Aware that I suffered a fit of damning with faint praise when I wrote about the Cross Bailey Light fountain pen on Friday, today I’m going to be more enthusiastic about Filofax’s new decorative accessories.
Over the past month four Collections have launched – the Garden Collection, the Indigo Collection, the Confetti Collection and, most recently, the Expressions Collection – all riffs on a theme of pastel colours and whimsical images. I’ve seen the designs described as childish, which I don’t think is quite fair; I’d say they are pretty, jolly, light-hearted, fun. They remind me of the products from Kikki K, which I often liked. It’s tempting to think they aren’t going to enhance your serious business planner, but even that isn’t necessarily true. Covering every square inch of your page with “decor” isn’t generally business-like, but most people could get away with using the occasional fancy sticky note.
For the people who enjoy full-on adornment, each of the new collections includes plastic binders in Personal and Pocket sizes or refillable A5 Notebooks. There are also zippered pouches punched to fit the ring binders and packs of dividers, washi tape trios, ballpoint pens which use Cross refills, sticker sheets, and sticky notes. Apart from the pens and binders, these would make rather good “pocket money” purchases or small, pretty gifts – ideal for teachers at the end of year, or Secret Santa.
Of course, just looking at things doesn’t really work and I’m not going to form an opinion until I’ve tried something out. So, cutting my sail to suit my cloth, I’ve invested in two of the slew of new accessories for my Filofax: a pack of stickers and a set of sticky notes, both from the Garden Collection.
Taking the sticky notes first, these are an item that it’s shockingly easy to get wrong. I’ve been disappointed by many that I’ve bought over the years, and often found that the prettier they are, the worse they work. Fully prepared for disappointment, I was pleased to find these ones an absolute joy. The adhesive is good and extends a generous 17mm onto the note to provide a firm attachment when you place it on the page. There’s no sticky residue left behind when you peel one off the pad and they continue to stick happily, even if you move them from page to page. Best of all, for me, is the fact they cope well with fountain pen ink which isn’t always the case on pre-printed sticky notes. Okay, yes, the ink bleeds through, but this is one scenario where even I don’t care – I’ve never wanted to use the reverse of a sticky note! There are a nice variety of shapes and sizes included and the backing board is punched to fit a variety of Filofax binders, which they are calling a multifit punching. They will sit happily on the rings of Personal and A5 ring binders and also on the coils of the refillable Notebooks. Personally, I’m not keen on keeping the sticky notes on the rings and I tuck the pad into the front pocket of my A5 Filofax. However, I noticed how well they sat on the rings in the Personal sized Filofax.
I haven’t used many of the stickers yet, just put a few down for the beginning of April. What I can say is that they are repositionable (if you don’t get them laid straight on your first go, you can peel them off and try again), not too thick but not washi-tape thin either, and they are opaque enough that you can use them to cover up little mistakes (one of my favourite things to do with stickers). As to the content, well you get two sheets each of three layouts and there’s a good mix of the functional (Due, Reminder etc; coloured dots, and edged boxes, month stickers), the inspirational (Keep Going, Enjoy Today and so on) and the purely pretty (plants, leaves, washi strips). For my taste, there are way too many hearts – even one heart would be way too many hearts for me – but it seems hearts are very popular. Maybe one day they’ll release the Heartless Collection especially for me!! Again, the pages have the multi-fit punching.
I don’t think either of these items are limited to use only in Filofaxes or other planner binders. They would work equally well in a bullet journal or ordinary bound diary, for scrapbook spreads, to embellish correspondence, or when wrapping gifts.
The big question is whether these collections are a worthy addition to Filofax’s range of products, or is the company losing sight of its traditional base and pandering to the whims of the masses? For my money, it’s a wise move and not completely out of line with previous products that they’ve offered. I’ve also been impressed that the two products I’ve tried have been of good quality. There is clearly a market for items to decorate the various planner systems on sale across the globe, and Filofax has always been a brand which is involved as much with the inserts as with the binders. There are binder manufacturers who have come into the production of planners from a background in the leather-working industry and for them I would see this as a bit of a sell-out, but I don’t really think of Filofax as that sort of brand. Of course, they still have a strong audience which loves them for their leather binders (as, indeed, I do) and it’s important that they continue to support that side of their business. However, by providing these more fun items they might bring the brand to the attention of an audience which otheriwse might have missed it.