31 January 2018

Why is Personal Size still the most popular size?

Whilst I was updating the post about A6 size earlier last week I started to think about Personal size.

Why is it still so popular?

Of course it's the original size that all Filofax organisers started in. The page size 95mm by 171 mm or 3.75 inches by 6.75 inches is the same as used back in the 1920's so almost 100 years.

The same hole spacing has been used too. The inner workings of the ring mechanisms have changed slightly. On the first ones the top set of rings are not linked to the bottom set. The tabs operate their associated set of three rings independently of the other set of three.

A short video will of course help!


I don't know when the change was made to the type of rings we use today happened.

The mystery as to how they settled on that particular paper size is something I have not yet managed to figure out.

After nearly 100 years or more if it was in use before Lefax/Filofax then it will have become a standard page size in its own right.

I've looked for page sizes that are multiples of personal size. There are some of old British Imperial paper sizes that come close to being multiple of personal size but none are exact multiples.

Why do you like Personal Size so much? Tell us in the comments below, thank you.

14 comments:

  1. Personal size (for me) is a compromise between portability and usable real estate. The size up is too big to carry. The size down is too small to be useable. I will add that a compromise is sometimes the best solution... imho

    David

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  2. The subject of standardisation is discussed an early (July 1914) Lefax monthly news sheet. On the aspect of size it says the Lefax answer is "By adopting the engineering pocket-book size which is as good as any other."
    This size is what we now call personal. So for me it is clear evidence that the format was a pre-existing one.

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    1. that's really interesting about the engineering pocket book. I'm not overly surprised that engineers came up with the perfect size with their level of precision having been married to one for almost 30 years.

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  3. I have five FFs in a mix of A5, Personal(2), and Pocket(2) all with 2018 inserts as I dabble with various uses on my road to Planner Peace. For me, the A5 is the optimal size for functionality and is my favorite size for desk work. Pocket size is optimal for portability and my favorite for EDC but limited in how much it can hold. Personal is neither optimal for portability nor functionality. So why do I try to use it? For me it blends portability and functionality into one binder along with the most variety of available inserts and accessories.

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  4. At times I would prefer the A5 size so that I could have a vertical week on 2 pages setup but cannot justify the size when I work from home and often carry my Filo with me in my purse. Therefore, I remain a Personal size Filofax user. Back in the days when I was still working, I used an A5 Frankilin Covey and still have it, but the rings are huge and way too big to carry around when out and about.

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  5. I too have often wondered about the size. I speculated that at the time of creation, a "standard" piece of paper was cut into thirds for economy and portability. In the 1920's was there paper that was 11.25 inches long? US letter size is too short by .25 inch. On a side note, once I found the Filofax computer paper with 3 to a page I though that was evidence of my theory. Sadly, it is close but not quite right. The 3 sheets to a page in the US are 3.66 inches wide. They work, but if you mix with 3.75 you notice that small difference.

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    1. I've wondered that myself. The Franklin Covey pages - 4.25 x 6.75, do work 3 to a Letter size page. You can get two along the top 8.5 vertically, and a third along the bottom horizontally, with a little scrap to spare.

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  6. One of the qualities of 3.75" x 6.75" is that a stack of those sheets will fit easily into a standard US #10 business envelope. This doesn't explain the choice, because a #10 envelope is 4.1.25" x 9.25", but it does help cut down on postage costs for mail order, which is largely how Lefax worked in the early years.

    For a few years now, I've pined for a B6 size personal organiser, which would be 125 mm x 176 mm, or only 5 mm taller than Personal, but 30 mm wider. However, the fact is that Personal is already a bit large for comfortable carry in a handbag filled with modern odds and ends. The 171 mm height works well for dividing the page into 8 equal areas of 20 mm each, with 11 mm left over for margins, so one can fit an entire week on one page or two, plus have area for references like the current month calendar. I find that rulings smaller than 5 mm tend not to be very useful, so that allows for four lines of writing in each day, about the minimum I am willing to tolerate. Vertically, the 95 mm width allows for four 20 mm wide columns, plus 15 mm for margins. This will allow eight columns across a spread, which enables the classic Month on Two Pages layout, plus a planning column on one side.

    Paper sizes all have arbitrary origins, usually based around the sizes of the machinery that makes the paper. There's nothing really particularly optimal about Personal size, but it is a reasonable compromise for the purposes of a personal organiser.

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    1. Incidentally, Personal also fits a US Monarch envelope, the second most common personal correspondence size, though because a Monarch envelope is only 3.875" wide, you cannot shove a whole packet of sheets inside, just a few.

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    2. B6 is my preferred size also Gemma. It's popular in parts of Asia especially Japan. Diarylover.com also offers them, but nothing in leather with Krause rings unfortunately!

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  7. I loved personal until I landed in a pocket Finsbury by way of a pocket Charleston. That back pocket on the Finsbury? True love! Are there any personal planners with that full length back pocket? That would be my planner Peace!

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    1. Check out Vander speck and gillio

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    2. Yes, the Filofax Classic Croc comes with the back pocket. That, for me, is true planner peace!

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  8. For me, it all boils down to what I’m set up for. Yes, I do use a pocket size quite often, but those sheets are not archived. I have tried A5, but there again, no archive. I’m sorely tempted to try the A6, but there again, my archive is set up for the personal size. Ive used the personal size for nigh on 30 years now, and that is my system. It is not the best size but as the sign on the Alaska Highway said, “choose your rut carefully, because you are going to be there the next 100 miles.” And so it is.

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