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29 March 2013

Free For All Friday No 228

As the new Filofax binders are coming online and we've had a sneak peek at the upcoming range thanks to Steve, there has been a lot of discussion about the new range. Some positive opinions and some not so positive, depending on personal preference. I know there are many readers who are waiting to see the higher-end and leather binders in the new range before giving their final verdict on the range as a whole.

But it makes me think of Filofax as a brand, and what it represents. I know there are many of us who would like to see the return of binders like the Winchester, but even in those days Filofax must have made lower-end fabric or vinyl binders.

Back in the day, a Filofax was a status object. If you had one, you were busy and important enough to need such a level of organization.

Now, what does a Filofax mean, and what does it stand for? What is it, and what SHOULD it be?

To some, it's "retro" and an alternative to digital.

To others, it is luxury and/ or style.

For many, it's our lifeline and contains information we don't want to be without.

What makes Filofax as a brand stand out from other brands of binders? Its style? Its history? That it has something for everyone?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss or ask anything Filofax-related!

25 comments:

  1. I think the majority of regulars on here accept that they should be looking to cover both ends of the market. One is about volume and attracting new devotees who, if they do things right (they haven't so far), would stay with them as the older readership on here have done; as well as producing high-quality, higher-cost binders for the upper end of the market (neither have they done this, apart from possibly the Malden which I'd argue isn't high-end, just good quality. And let's not even talk about the Temperley.....). The prevalence of ring problems, cracked and/or creased leather and even rusty rings shows how far they have slipped from the days of the Winchester. The response to TPS's raising of the problem with rings was pretty poor and didn't provide much hope for the future. I feel like buying one of the new Back to School binders, and sending it back with a Filofax Company Report Card insert, saying "4 out of 10 - could do better".

    SLightly off-topic but I think relevant to many regulars. I thought a report from today's BBC would be of interest to many, as its about how tags are changing the way we store and retrieve info, and how it (can) make us better organised. I never really got the hang of them, but it seems I've been missing a productivity trick. Here's the link, if that's allowed, Steve? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21945876

    While back in UK, I finally managed to find one of the elusive Evernote Moleskine notebooks and am planning to use that for finishing my thesis. The use of tags is something I think I should be investigating more deeply. I'm considering chopping half of it up into FF personal for a trial, to see how that would work. I could do a customer meeting, make notes on the Moleskine evernote page, photograph them after, send it to Evernote and have an electronic copy. Has anyone tried this? Might save me some pain and futility!

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    1. Paul I don't know exactly how the Moleskine Evernote notebooks work, but aren't the stickers the tags? Is there anything special at all about the paper? Or could you use the stickers on any paper and it would work the same way?

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    2. The stickers ARE like tags, but I haven;t investigated them yet. I'm more interested in tagging files and folders, like the article described, for easier search and retrieval. The paper is different, its similar to Livescribe. Lots of barey visible dots. You CAN use normal paper, but the moleskine paper allows one crucial difference, the ability to search within handwritten text. and the evernote premium also provides a very useful benefit, the ability to store the electronic content offline, on your iphone or ipad. Very useful for me.

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  2. With some things the main item is not where the profit is.
    So with a Hoover, it's not the Hoover which makes the money, it's ten years of paper Hoover bags.
    With a Kindle, it's not the reader, it's the ebooks.

    For Filofax, once they sold you a binder, the expectation was that you would then need small quantities of a huge and useful range of inserts from wine tasting to fly fishing, and book reviews to shopping lists. Something for everyone. That was where the money was.

    The business is now upside down. The binder is now more important than the contents.

    Bringing back meal planners, book lists, marathon training planners, gym records, recipe sheets, garden record sheets, germination records, lipstick colour charts, wardrobe planning aids, blog planners, all things with are useful in a crossover paper/digital world - these would make what goes on in the inside more important than what goes on on the outside.

    I know Philofaxy produces some of these. But the vast majority of users have never heard of this place (sorry, Steve) and in a digital age, some sort of online Filofax page design tool would be amazing. Design your own inserts and have them delivered to your door. The stuff of dreams.

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    1. I agree. Most people only buy one or two binders but would probably endlessly buy extra inserts for different needs.

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    2. As I filled in a rather austere cotton cream calendar this week all I could think was that in these days of digital printing there must be a way to personalise paper products at source rather than rely on washi and stickers. I'd love to be able to design an art deco diary insert with that round style of typeface, but for now I'll dream on.

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    4. If Vistaprint can do it for business cards and cafepress can do it for everything else it must be possible to have a design your own inserts website.

      I would like

      Gardening inserts, costs, germination, yield.
      Christmas planning inserts, one for gifts, one for costs and one as a countdown.
      Holiday packing templates.
      Inventory of electricals, serial numbers etc.
      Library list for books to request.

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    5. Who else would bé interested in this idea? Write at Home would love to hear from you!

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    6. Your "likes" just made me think of another one - an insert to list all major appliances (and some minor ones as well!) with the date of purchase, the details of any additional service agreements purchased in addition to the one the manufacturer offers, the product serial and model #'s and notations, perhaps the original cost of the appliances and where purchased, size of battery or bulb size (if applicable), installation instructions, contact info (Tel. #/email) for the manufacturer and/or the retailer/merchant where purchased, and finally info about any service dates, the vendor who did the repair/service and the cost thereof, etc. Rather than have to save and then FIND all those booklets that accompany these type purchases, all the info would be - in your trusty Filofax!

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    7. Agreed, I can draw what I want on paper, but getting it into a computer program and printed never works for me.

