 'looks like' in your head. For example, when we create a week-view, we will subtly differentiate the weekend, because generally speaking we all do different things on weekdays vs. weekends and this helps firm up the 'visual picture of the week.'



2. Boxes that inspire you to write in them
This may seem obvious, but there is a real difference between writing on a blank page, and writing into some kind of structure on that page. Whilst we never include explicit prompts like "weekly goals" or "to do list" we do provide some outlines — a series of boxes, lines, dots, which act as a sort of scaffolding to help organise your notes and prompt satisfying, clear planning.

At Mark+Fold, we spend time on every little detail, from the margin sizes and amount of white space, to the finer details of the typography. Our design team have been known to spend hours (literally!) discussing the subtle differences between a 0.1pt dotted line and a 0.2pt dashed line! The attention to detail can sometimes border on madness!

And if you're not a graphic designer yourself, then we'd like you to look at the page and simply feel intuitively like this works for you. We'd like it to instil a sense of calm reassurance, airiness and clarity, to hopefully inspire you to feel organised and excited to start writing in your new planner.

Wall Planner by Mark+Fold

3. An. experience that feels good
When you write on good paper with a nice pen or pencil, it lends a certain gravitas to your plans. When you have a diary that feels good to use, you can look forward to sitting down with it to firm up your plans and feel one step ahead.

You'll feel this in the quality of the paper we use (both in its smoothness, and its opacity so your ink won't bleed through). You'll also notice our thread-sewn cold-glue binding which makes the book feel reassuringly well-made and robust, whilst being satisfyingly flexible and 'floppy.' It lays open flat for writing and closes again, just as a properly bound book ought to do.

Final thoughts

This empty vessel which on on 1st January is full of promise and opportunity, will transform during the year into a document of how you spent your time, the places you visited and the people you chose to spend your time with. That deserves to be a beautiful object.




Thanks for reading this first edition of the 2024 Pick your Planner Series, we hope you’ve found it useful. The next edition will focus on: The Mark+Fold Week-view Diary

You can browse all our Diaries + Planners here

As always, we love to hear your feedback and suggestions, or to see pictures of your planners in their natural habitat, filled with notes! So please do share and tag us #mymarkandfold @markandfold.