Bomo Art Diary Planner Review

Bomo Art Diary -1

Bomo Art makes some of my favorite leather bound journals and when I had the opportunity to visit their shop earlier this year in Budapest I decided to try one of their diaries/planners.

Bomo Art Budapest
Bomo Art’s store front in Budapest

I struggle to use a diary consistently.  Every year I tell myself I am going to use one to stay organized and if I am lucky, I keep it up for a few months but eventually it falls by the wayside.  With this in mind I went for an A5 size half leather bound version with a weekly format.

Bomo Art Planner Diary -3

They come in six sizes with a full or half leather binding.  There are three layouts, I chose the vertical weekly layout.

Bomo Art Diary Planner -4

You also get to chose from eight leather options, I chose dark brown, and there are numerous papers for the cover of half leather binding dairy.  I chose an antique map paper.

Bomo Art Diary Planner -2

My dairy cost about $15 USD which is a pretty reasonable price for a book of this quality.

Bomo Art Diary Planner -7

The diaries are made by hand in Budapest with the diary contents by Diarpell of Italy.

Bomo Art Diary -8

The paper is thin but holds up very well to fountain pen ink.  With such a thin page you do get some ghosting but nothing that would prevent me from writing on both sides.

Bomo Art Diary Planner -5

The paper is ultra smooth with almost no feedback.

Only moderate ghosting and minimal bleed with the huge 2.4mm Parallel pen
Only moderate ghosting and minimal bleed with the huge 2.4mm Parallel pen

This diary layout was designed in 2000 and as such, it still has an address/phone number section.  Apart from the address book this diary has no extras.  There are no blank pages for notes nor pockets for loose papers.

Bomo Art Diary Planner -9

The stitched binding is pretty nice.  The signatures are not as small as you might find on some Japanese notebooks but the binding lays pretty flat so I have no complaints.

Bomo Art Planner Diary -10

At the end of the day the Bomo Art is not a feature-rich diary but it’s beautiful looks and high-quality feel make up for it’s simplicity.

In writing this I realize I have yet to review any of their wonderful journals.  It’s now on my to-be-reviewed list so stay tuned… they are beautiful.

BomoArt Leather journal
Bomo Art Leather Journal

Word Notebooks 2014 Standard Memorandum Review

Word Notebooks The Standard Memorandum

While I know we are already in 2014, it is not too late to buy a 2014 diary.  The Standard Memorandum Notebook produced by Word. Notebooks is a bit of a curiosity.  Designed by illustrator, Jon Contino, to resemble pocket journals form the early 1900’s, The Standard Memorandum Notebook only gives you a few lines per day.  When I received the notebook in the mail I was surprised by how tiny it is; at 2.35″ wide x 5.25″ long it will easily fit into your pocket.

Word Notebooks The Standard Memorandum

Word Notebooks The Standard Memorandum

The black cover features gold lettering with an interesting Jon Contino drawn script that reads “THE STANDARD MEMORANDUM 2014”.  The rest of the notebook features Columbia Titling typeface.

Word Notebooks The Standard MemorandumThe notebook contains 64 pages and is bound with two staples.  This notebook does not lie flat nor does it close well.  Because the pages are skinny there is not enough weight to close the book so it stays open at a 45 degree angle in the middle of the book. Each page contains 7 days, such that you get 14 days on a 2 page spread.

Word Notebooks The Standard Memorandum

Up front you get a place for your personal details ( can't say I have seen a diary with a place for sizing and transportation info before).
Up front you get a place for your personal details (can’t say I have seen a diary with a place for sizing and transportation info before).
Also up front is an index with a cell for each day of the year so that you can mark important events.
Also up front is an index with a cell for each day of the year so that you can mark important events.
Some feathering
Some feathering

The paper is smooth but not fountain pen friendly.  I found a good amount of bleed and feathering with fountain pen ink.

Bleed-through
Bleed-through
I love seeing all of the manufacturing details listed.  Glad that this is becoming a more common practice.
I love seeing all of the manufacturing details listed. Glad that this is becoming a more common practice.

I have been using the notebook for a week now and at the end of each day I write down the day’s highlights.  Trying to get your whole day into 3 or 4 lines is surprising fun; it forces you to cut out the unimportant details. While I still use a regular full size journal, I am finding that the The Standard Memorandum is easier to keep up with every day and in that sense it’s pretty valuable.

The Standard Memorandum Notebook can be purchased for $11.00 here. 

You can also purchase a leather cover for $45 which can be monogrammed.

Please note: this product was provided to me at no charge by Word. Notebooks for review purposes.

Here are some great reviews of the The Standard Memorandum Notebook:

(I have no affiliation to the sites linked below)

Ink on Hand – Word Notebooks 2014 Standard Memorandum

Pen Paper Ink Letter – 2014 Standard Memorandum by Word. Notebooks

Inktronics – The Standard Memorandum. Does It Compare to the Real Thing?

