2017 Analogue System Review

We're only two months away from 2018 - can you believe it? Where does the time go?

2017 was a year full of changes for me. I switched jobs, moved apartments, and dived back headfirst into my love for stationery. I have stuck with my current journal setup for a few months now and wanted to share some thoughts as I prepare for another year ahead.

Hobonichi Techo


What worked?

Since I used the Hobonichi as an everyday journal, I loved the fact that it laid open flat and ready for me to write on anytime. The last thing I want to think about at the end of a tiring workday is a notebook that I need to hold down with something, so this feature ended up being one of my favorite things about the journal.

I also enjoyed the lightweight Tomoe River paper. Although I'm not a fountain pen user, it took my Uni Ball Signo gel pens beautifully as well as brush pens with no bleed-through. The way the pages crinkled with watercolor and gained volume as I used them only added to the charm for me. I often found myself flipping through the journal to relive memories, which was a great tactile experience. 

What didn't work?

I used the A6 size this year, which was okay for writing down highlights and snippets of the day, but was never large enough to use as a proper planner. I make detailed to-do lists and scribble ideas all the time, so I knew I wouldn't be able to make it work as a catch-all journal.

There were other features in the Hobonichi that I personally didn't care for, such as the daily quotes and special pages in the back that I never used. The quotes at the bottom of each page took up space and I didn't hesitate to write over them if I needed to, which defeated their purpose of being there in the first place. The pages in the back (e.g. Time Table, Favorites, My 100, etc.) were not useful for me and I wished they were converted to additional blank pages instead.

Will I use it again next year?

No. Daily journaling, as rewarding as it can be, is burning me out. After six months of consistent usage, I'm ready to use something else on an everyday basis.

Traveler's Notebook


What worked?

At first I was wary of the size, but the fact that it was a perfect fit for brochures made it a breeze to use as a travel journal. I had fun collaging and doodling along the travel ephemera as well and would pick the TN hands down out of any journal I have to go with me on a trip.

The leather scratches easily but is sturdy, and I've enjoyed seeing the wear build up on mine to form a unique patina. I have a long way to go before the leather really ages, but I find it intriguing that each TN will have the mark of its user.

Being able to repurpose it into any kind of system I want with different inserts also appealed to me. Aside from taking it with me on vacations, my olive TN has been my creative outlet since June. The cream MD paper takes a large majority of pens and stamp inks I have without any issues, and I've used it to draw everyday objects, practice my cursive handwriting, and plan these blog posts in detail. The variety of inserts allowed it to be whatever I wanted it to be.

What didn't work?

I didn't have any clips to hold down the pages at first, which became troublesome. Especially with a new TN and inserts that needed breaking in, the right side of the journal kept popping onto the back of my hand as I wrote, which was not ideal. As time went by this problem lessened and I've found fun clips to use since then, but I remember being hesitant in the beginning because I prefer journals that open flat.

Will I use it again next year?

Yes. The versatility of this system means I can always swap out inserts to try different things. The availability of undated inserts is also a plus, as I can stop using one and return to it later if I want to take a break and experiment.



What worked?

One of the main reasons I picked a Leuchtturm for work was for its table of contents. I found it really helpful for finding important notes from a meeting or project milestones that I had discussed with my team.

The durability was also great. I've had my Leuchtturm grid paper notebook since May and have used it every single day at work since then. I've tossed it into my handbag, left it open all day on my work desk, and carried it to countless locations and it has held up extremely well.

What didn't work?

As I was being trained on the new job and began to take on more projects, the fact that this Leuchtturm came with no monthly or weekly layouts held me back from loving it wholeheartedly. I briefly looked into their planners but decided against it after seeing that none of them had a combination of pages I liked (between monthly, weekly, daily, etc.) I had to make peace with creating my own monthly spreads, which then helped me realize I probably wouldn't enjoy bullet journaling. It was oddly taxing for me to have to do it each month, even though it took me less than ten minutes per spread.

Will I use it again next year?

No. I realized I need a more structured notebook for work with timetables to keep track of meetings and how I spent my time during the day.

Changes in 2018

Now that I know I will not be using the Hobonichi Techo or the Leuchtturm again, I have a few changes to make before I can finalize my 2018 setup. The beauty of an analogue system is that there are so many options out there to try, and I'm excited to settle into a great, new set of journals for next year. Stay tuned for updates!