23 April 2012

Dodo Pad - Universal A4/USA Letter Size Acad Pad Review

[Full Disclosure: Dodo Pad have sent Philofaxy this sample to review free of charge, we did not pay for it. However we have not let this 'free gift' influence our review of their product.]

You might already be familiar with the Dodo Pad inserts and diaries, Laurie has reviewed them several times before. I will try not to repeat what has already been said about them.

This however is a new format of the Dodo Pad diary which is now available in a new 'Universal Size'. It's almost A4/US Letter Size, but not quite... it is in fact US Letter height (11 inches) but European A4 width (21cm), sort of a best of both worlds I suppose.
So inside it's like any other Dodo Pad, just bigger...

Each right hand page is a week per page, with a grid of five columns and the left hand facing page has room for notes etc. with a quote and artistic design like this:

The grid stays the same throughout, but each week is different; with different cartoons/quotes in different colours - all printed on high quality paper.

Here's a sample of a week filled in:

There are of course several ways of using the five columns; for instance use it for a family diary and have each person in a different column, great for Mums and Dads with kids that need to be at different places at different times etc. Or it works just as well for one person who wants to fill the columns with different times of the days or make task lists.

This particular sample (Acad-Pad) is for the academic year so it runs from August 2012 to the end of August 2013. There will also be a conventional January 2013 to December 2013 Dodo Pad in this new ‘Universal’ size that Lord Dodo tells me will be available in June.

In addition to the weekly sheets there are year planners included with monthly pages for this year and the following year and a timetable page.

As much as this product is a serious planning tool to help you remember important things to do and record things you have achieved, there is a definite fun element running through the whole design. To do's, planning, appointments etc don't have to be boring.

One of the things you will also notice is all those holes! 7 of them to be precise. Now, there's a bit of a story behind why it has so many holes, and it goes something like this.....

One evening Lord Dodo called me up on Skype and after the usual initial pleasantries we got in to discussing the A4 Filofax…

LD: Do you have one?

SM: Yes of course!

LD: Do you think that a Dodo Pad would work in that size?

SM: I guess so, there is no reason why not, more space in each box etc. 

Then came the crunch statement...

LD: We want to sell it in the States....

SM: You know that Filofax don't sell the A4 Filofax in the USA…


LD: OK, so they can use an ordinary 2 ring or 4 ring binders instead....

SM: They don't sell those either... in the US... only 3 ring binders... but the spacing is different

LD: Ah ok.... what is the spacing...??

At which point I declared myself the 'Filofax Hole Spacing Standards Expert' a rather boring skill set as you can imagine. But in the world of stationery if the holes in your paper don't match the spacing between your rings then you have an incompatibility issue....

Anyway the long and the short of it is, that this special Universal format has two sets of holes, 4 holes for 2/4 European Rings (including A4 Filofax) and 3 holes for the US 3 ring binders. The compromise on paper size ensures it will fit either binder.

Here are some pictures to show how it fits in either variety of binder.

If you want to discover more about Dodo Pad products then visit their website to see the full range of planners and other fun products.

Thank you again to Lord Dodo for letting us see this new product.


  1. Steve thanks for this fantastic review! I use a full-size binder to keep all those papers that come home from school, and this will be perfect in that binder.

    How great that we can use any full-size binder no matter which side of the pond we live on! I wish other planner/ diary brands would take this as a lesson and do the same thing!!

  2. What a great idea to produce a product that can fit both the states and europe - and I've seem more holes on many smaller sheets so I think it looks fine. Well done Lord Dodo!! Also great review Steve - thanks for this - it's good to know we have a 'spacing expert' amongst us!

  3. I'm trialling my first A5 Dodopad after last week's interview with Lord/Lady Dodo and I have to say I'm struggling a bit with it. There just seems to be so much wasted space! I was following Alison's lead and using it as a food and exercise diary, but I'm not sure how long it's going to last.

    I know people love the brand so I thought I'd give it a go (and 2012 diaries are now half price!), but it seems I'm not going to be a Dodo-lover after all.

  4. I've just ordered a personal size diary to give it a go. I love how fun it is. I am a bit worried about space, but we'll see... :)

  5. That makes an A4 Filofax much more appealing.

    I'm thinking of getting a Dodopad for my A5, to use specifically for meal planning. Not sure if it'll fit though, I've got a Week on Two Pages and a Page per Day stuffed in there already!

  6. Wow! That is a lot of doodle room!

    How kind of you, Steve, to point out the goofy American binder system and the dreaded spacing compatibility issue. Very smart solution indeed.

    Is America the only country that stubbornly sticks to 3 ring binders? *sigh*