When I reached out a couple of months ago asking what planners you were interested in seeing me review, a lot of people mentioned both the Day Designer by Whitney English and the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I’ve been hearing a lot about these two planners over the past year, so I picked up the 2015 releases of each to have a look. They’re quite similar in terms of design, size, and style, so I thought they would be perfect to not only review but also compare.
From first glance, both the Day Designer and Simplified Planner look very similar. They are both practically the same size and are constructed the same way with a heavy duty cardboard cover and an almost identical double brass coil. They even both share matching gold corner protectors. Both planners include two-page monthly spreads and day on a page calendars for 2015 with monthly tabs on the side. The calendars themselves are structured similarly with minor organizational differences, which I will explore more thoroughly in each planner. They also cost roughly the same. Let’s take a look at each planner separately to see what each design offers.
Day Designer by Whitney English
The Day Designer is designed by Whitney English, a creative entrepreneur who closed a successful wholesale stationery business back in 2012 to dedicate her attention to Day Designer and helping people organize their time and realize their goals with her Authenticate process. The 2015 Day Designer is her third edition. I picked out the limited edition gold stripe back in August when the planners first went on sale. While this cover is no longer available, there are eight other beautiful designs available right now. The Day Designer is primarily sold through Etsy and costs $59 plus shipping. The planner ships internationally, but be sure to check out their shipping policies about customs and import taxes before placing an international order.
The Day Designer arrived on my doorstep approximately one week after ordering. It came in a plastic overwrap and was also wrapped in decorative tissue with a velvet bow. The planner measures 9″wide (from the coil to the edge) x 9.25″ long x 1.25″ thick (at the coil). It weighs in at just over two pounds. It is constructed with a heavy duty cardboard cover that is coated to wipe clean. It is bound with a brass “Wire-O” binding. There are gold corner protectors for reinforcement. The interior of the planner is lined in a teal coated paper. There is a horizontal slip pocket on the interior of the front cover.
The planner pages are printed on 50 pound white paper. The Gold Stripe (shown) and Black Stripe January 2015 editions are printed on off-white French Paper Co. stock. There are eight worksheets included in the front of the planner, which are designed to “challenge the user to dig deep and uncover the important elements that are core to their personal brand.” Beyond that there is a two-page spread 2015 year-at-a-glance calendar for planning. There is also a 2016 planning calendar located in the back of the planner. The Day Designer is made in the USA.
The bulk of the planner is dedicated to twelve months of dated pages. The planner is divided by month, and includes monthly dividers on card stock with gold laminated tabs that stick out slightly along the long edge of the planner for easy reference. Each month begins with the two page monthly spread calendar, which is designed with minimal decoration to maximize space. The monthly calendar is clear and provides a lot of room to write. There is a small section on the top righthand side for monthly goal planning, as well as the Whitney English Authenticate Challenge on the bottom left to help guide you through the process. Purchase of this planner allows you access to monthly Authenticate Challenge worksheets and a year-long subscription to the exclusive private Day Designer planning community. Please note that holidays are not notated in the calendar.
The daily pages follow the monthly spreads. A page is dedicated for each weekday while weekends share a page. There is quite a bit of time management guidelines built into the design of the daily pages. The top of each weekday page includes a checklist for Today’s Top Three and smaller sections for Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don’t Forget. The bulk of the page is for the daily schedule broken down into two columns: the left column is a timed schedule from 5 AM to 9 PM and the right is for Other To-Do’s. There is a large margin on the bottom left of the weekday page for Download, which I am assuming is a place to brainstorm, and a smaller section just to the right of it for Daily Gratitude. The weekend page is split down the middle between the Saturday and Sunday schedule from 5 AM to 9 PM. The top margin of the weekend page differs slightly from the weekday design with a space for Fun Things To Do, What Worked, What Didn’t, Next Week, and Don’t Forget. There is still a large Download space in the bottom margin and a Weekly Gratitude box instead of a Daily one. The only decoration on all of the pages is an inspirational quote in small type on the very top of each page under the date.
Simplified Planner by Emily Ley
The Simplified Planner is designed buy Emily Ley, a self-taught designer who created her stationery and product brand to “help women focus on what matters most by building simplicity and joy intentionally into their lives.” Her business also includes specialized coaching and mentoring for designers. I believe the 2015 Simplified Planner is her fifth edition (although I couldn’t find anything to verify that). The evolution of Emily Ley’s design and concept for this planner is very interesting to follow on her blog. The current edition is available on her website in three designers, including Happy Stripe (shown), Navy Dot, and Pink Key and costs $58 plus shipping. All three designs are available in the daily format. She also offers a weekly edition in the Navy Dot design ($42). The planners are available internationally, but buyers are responsible for any customs or import taxes, which you can read more about here. Emily Ley also offers great free printables on her website.
