Baron Fig provided this product at no charge for review.
Can you believe that it's time to start thinking about 2018 planners already? Yeah, well, it is. School is back in session and the 18 month planners have been on the shelves. In a matter of months, I'll be talking about the holidays and year-end stuff...it's amazing how fast 2017 has flown by.
This is my first crack at a Baron Fig planner. I didn't get one last year. It's also going to be a bit weird reviewing something I've yet to use. I fully plan on using this when the time comes, so I'm gonna do my best here.
First off, this has a charcoal cover, just like the Confidant. It is the Confidant size. The only thing that separates it from a Confidant, beyond the pages inside, is a blind embossing of the year 2018 in the bottom right corner of the cover, and the bookmark ribbon, which is grey instead of yellow. It's actually nice to have something similar, but I can see it being a problem as well. I carry a Confidant daily, so reaching into my bag and coming across both of these: I wonder how many times I'll grab the wrong one? Maybe it's time for me to switch to the light grey Confidant for daily use or for Baron Fig to come out with the colors like they did in the Vanguard? Hint hint...Fig Wine Confidant. Or dark green. Your choice, BF. (Dark green)
On the box, it says the first half of the pages are planner pages, the other half is dot grid. That's a bit of a stretch. There are 55 dot grid pages, which is hardly half of 192. These are standard Confidant paper, and work beautifully, the way Confidant paper does. I love that they've given us a good amount of note pages instead of just making the books smaller. I've seen more than a few planners with only 5-10 pages for notes.
The planner layout is interesting. Like many planners I've come across, the weekend draws the short straw. They start the week on Monday on both the Monthly and Weekly spreads. On the monthly spread, Saturday and Sunday share a square. I understand that you don't want the Wednesday or Thursday block (depending on where you start the week) spanning across the gutter, but it's a shame it has to be this way. Who designed the weeks for humanity? Seven days is asymmetrical! So Baron Fig did what they had to do concerning that, but it's a shame they couldn't find a better solution. I personally don't have much to plan on the weekends, but my friends with lives and kids probably do, and that's a small spot to put things in. Also, this is a truly international product: they don't list any holidays or anything, so your space is free to add your own events where you see fit.
The same goes for the Weekly spread. The left page is separated into M-T-W, the right into T-F-S/S. Saturday and Sunday share a rectangle. Here, however, I think there is a solution: Along the top of the whole planner section is a header. It is grey and basically dead space. I think they could've forgone the header on the right side and used that space for the weekend. The header is massive, taking up over 15% of the page. It wouldn't have been symmetrical, but in this case, I think function should've won out over form. Another nitpick, along the side of the page there is a small block that tells you which month you're in. It is a very light gray and is printed along the edge so you can see them when the book is closed (think address book). That's the idea, anyway, but unfortunately, it's so light that it gets lost in the shuffle and I can't really see it. I don't think it's old age and bad eyes as much as it's just not dark enough. They actually put 53 weeks in the book, because December 31, 2018 lands on a Monday, and so we get the first 6 days of January 2019 as well. That's a nice touch, instead of trying to cram that last day on a previous spread.
These are just initial thoughts without having put the book into practice yet. I've yet to decide if I'm going to use the book as a planner instead of Bullet Journaling or if I'm going to use it as an expanded Standard Memorandum. I often find myself needing more room in that little book, and this may be ideal for that purpose, especially if I decide to continue with the Bullet Journal method. I can't see myself needing both.
These things sell out very quickly, so if you're interested, don't delay! Also, I ended up with 2 of them, as I bought one before I heard Baron Fig was going to send one for review. So, once they've sold out, I plan on doing a giveaway. Details to come!
Available from Baron Fig, $22.