Thursday, January 17, 2008

My New Year Babies

I recently posted an entry showing photos of my new Starbucks 2008 planner. I actually did not write anything to describe the planner, except say “Here are some photos of my New Year baby...” Days after I posted that entry, a friend showed me her new Jollibee planner which prompted me to get one too. Well now, I got two planners that I oh-so love that I’d like to write about them as my first seriously written entry for 2008. (God, I’m really a sucker for these things…)

Now meet my New Year babies…

For purposes of comparison, I’m going to write a simple review of both planners using the following criteria: cover material and design, paper used in inside pages, inside pages design, binding, size and portability, and oh, freebies. This comparison though, does not mean in anyway, a preference for anyone of the two.

Cover material and design:

Starbucks: Soft tanned leather, which according to Starbucks, is made of real cowhide. Images of leaves (which are also printed on the inside cover) are stamped on the leather, on the front part of the cover. A small piece of leather is sewn on the middle right part of front cover, together with a wide elastic band to keep the planner intact. Stamped on the leather are the words “STARBUCKS COFFEE 2008”. [For a Moleskine lover like me, this elastic band is a runaway winner.]


Jollibee: Thick and sturdy laminated board. On the cover is abstract art which is predominantly red. On the bottom right part of the cover, printed in red is “Jollibee”. This planner also has a bookmark which is very useful in locating pages. [But then, yes, I will be honest and admit that this Jollibee planner is a rip-off of the Starbucks’ 2006 planner, which incidentally, is my first Starbucks planner. The laminated cover, perfect binding, and discount coupons placed in pockets at the back cover page just screams Starbucks.]


Paper used in inside pages:

Starbucks: A lot of previous users are disappointed over this year’s planner’s paper. Well, so am I. The paper used for this year’s planner is not the smooth type they used in the previous years. This year’s is somewhat thicker, but grainy and pulpy. But let us not call it “cheap” and “below standards”. Starbucks chose to use a different paper stock. That’s it. But yes, I’m disappointed because now, I cannot use any of my 0.7 Pilot G2s and my Parker Vector fountain pen to write on my Starbucks planner because the paper’s grainy quality just bleeds them to death! Oh, well. Now I must use a different set of pens.



Jollibee: For a first-time production, Jollibee did an excellent job in using a special paper stock for its planner’s inside pages. The paper is smooth, so easy to write on, and very similar to the paper stock used for the 2006 Starbucks planner. Jollibee’s paper is not as thick, though, so that what’s printed (or written) on one side is visible on the other side. Again, due to this fact, I won’t be able to use any of my .7 G2s, Parker Vector FP, or even my set of MonAmi Gel Pets. All I could use on it are Pilot G4 Techs, or if I’m in the mood to go ballpoint, I could use my Inoxcrom or the set of Faster pens I oh-so love.



Inside pages design (See above photos):

Starbucks: Starbucks has never failed to amuse me with the unique designs used in their merchandise, and of course, with the design used on the yearly planners. This distinct branding is very successful in making Starbucks a class of its own. The inside pages allow weekly views, and a page for notes is always provided at the end of any given month. Also, tiny bits of information about coffee are provided together with some personalized notes about Starbucks and its patronage. One low point here is that, they “recycled” an artwork from the 2006 planner. For you Starbucks planner users out there, find it out for yourselves! Haha!

Jollibee: Jollibee is simply amazing. [I know that’s a slogan for Smart Communications, but let me borrow it for Jollibee in the meantime.] In keeping with their tradition of promoting Filipino values, each month begins with a full-color image of Pinoy activities related to the particular month. Jollibee products are also included, but very well presented that it doesn’t look like a product ad at all.

Binding:

Starbucks: This year’s planner is ring-bound with a metal binder that is attached to the leather cover with two small screws. Pages can be easily detached from the binder. Now this can either be good or bad. For me, it works fine because I can easily take out the pages while I write on them, and return them to the binder when I’m done. To some, this may be tricky as pages can be lost when they are detached from the binder.

Jollibee: Hard-bound with a very sturdy spine. But I still prefer the ring-bound, though. No offense meant to Jollibee, or to any hard-bound or perfectly-bound notebooks [I’m a Moleskine user, remember?], but I have always preferred ring-bound [or spiral, as they are called here] notebooks through the years. I guess because they can be easily folded, and I can tear off pages easily.

Size and portability (See cover photos on top):

Starbucks: Height: 8.5 in.; width: 6.5 in; thickness: 1 in. Inside pages: 5.5 x 8.25 in. The leather cover makes the planner bulky and difficult to cram into smaller bags. But it’s portable enough to carry around. [I was able to carry last year’s Titanic planner, so what’s the problem with this one?]

Jollibee: Height: 8.5 in.; width: 5.75; thickness: .75 in. Well, I’m giving in. I have nothing more to say except that, yes, this planner is very, very, very portable.

Freebies:

Starbucks: A pencil and a set of Starbucks greeting cards.


Jollibee: A full set of discount coupons enough to last the year.


See the comparison now? Both planners have their low points, but hey, they do have redeeming qualities. But wait. Somewhere, there is a little demarcation between the two. I love writing business items on my Starbucks planner, while I prefer to write more “personal’ matters in the Jollibee planner. I enjoy using different ink colors in the Starbucks planner to color-code activities and events, while I noticed that I had, for two weeks now, written in my Jollibee planner using just a single pen/ink: my black .5 Pilot G2. The elegance of black ink on the ecru-colored paper is truly incomparable.

After more than two weeks with me, I found out that I do enjoy using both planners to plan my week (or months); write special events and activities; or to simply doodle on. I especially placed an emphasis on the fact that I do not prefer any of the two because somewhere, there are people who, in deference to one, resort to berating the other. But let’s not do that. Starbucks will forever be Starbucks, and lugging around a bulky planner with ugly paper and “jologs”-colored elastic strap will always be an “in” thing. And if we want the Starbucks planner, then let’s go for it. Forget the fact that we may need to spend close to 3,000 pesos in coffee enough to keep us awake for months. Didn’t you know that gulping gallons of coffee is not the only way to get your hands on that leather-covered planner? Have you ever been to eBay? (wink)

On the other hand, Jollibee’s serious effort to produce a classy planner deserves a 30-minute standing ovation. And yes, I called it classy because it is. As I said, this is very Pinoy, very personal, very close to our hearts. Maybe that’s the reason why I keep personal stuff in there aside from the ones I put in my Journal. But that’s another story. So if you belong to the hoard-anything-that’s-Jollibee generation, grab your planners now!

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