Review: Baron Fig Confidant Planner 2017

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Baron Fig Planner review

Choosing the Baron Fig planner

Baron Fig has become a well-established brand over the last couple of years.  Known for ‘tools for Thinkers designed with a philosophy of simplicity, usefulness and community’, we see whether the 2017 Baron Fig Planner stacks up to this expectation.


Baron Fig Planner review

Deciding on a planner for the year can be somewhat of a daunting task.  In theory, it is something that you will be locked into for the next 12-months, so choosing the right one is vital.  This year, I went with the 2017 Baron Fig Planner.  The Baron Fig Planner is based on the popular Confidant hardcover notebook and features a ‘common’ planner layout.

Based in Long Island, New York, Baron Fig has established itself as a brand that consistently produces simple and understated, yet high-quality goods.  Whilst Baron Fig is best known for their notebooks, they have also recently moved into writing instruments as well as continuing their line of apps.  Their latest creation is the ‘Codex’ app, which is a kind of mix between Bear and Evernote.

Whilst Codex is suited to the more digitally inclined population, the paper planner most defiantly suits us analogue folk.

Design of the planner  Baron Fig Planner review

Whilst, not something you come into contact with when using the planner every day, it must be noted that the packaging of the planner is very sharp.  The planner comes in a hardcover box, with a list of features printed on the back, as well as the intention of the product; “one year, one book. Use it as a datebook, task manager or a daily journal.  Your whole year, laid out in one well-designed book, make it yours – and make every day count.”  Whilst this may be a little over the top for a simple journal, I appreciate the intentions.

Baron Fig Planner review
The front of the box
Baron Fig Planner review
The back of the box

Upon lifting the lid of the Baron Fig Planner, you will be met with a calendar card (mine stays on my desk to keep track of days!) and the planner itself.

For those of you who have used the Baron Fig Confidant notebook, the planner should feel immediately familiar.  It is the same cloth-wrapped hardcover in the 5.4″ x 7.7″ size, just a shade smaller than A5.  This is a size that I have found to work really well in terms of both portability and usability.  Whilst shorter than the traditional A5 size, it maintains the width, which allows for a similar feeling writing space.

Baron Fig Planner review

I found the binding to be a tad stiff when first using the planner, however, after a little use, it easily opens flat with no signs of pressure on the spine.  Attached to the spine is a grey ribbon bookmark. It hasn’t frayed or lost shape yet so no complaints there!

The layout and page design Baron Fig Planner review

After a thicker stock for the first page, for what I assume is to be used for a picture or contact info, you are met with a January-December calendar across two pages.

 

Baron Fig Planner review
The year overview

 

Whilst I don’t use it a whole lot, it is sometimes useful to have a broad overview of the year.

After the calendar, there is a monthly overview.  This gives you a detailed look at the month and has space for events.  I generally include events that are some time away as well as birthdays and other important dates.  Unlike some other planners, this is kept completely clear of international holidays, so it gives you complete freedom to customise.

Baron Fig Planner review
The monthly overview

The planner then progresses into the weekly overview, where you do most of your writing.  It starts with the last week of December, before promptly moving into 2017.  The weekly layout (which starts with Monday, not Sunday), features a practical seven segment layout.  Monday to Friday are larger at 13cm across, whilst Saturday and Sunday take up half the space of the weekdays at 6.5cm across.  I am a fan of this layout as I never feel the need to plan out my weekends like I plan my weekdays.  Even when you do need to schedule in a busy weekend, there is still plenty of space to fit in events or tasks.

Baron Fig Planner review
The weekly layout

Whilst the weekly layout may have its positives, I have found that it doesn’t allow for overly meticulous planning.  I do still include events or meetings that will happen during the day, however, I have found it to be more effective as a productivity tracker.  This way, I have an itemised list to work on each day.

At the end of the planners 52-week section, we arrive at a section for notes.  The notes section features 53 pages of Baron Fig dot grid paper.  It is of the same quality as found in Baron Fig’s regular notebooks (which is a good thing!).

A feature I enjoy with the notes section are the perforated pages at the back. There are 12 pages which can easily be torn out to pass on.

Baron Fig Planner review
The last 12 pages are perforated

Performance of the Baron Fig Planner

At the core of the planner is the same 100gsm paper found in Baron Fig’s regular notebook line, The performance of the paper is akin to the design of the planner as a whole; simple and high quality.

The paper doesn’t quite match the gold standards of Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Tomoe River in terms of smoothness, however, it holds its own. There is no feathering and very little show through thanks to the heavy stock.

Baron Fig Planner review

As is well documented, the Baron Fig paper does have a distinct feedback to it. It is by no means unpleasant, it is almost fun to use!  Whilst it is a good stock, the pen doesn’t quite glide across the page like it might on Rhodia.

Baron Fig Planner review
Very little show through

Another great thing I have found with this planner is the apparent durability. This is something that will be carried around every day and I’m confident it is built well enough to take a few knocks. This will be found out for sure over the coming months, however, I feel no need to ‘baby’ it.

Baron Fig Planner review

Value

First off, I have to say, I think the 2017 Baron Fig Planner is very good value.  For $22 (USD) you get a smart looking, well-made planner, with some top-notch paper to boot.  This price point puts it in direct competition with the famous Moleskine planner, and for me, this wins hands down.  The planner is a $4 increase over the Confidant notebook, however, when you consider all the different sections and the lower volume of manufacturing, this is a price I’m happy to pay.

Baron Fig Planner review
Accidents happen…

Wrap up

The Baron Fig Planner will (I hope) be something I commit to throughout the next 12-months.  Previously I have struggled to keep a planner going for longer than a couple of months, I think this planner will break that cycle.  With impressive build quality, a simple, user-friendly layout and quality paper, I really think this is a great product that I have hopes of continuing to buy for years to come.

Pros

  • Impressive build quality
  • Good paper stock
  • Simple planner layout
  • A true ‘all in one’ tool
  • Fountain pen friendly
  • Good value

Cons

  • Design could be seen as slightly dull
  • Stiff spine to begin with
  • More of a task tracker than a true planner

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