My Simplified Planner arrived within a week of ordering. The planner comes packed in a plastic overwrap. It measures 8.75″ wide (from the coil to the edge) x 10″ long x 1.25″ thick (at the coil) and weighs in just shy of two pounds. Like the Day Designer, it is constructed from a heavy duty cardboard cover with protective gold corners. The design is vibrant with gold foil detailing. The surface is smooth but is not coated like the Day Designer. The planner is similarly bound with a double brass coil. The interior of the planner is lined in the brand’s signature navy and the front interior includes a slanted reinforced slip pocket.
The planner pages are printed on thick white paper (I don’t know the exact weight of the paper although it feels thicker than the Day Designer pages and I can use my felt tip pens on it without bleed through). The Simplified Planner is a bit simpler in design and organizational structure than the Day Designer. There are two worksheets in the front of the planner with guidelines for time management. It also includes a 2015 at a glance calendar, although there is no room to write. There is also a 2015 Bucket List checklist included. One of the most notable differences between this and the Day Designer is that the Simplified Planner comes with a built in gold elastic band. It is printed and bound in China.
Just like with the Day Designer, the bulk of the Simplified Planner is dedicated to twelve months of dated pages, starting in January 2015. Unlike the Day Designer, however, the Simplified Planner does not include monthly divides. The colorful monthly tabs are laminated and popped right onto the monthly spread calendar pages. The month on two pages spread is large, clear, and easy to navigate. There is a section for notes on the lefthand margin. A previous month and next month at a glance calendar is included on the top right margin as well as a small inspirational quote. Major US holidays are printed on the monthly calendar pages in a light grey banner. There is no 2016 planning or at a glance calendar included.
The daily pages follow a slightly simpler layout than the Day Designer as well with a few less bells and whistles in the layout. Each weekday is given a full page and the weekends share a page. The weekday pages are broken down into two major columns, with a large timed schedule section from 7 AM to 7 PM on the left. The right column is split between a checklist To Do section and smaller boxes for Notes and Dinner. There is a small inspirational quote included on the top right margin. The weekend page is split horizontally between Saturday and Sunday. Each day is given a Today scheduler with lined spaces for am, lunch, and pm as well as a smaller To Do checklist area. Saturday includes a Notes section and Sunday has a Weekly Prep checklist. There is space to write A Happy Memory From This Week as well as a small inspirational quote on the top left margin.
A Note About the Coil Binding
I find both of these planners to be beautiful, functional, and easy to use between their aesthetic and organizational designs. One thing to note, however, is that the brass coil binding that is almost identical on each planner is not extremely durable in my experience. Both planners came to me packaged well without visible damage to the shipping packages, and yet both planners exhibited signs of wear on the coil almost immediately after opening before actual use. The top and bottom coil seem particularly vulnerable. The state of the coil impacts how easy it is to open the planner and turn the pages. If I were carrying this planner around in a bag on a daily basis I would be very careful of how I pack and place it to protect the delicate coil. The only suggestion I have for each company to enhance their planners is to use a sturdier coil. For example, the spiral coil of my Erin Condren Life Planner is the most sturdy, durable, and well made one I have ever seen on a notebook style planner. If the Day Designer and Simplified Planner were constructed with something as sturdy, they would be flawlessly designed, in my opinion.
Check out my coordinating video if you’d like a closer look and to hear my thoughts on each planner:
I wanted to share the joy of these gorgeous planners, so I picked up two of each to give away to four of you. That’s right, there will be FOUR winners! The Day Designer vs Simplified Planner Giveaway will run until Friday, October 24, 2014 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open internationally. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. Two winners will receive a Gold Stripe Day Designer and two winners will receive a Happy Stripe Simplified Planner. You chose which planner you would like in the event that you win when you enter the giveaway.
You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog and post contact the winners directly through email. Good luck!
*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***
Congrats to the winners of the Day Designer vs Simplified Planner Giveaway
The Poll Results for *Which planner would you prefer in the event that you win?* out of 2226 entries:
Day Designer (1357) 61%
Simplified Planner (869) 39%
Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.
Both the Day Designer and Simplified Planner are gorgeous agendas expertly designed to help with time management. Even though they are quite similar in design, layout, and price, their differences lie in the details and it’s a personal preference that is the deciding factor in choosing between the two. I am so happy I was able to learn a bit more about the two amazing women who created these lovelies and look forward to seeing where their journeys take them and their brands. Check back next week for another planner comparison style review!
* All items shown, included the giveaway prizes, were purchased by me. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *