06 August 2014

Guest post: Seven years on…and full circle - Rebecca

I’ve had the pleasure and honour of taking care of the Dodo Pad brand since 1996. It’s been like watching a child grow and is both rewarding (most of the time) and frustrating (some of the time)…but overall, I love it!

Back in early 2009 we had an idea that sprang from my longtime personal love of Filofax and the fact that I couldn’t any longer reconcile my Dodo Pad loyalties and still use my beloved (if a little battered) bright red Deskfax. I’d attended countless Dodo Pad and retailer meetings where I would get out my Deskfax and open the diary to… a Filofax week-to-two-pages insert. Well I’d sort of got used to it – after all I’d been using the identical diary for 20 years since my life in the heady days of London advertising and a career path complete with power suits and shoulder pads!

OK, so you can't quite 
see the shoulder pads 
- but they were there!
So one day a colleague suggested that it really was time to review my Filofax loyalty in the light of more than 12 years at the helm of the Dodo Pad. And she was right. What about a Dodo Pad diary for Filofax? Much more ‘fun’ than a Filofax (diary) and every bit as practical with room to plan and makes notes adjacent to a weekly schedule based on a five column grid. But, said I, Deskfax is no longer in production.  Well, said she, it is time you got a new Filofax anyway and she showed me her  rather smart A5 zipped Malvern (I think…) and suggested that she and I could be the first to road test it!

There followed a meeting with Filofax themselves at the New York Stationery Show to suggest a collaboration whereby we would do the production and Filofax would market it to their customer base, whilst we cross-marketed Filofax back to our customers as an alternative format and sold Filofax organisers as a reseller. But they were not only not interested (tiny little Dodo Pad did not figure on the grand scale of Filofax’s aspirations in those days) but, believing the Dodo Pad to be only relevant for family use (not so), told us a Filofax Family Diary Pack was already in production. And so it came and as far as I know went (save for a few still on sale in the States I believe).

Now, the Dodo Pad diary has been going strong for almost 50 years and next year is our Golden Jubilee! We’ve grown from a single desk diary, the original 1966 edition, first produced in 1965,

The very first Dodo Pad desk diary

to a wide range of formats including pocket, wall and 2 hole loose-leaf, identical in size to the desk diary, that fits the DodoPAX system. I bet you can’t imagine how we came up with that Name!

2014/15 Acad-Pad mid year range

2015 Dodo Pad calendar year range
But you can’t just launch a new format on a whim. The diary business is expensive for us as every year we create almost entirely new artwork, and to ‘fit’ that artwork to Filofax formats requires quite a bit of reworking at ‘repro’ stage – after the master design/artwork has been created and before we send it off to print.

So we did some small scale research and found there was definite interest – a lot of people just found the Filofax diary inserts, to use their language, boring. And most users of Filofax organisers are, in my limited experience, rather creative – and anything but boring!

And so the 2010 Dodo Pad for A5 Filofax appeared (produced at breakneck speed to catch the main print run) for the very first time, on a limited print run, and we completely sold out by Christmas – which was precisely what we had hoped for! Both Steve and Laurie helped with blog publicity on Philofaxy in those first months - for which I am forever grateful as it introduced us to the amazing Philofaxy community that just grows and grows...

The very first Filofax compatible Dodo Pad
On the strength of the first A5 calendar year Dodo Pad, the following year we also produced an A5 Acad-Pad (our  mid-year version of the Dodo Pad diary) that runs from August to the following September. That too sold out.

There followed a Personal size (refined after its first year to provide bigger grid squares – again with the generous help of some of the Philofaxy community) and more recently we developed an A4/USA Letter size – which fits an A4 Filofax perfectly but has the added benefit of also fitting any 2, 3 or 4 ring binder – the UNIVERSAL size – for wherever you are in the world.

The 2015 Dodo Pad and 2014/15 Acad-Pad Filofax compatible range today
So, why the ‘full circle’ in the title of this post? Well earlier this year we were contacted by a customer who is still using her DeskFax and was ‘dodesperate’ for a Dodo Pad to fit it. Well guess what? It turns out that he Deskfax size is almost identical to our desk diary size (how did I miss that!???) …so ever the resourceful, we found a strong 9 hole punch  for sale and can now offer a bespoke service to ‘Deskfaxify’ a Dodo Pad, Acad-Pad or even our Dodo Address Book. So now I’m torn for 2015 – A5 or DeskFax? What would you do?

Deskfaxification service!
We’ve had many requests for a Pocket version but have to decline as the reduction of our master artwork is just too tiny to be practical so we can now boast a full house in Personal, A5 and A4…and if you buy a new organiser from us, you get the diary insert completely free!