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    8. If you take a filofax and you add up all the contents that are in it and take what's left for the binder. The binder really isn't costing that much, yet people think of the inserts as "free" and still want to sell their Filofax with no inserts at the cost they paid new for it.
      A business is about repeat sales. Happy customers come back, disappointed ones shop at the competitors across the street.

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    9. I'm fascinated by all the lists of inserts. I've been using a FF since 1985 (graduation present to myself and it was a HUGE outlay for me)and I have never used more than the diary and plain paper (lined for phone numbers). I keep loads of notes about all sorts of different things but I do it all on plain paper. I would hate the restrictions of somebody else's plan. Even if I designed one for myself it would only be right on the day I designed it. No plain paper all the way for me. But good quality please so cotton cream only :)

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    10. I would love to have that feature avalible on filofax, I design and print my own diary and inserts but my printer isn't the best and I would love to just upload it to a website and get them to have a brilliant quality print of my own design :)

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  3. My ‘Simple Trusted System’ is a combination of Filofax, Franklin Covey and DayTimer, all underpinned by the philosophy of Zen To Done.

    Filofax has always made binders across the spectrum from entry level to high end. I have a 1980’s (100% plastic) Filofax alongside a leather Winchester and others from that era. I chose FF because the brand is readily available in the UK. That said - I had to turn to the USA when I fell in love with the Ostrich, and again to get the DT inserts. Missing a trick there by not selling in Europe....

    I have a need for analogue (paper) to run alongside technology. I have a Kindle for novels but still buy textbooks and art books. I use Outlook for my calendar, and mobile phone as an address book. I use my Filofax as a notebook and to manage daily tasks on multiple projects.

    For me the enduring appeal of Filofax, is a small portable ring binder so that I can move pages around to suit my ever changing needs. I standardised on the Personal size so that I could move pages between binders freely. I’ve just purchased the new Doodle Filofax as a ‘no-frills’ notebook. It’s an innovative concept that involves the customer in customising the exterior of the binder. I could be wrong, but I’ve not seen that done before.

    To stay “fresh” Filofax, like other brands, must continually reinvent itself or die. In my opinion where FF needs a complete refresh is in the inserts – although I’m sure whatever they do will never please everyone!

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  4. I completely agree that Filofax needs to put some concentration of revamping inserts. Here in the US we've seen the disappearance of not only "extra" inserts but also some diary layouts, which one might think is the heart of an organizer's inserts. However, I can't help but wonder why certain inserts were discontinued -- is it because they didn't sell well enough to offset the cost of production, or because they simply let them fall by the wayside and didn't feel like printing them anymore. For as many of use who might buy gardening inserts, say, it still might not be enough to offset the cost of producing them. I'm just playing devil's advocate here, as I know nothing about what it actually costs to produce this type of thing. Or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that's there's an actual reason as to why Filofax would ignore (or choose to put their money elsewhere) our constant requests for new/better inserts.

    But then again, I usually read about how people bought this binder or that to add to their collection, whereas their collection doesn't represent a wide array of inserts. I wouldn't say they're as collectible as the binders themselves. Binders are being used for many different things these days, not just diaries. Maybe this is why Filofax isn't focusing on inserts...? But of course the argument can also be made for the fact that they're missing the boat here too -- think of all the different things they could produce and (hopefully) make money off of.

    That's just my two cents -- trying to look at both sides of the situation while being a bit disappointed too...

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  5. I use an A5 FF for about 6mths and I'm happy with the layout, but I would like a higher quality paper. I came across FC day on 2 pages layout recently and quite attracted to the choice with their planner. The downside with FC UK site: more expensive, and the range (planner size and the binder size+style) is not as wide as available in the US.

    I would like to use the printout planners available on Philofaxy but my printer would do a really bad job @ it. Is it worth to take it to a local printer shop and print it out that way??

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  6. Levenger offer a wide range of Circa insert refills on a"Special Request" basis (i.e. print to order) as shown here...

    http://www.levenger.com/Circa-Notebooks-326/Circa-Refills-715.aspx

    It's surprising that Filofax with their global reach haven't entered this market.

    Here's hoping that there are some more promising binders announced in April.

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  7. I remember a few years ago FC offered the ability for people to create customized inserts on their website, for a higher price of course. But I'm not sure if they still offer it.

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    1. They actually offered this for a few years and then simplified and changed the offerings. The pages had a good selection of options for the diary format and were printed in four color printing. They were also unbelievably expensive. I don't remember an exact cost but it was approximately three times the cost of the regular options. This meant about $70 or so for a diary only so I never ordered.

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  8. I'm disappointed that the business two page per day diaries are being discontinued. I've been looking everywhere. Does anyone know where I might get a set?
    I think it's important that Filofax is providing lower end binders for those who can't afford the high end leather. It gives them an opportunity to try out creating a system. Then later they will come back and purchase a higher end item.
    Personally, I can't wait to see the new leather ones!

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    1. They are being discontinued for A5 size?

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  9. Hi All,

    My name's Stacey, I'm new here and I have a question. I was wondering if you might be able to help me?

    I recently purchased a red Adelphi in a Personal size and was wondering if anyone knew what other sizes this colour and style is available in?

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    1. The Adelphi was manufactured in A5, Personal, Slimline and Pocket sizes. Colours produced were red, black, magenta and damson purple. Although no longer current in the UK there are still some Filofax sites listing various sizes and colours.

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  10. I've just noticed that the new range doesn't have any in mini size. I've just started using a mini and really like it.

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