The wonderful folks at Exaclair have sent out some items to review. I was a lucky recipient of a few of them, so in the coming posts, I’ll be sharing with you some of their wonderful items for sale. I will be sure to mention both the good and the bad, and in doing so, I hope to entice you to try them out for yourself. [Because I know you'll be coming back to thank me if you do!]
This first review has a time-constraint- in that it is a planner review. Equology is a new eco-friendly planner that Quo Vadis has just started offering. The recycled content list is quite impressive- 88% recycled materials, and 100% post-consumer recycled paper. It’s certified, processed chlorine free, and FSC recycled. Heck, it’s even manufactured using biogas! This isn’t the end of the impressive details- read on to hear my experience using it with Fountain Pens! [recycled paper shrieks in terror here]
When I saw the opportunity to grab one of these planners to review, I jumped at it. Why? Because as a fountain-pen user, I frequently am struggling with the quality of paper used in various books (planners being one of those that sticks with you for a year). My experience has been, quite simply, horrible with recycled papers. For some reason, the majority of recycled paper manufacturers just can’t make a paper that takes fountain-pen ink to save their lives. If there ever was a company that could, I bet that Quo Vadis could.
But, first, let’s talk about the planner. I have the Minister, which is 6.25 x 9.5 inches large. I find for me this is a great size- open it provides close to a full page (8.5×11). When closed it’s a smaller size that I can carry with me almost everywhere (at least where I’d carry a textbook or a Moleskine (speaking of which, I hope to have a new review up soon- I’m no longer a Moleskine lover).
When I first held the Equology planner the first thing I noticed was the texture of the cover. The best way I can describe it, although this isn’t perfect, is a tight suede feel. It’s not the same as suede at all, but just like how suede wants to be touched, so does this great cover! And it’s held up to knocking around in my bag for a month now without a single problem. Seems to be tough!
The other wonderful thing about the Minister is that when it’s opened fully, it gives you a full week view and yet still has space for priorities and notes around the full week. In fact, fully open, it’s darned close to the old Stephen Covey Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’s planner I used to swear by. Covey had a number of things right in that planner, and I see them mirrored here. In particular, the ability to see your full week at a glance gives you the opportunities to plan ahead. If I so much as have my head down for a half-hour in my work, I forget what I need to put in my bag at 4:30 for the evening or next morning’s work. So, that full-week view is a great reminder of up-coming meetings and deadlines.
Quo Vadis was also smart- they didn’t place rigid lines everywhere on the page. They removed some of the ink and placed dash-marks for the times through the day- this really helps free up the user to write across the time-blocks as needed, and is more pleasing to the eye.
But, how does it take ink? That’s a wonderful question- I have only a few inks at hand to test, but I’ve tested them in a few different pens. In specific, I have tested the pages with: A dry Parker “51″ with Noodler’s Legal Lapis, Lamy Safari F with Polar Black, Pelikan m400 F with Fountain Pen Network requested Noodler’s Galileo Manuscript Brown, and a Lamy Safari 1.5mm stub using J. Herbin Poussière De Lune. Ok, first the bad news- there is slight feathering on the wetter nibs. The good news? The feathering is completely tolerable- if you don’t use a crazy wet writer, you’re going to find yourself in fairly good shape! Which is quite a feat for a 100% post-consumer paper. My hat is off to Quo Vadis! I was shocked when the ink didn’t bleed right into the page and out the back!
Interestingly, the J. Herbin ink seems to work quite well, even with a 1.5mm stub-nib. There is very slight see-through (the scanner can’t even pick it up), and feathering is minimal.
You can see the lack of see-through on the right-hand image (look between times 2pm and 5pm- these two are front and back images). So, if you use J. Herbin ink, you will enjoy Equology, the ink I’ve tried has worked very well on those pages. For those of you who like inks that have serious nib-creep (like Noodler’s Polar Black and Legal Lapis etc.) you may notice some slight feathering and slight see through. Remember, though, this isn’t paper made exclusively for fountain-pens! This is serious eco-friendly paper here, and it’s taking ink quite well.
Other aspects of the planners are the same great options found on many Quo Vadis planners… the rip-off corners to find the current date quickly, and the fantastic sewn spine! This is excellent- this is not a gime-store stapled or glued binding- this is a sewn signature binding, and the planner lays flat on the desk. Excellent!
Finally, on a personal note- I’ve been through many attempts at using planners, many different methods both lo-fi and hi-fi. The Equology has come closest to what I want in a planner, so I’m very happy I’ve found it. There’s enough space I can lay down tasks for the week that must be accomplished, and if I wish, I can accommodate the Covey Roles & Goals, or the GTD Context methods (Equology actually has context boxes for @Phone, @Email along with See-Do (todos) Pay-Receive and Notes. A three month mini calendar sits atop each week to show you the coming months, even the days from Jan1 to Dec 31st are listed for each day. I haven’t even touched on the Contacts booklet that slides into the back cover (use-able the next year also) or the great info and maps in the front and back matter. For those of you who like yearly planning, there is also a yearly planner page for both 2010 and 2011.
I’m very glad I got the chance to review the Equology Minister planner, as I couldn’t do ink-tests in store and frequently was passing by the shelf of planners on my way to the registers, never giving the planner a good batch of time to review its features. Now that I have, I’m hooked.
Quo Vadis Planners are available in many stores near you, click below to find a store near you or online: