10 August 2014

Reader Under the Spotlight - Noa

Hi, my name is Noa and I am a graphic designer and animator, studying to be a film director, working as a film critic.. I am also planning on starting up my own small business as a designer, so between university, work, my own personal projects, being a workaholic but also striving to balance work and personal life, filofax and planning is my second nature. Oh, and did I mention I just started a Filofax-related blog? Check it out at www.blackforestdesigns.blogspot.com

1. When did you buy your first organiser and what was it?

After writing small daily to-do lists on loose pieces of paper for years, my first year of high-school was the first time I decided that I need something more compact and put together to organize my assignments and write in deadlines for school. My first organiser was basically a simple, trusty, wire-bound notebook, I made my own tabs to put in it, one for every subject I had. I also printed out chronodexes and sticked them in my pages to plan my day. This method actually saw me through high school pretty well, as I bought a new notebook every day, and kept a consistent planning routine.

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

After high school I decided that I needed something more grown-up than a plain, scrappy notebook with makeshift tabs, so I searched between what was on the market and found filofax. I instantly fell in love with the concept of a planner being elegant and so customizable, but after joining several Filofax communities on several social media sites, I decided to give myself time to experiment with setups before I pay such a considerable amount, so my first grown-up planner was a personal size black faux leather Herlitz ring binder. After a year of living in it I bought a personal aqua Saffiano, my planning tool of choice nowadays.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

The aqua Saffiano in personal size is my one and only favourite at this time, I am not planning on getting another one until this gets really worn out, breaks, gets lost or stolen (which I hope it doesn’t) ☺

4. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

I own one Filofax organiser and a Herlitz brand organiser.

5. What is the oldest organiser in your collection?

My black personal size Herlitz organiser just turned 3 ☺

6. What do you use your organisers for?

I like to keep only one organiser, having multiple ones for me just defeats the purpose of having one. I use them to have every aspect of my life that needs planning all in one, compact place. I use it for keeping track of my university assignments, my work deadlines, planning my personal projects and giving myself deadlines, scheduling blog posts, appointments, daily to dos. I also keep whatever important documents I may need for school, work or medical-related in my Filofax, I have a section for important contacts, and also one for long term goals which I then break down to small tasks I need to do in order to achieve them. I keep a small notebook in the rear inner pocket to write my ideas too.

7. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

I’d say the most obvious anwer to this question for me would be the freedom of having a planner that is so customizable, that offers  so much freedom in creating a planning tool that is efficient in itself but also fits my personal needs perfectly. But I guess this is mainly true to all ring binders, so I’d say what most attracted me to filofax was first of all its history – the fact that it’s such an established, cornestone brand in terms of planning, not to mention it’s elegance. When I chose Filofax as the brand of my planning tool the main question for me was: what kind of persion am I striving to become, and also how do I want to be percieved throughout my career? I chose proffesionalism, elegance and giving out a vibe that I’m down for business and want to be percieved as a serious person, and this is what Filofax means for me.

8. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

I really love the ranges that have patterns on them: the Willow, Bloom, Blossom, Peru, Cover Story etc., but sadly none of them were to my taste. I, however, love the concept of having a pattern on the cover, so the Filofax designed by me would have an elegand but exciting pattern on it, that would also set the tone and theme for the inside, which would feture several patterned dividers and matching inserts. I would also include 2 small pockets on the inner-cover, one to fit a memory card and one for a usb stick.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

I carry it in my bag, since I carrya bag with me whenever I step out of the house. I toyed around with the idea of keeping it in the plastic case that it came in, but I didn’t like the way it looked and it seemed harder to open and close. Granted, the Saffiano isn’t real leather and while scratches and ageing may suit the Maldens, they may not look as good on mine, but I decided to go with it and am planning to use it until it literally falls apart, so I’m okay with it.

10. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

I have two favourites and I cannot choose between them. The first one would be the Temperley Ikat – I love the print on the outside and the dashboard, but I’m not sure the size and the zipper suits me. If there would be a traditional personal size without the zipper and the same print, I would have bought it instead of the Saffiano. My other favourite is the ochre Malden, I think it will be the next purchase, somewhere along the line.

11. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax or other brand of organiser? Which model?

I spent 35 dollars on my personal Saffiano, but this was including shipping so I don’t remember what the actual planner cost.

12. What's your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

Well, I wouldn’t actually call it a hack but I am not using anything by filofax apart from the actual binder, the ruler and one clear pocket that came with it. I designed my own inserts, dividers, fold-outs and tabs that fit in it, and I’d encourage everyone to at least search on the market for inserts that work for them, many people are putting up even free ones, the inserts don’t have to be filofax brand or store bought really. I also like having blank pages and printing out chronodexes that I stick on them, abd my facourite thing is getting a notebook that matches the style of my filofax and fits the inside of the rear cover, where there is a place to stick it in.

13. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

I mostly like the “Web Finds” posts since I love snooping around in other people’s planners (both virtually and in real life), I love seeing how other people use them, getting tips from others and also finding interesting blogs that I can follow regarding planners.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

I always like the content Philofaxy uploads, but I don’t like the design of the blog. I am all for minimalism and “less being more”, but the grey background, the format of the posts and the low resolution header image kind of seem ailienating to me. I also don’t like that the pictures linking to other sites you feature are such low quality, although I know that is not your fault. Sorry, I’m a designer, it’s my only excuse☺

15. What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

David Lynch and Lykke Li: I’m waiting here

16. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet-up? if not do you intend to one day?

Not yet. I’d love nothing more than attending a filofax meetup, but I live in Transylvania (nope, I’m not a vampire), and people here aren’t really into filofaxes, sadly (thay, of course, have no idea what they are missing out on). 

17. What was the last movie you watched?

Nostalghia by Andrej Tarkovszkij

18. What was the last book you read?

Kieran Cashell: Charm and Strangeness: The Aesthetic and Epistemic Dimensions of Derik Jarman’s Wittgenstein (boring, I know)

19. George Clooney or Brad Pitt?

The answer is Gary Oldman.


  1. love the answer to the number 19 question

  2. Hi Noa

    What an interesting profile, thank you. I'm going to check out that Tarkovszkij film, and as a big David Lynch fan, probably that track as well....

    I agree with you about only having one organiser in use - for me, that's the hole point of the system, only having to worry about picking up one organiser to have everything to hand. I'm also very interested that your current organiser of choice is Personal size, since I've invested a *lot* of time and effort in making the Personal work for me rather than being drawn into A5 - even though I still battle with the same size/space issues as everyone else.

    The very best of luck with all your current undertakings and enterprises.

    1. I love all of Tarkovszkij's work, but it may be too much for some people, although if you like long, meditative movies you'll love Nostalghia! Also, check out Lynch's album "Crazy Clown Time", it has a lot of great tracks. About having a single planner - it's really refreshing to hear someone who's on the same page as I am on this one - as I see so many people having different binders for different things. Granted, it might work for some people, but having all that would just make me anxious, and I like to keep everything as simple as possible. I was also drawn to the A5 size at first, but instead of purchasing a filofax I just got a cheap A5 binder from my local office supply store, along with having my faux filofax which was a personal size, and found that if I have more space, I'm prone to put more stuff in that I just don't really need.


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