Our website now hosts a complete section for Filofax compatible formats and our newest Acad-Pad which starts in mid-August (2014/15) is already down to the last few in A5 (so be quick if you want one!).

Forward planning - my 2015 A5 diary insert is already in place in my Raspberry Chameleon :)
The 2015 Dodo Pad is available now and if you would like to try a 2014 version to see how you like it we still have a few left in each format available at half price. If you would like to buy a 2015 edition we will send you the current year completely free at the same time (available by calling the office on 0345 053 1166 or +44 1872 575363 or email us as soon as you have placed your order with your order number and a request for the current edition).

We also give away free, one of our compatible diaries with every new Filofax organiser we sell – We’ve Finsburys, Dominos and Originals in all three size formats (personal, A5 and A4) as available.

Click the pic to see the full range of Filofax organisers we can offer with our own diary refills!
I hope this may have inspired you to try a Dodo Pad for your next diary insert but whatever you do – enjoy your Filofax as much as I do mine ☺


  1. I'm not a user of the Dodo-pad, as currently I can only get by with a Day per page format. But I am truly impressed with the corporate attitude of the DodoPad company. I see their comments frequently when anyone says that they have tried the product. And the fact that they listen to their customers AND work with them speaks volumes. Buying a 9-hole punch, to provide bespoke Deskfax punching is a great example of this.
    I can't say it is a surprise that Filofax Towers responded to the offer in a lukewarm manner, their corporate focus seems to be more on fashion binders nowadays, which is a crying shame, as the limited range of inserts forces many of us to design and print our own, resulting a such a missed sales opportunity. I will probably try one of the 2014 diaries at the reduced price, to see how I get on with it. I hope DodoPad does well, as they deserve to.
    Rebecca, have you considered teaming with Van der Speck or Gillio? Both seem to have a similar, customer-focused approach to yours, and I think you could come up with some interesting marketing combinations.

    1. Hi Steve - thanks for you positive comments - I'm replying as Lord Dodo here as my profile seems to default to him - no idea why!

      Re Van der Speck and Gillio. Steve Morton did suggest we got in contact earlier this year and we did email each other but all three companies (our included) were so busy with production there was not a suitable time to meet up and discuss a plan. But we will do it - and hopefully soon.

      If you do try a 2014 Dodo Pad diary I hope you like it! The paper quality is extremely good (although I say it myself!) and that is definitely one of the big plus points we hear back from people. It is fun too. Always best to have fun with your organisation.... :)

  2. Not to make life difficult (much!).... but would the new hole pattern fit a franklin covey classic?
    If not, do you have plans/hopes to extend the bespoking service later?

    1. Hi Sharon - that is a good question! It might... but unless I see a FC sheet and can 'test' it out, we will never know! The idea of a non punched A5 diary refill has been muted from time to time, but the issue is knowing how many to produce. We always sell out of the A5 formats so it would mean producing a few extra to test the market. Am off to look at the FC website now! :

    2. So difficult to please us all! A5 sheets with six holes can be repunched in the FC or DT punch to fit the 7-ring binders, but the end product has a bit of a swiss cheese look. I can live with double punching but cannot live with differing page sizes. A5 and half-letter are very similar but not the same, and I hate having the wider A5 pages intermingling with my half-letter size pages and tabs. So much drama, so much angst! We get our Dodo-fix in the form of the brilliant wallpad, which hangs in the kitchen and where we plot out our work and appointment schedules and various notes to each other in a place where everyone can see it. I recommend keeping your dodopad near the telephone for best results.

      I am completely and entirely "nearly extinct with the daily pressures of modern life." Dodo-merchandise is the perfect solution.

  3. My only wish is the diary was on the left and the notes on the right on the dodo planners

    1. Now that would be a bit tricky....are you left handed?

    2. in a word no. I am indeed right handed but I keep the diary in the middle therefore It isn't an issue. I guess it's personal preference

  4. maybe... an un-punched, loose leaf version would be the answer to both our wishes?

  5. I've been using the Dodo Acad-Pad for 4 years and I love it. It's the perfect diary for me. It took me a while to settle on a format, but I'm now happily settled on the A4 Universal inserts which give me so much space to plan and allow me to keep my diary in the same binder as my loose leaf teacher planner.

    I'm also a big fan of Lord Dodo's other products such as the Perennial Wall Planner (which I have attached to my classroom wall) and the Big Blank Book (which I use for notes).

    So, thank you, Lord Dodo, for all the wonderful products which keep me organised on a daily basis! :-)