Hobonichi Planner 2014 Review

Hobonichi Planner

Having abandoned my Cartier diary (as the refills have increased an unbelievable 60% in price) I began searching for a replacement and stumbled upon a thread on The Fountain Pen Network discussing diaries for 2014.  The one that seemed to peak everyone’s interest was the Hobonichi Planner featuring Tomoe River paper.  To my knowledge, 2014 is the first year that this planner has been released in English.  After doing more research and learning about the awesome layout I knew I had to have one.

Hobonichi Planner

The appearance of the planner is simple and elegant.  The cover is a thin flexible black leatherette with “Techo” (in Japanese) and three keys printed in silver.  Printed on the spine in silver is “HOBO” and “2014”.  I like the look of the black leatherette cover so much that I am tempted to use it without a case.  The planner measures 105mm wide x 149mm high x 14mm thick (that’s approximately 4.13″ wide  x 5.87″ high x o.55″ thick).  Pictured below is the spine with the book open.  Tomoe River paper is so thin that you can fit 464 pages + the cover into a 14mm dimension.  The planner lays flat thanks to its excellent construction.

Hobonichi Planner
For those interested in book making look at how many tiny signatures (folded sheets sewn together) there are!

Hobonichi Planner

The layout of the planner is quite nice.  You get a full page per day with 4mm grids.  Each page shows the current moon phase and every two page spread features a quote.  Most of the quotes are from Japanese cultural figures.

Hobonichi Planner
Up front you get full months spread across two pages.
1 month per column and a day per row.
1 month per column and a day per row.

For Sunday the print on the page is orange instead of the normal black/grey.  In the back of the planner there are several pages of blank orange dot grid followed by some reference pages (clothing sizes, international holidays and country codes) as well as informational pages like a sushi guide and a sake guide.  One thing that I would like to see in the Hobonichi is a color map of the world.

Sushi Guide...I particularly like the part on the top right pages that says "If you are having trouble ordering....Just point!"
Sushi Guide…I particularly like the part on the top right page that says “If you are having trouble ordering….Just point!”

The paper, as I have show in my review of a Tomoe River notebook , is simply amazing.  It holds fountain pen ink as well or better than any other paper I can think of.  It’s hard not to love this planner.  The Hobonichi planner is reasonably priced at 2,500 Yen (approx $24 USD) before shipping and handling.

Hobonichi Planner
No issues with bleeding or feathering…the only draw back to this paper is dry time.
Hobonichi Planner
There is show through but it is not something that would prevent you from writing on both sides of a page.

Naoko at Hobonichi Planner was kind enough to send me this planner free of charge for me to review.  Along with the planner she included a cover, a couple of stencils and a set of page flags.  The design of the cover to be honest, is not my cup of tea.  The polyester cover was designed by the children’s book illustrator Ryoji Arai.  The front features a bright red donkey against a sky blue cover and the spine and back cover has some doodles and pictures.  It’s a very interesting composition.  The inside of the cover is bright pink and has two neon green page makers with pink tips (one is a rectangle and the other is a triangle).

Hobonichi Planner
Hobonichi cover with a Montblanc 149 in the pen loops.

There is a pocket on the outside of the back cover which I have found to be handy for slipping in receipts as well as a Field Notes journal.  There are two large pen loops, one attached to the front of the cover and one attached to the back so that you can slip a pen into both loops to keep the notebook shut.  I was able to easily slide my Montblanc 149 into the loops which is good news if you like to use oversized pens.

Hobonichi Planner

On the inside of the front cover there are 5 card slots that fit the Hobonichi stencils perfectly. There is an additional pocket behind the card slots.

Hobonichi Planner

On the inside of the back cover there is a black tag that says “Hobonichi 2014” as well as two small pockets.

Hobonichi Planner

The retail price of this cover is 1,900 Yen (approx $18 USD).  This same cover in a plain solid color is 1,500 Yen (approx $14.50 USD) and in leather is 8,500 Yen (approx $81.50 USD).  The are several other cover designs that cost as much as 31,500 Yen (approx $302 USD).  The polyester cover is reasonably priced and and provides a lot of functionality.

The Hobonichi planner and covers can be purchased in English directly from Hobonichi here.

Hobonichi Planner

Please note: (as mentioned above) this product was provided to me at no charge by Hobonichi for review purposes.

Here are some great reviews of the Hobonichi Planner:

(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)

Tiny Cartridge – Tiny Review: Hobonichi Techo 2013The Well-Appointed Desk – Review: Hobonichi Planner 2014

The Well-Appointed Desk – Review: Hobonichi Planner 2014