In-Depth Review: Design Love Co. 2016 Planner

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016

You've probably seen the 2016 Design Love Co. Planner all over your favourite bloggers' Instagram feeds, but how is it really? As someone with an obsessive-compulsive streak who prizes function over fashion, I was skeptical at first that it would meet all my organizational needs, but it turns out I was wrong! Meeting Design Love Co. founder Marissa Cristina and seeing a sample last fall inspired me to get my own, and I'm so glad I did. Whether you're curious about the planner or you want to get yourself organized for 2016 and make it your best year ever, consider this your in-depth, firsthand look at what's inside those blue-and-marble covers.

How months and days are organized

The most appealing aspect of the Design Love Co. Planner is how each month is laid out. Marissa Cristina has combined the best of Pinterest-worthy design trends with years studying organizational tips and planners on the market. The result is as practical as it is pretty.

Each month has its own tab, and right before it there's an inspirational quote. The quote is perforated so you can tear it out and pin it up or frame it if you like.

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Inspirational tear-out sheet.

The page after the tab lets you set overarching goals for the month.

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Monthly goals list.

The following two pages are for monthly bills and expenses, budgeting, to-do items, and your own custom lists.

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Monthly pages.

Next, you have a two-page, full-month view. As a blogger, I find these two pages most useful for planning my editorial calendar.

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Month at a glance

Each Monday to Sunday week has a whopping four pages devoted to it, which means plenty of space to write things down, scribble them out, and write down more things as plans change. The first two pages for a given week are dedicated to daily to-do lists. As someone who draws little check boxes next to things when writing in a plain notebook, I love being able to check off the circles beside each item. (And yes, I really was so behind on reading all the magazines I subscribe to that I was flipping through September and October issues at year's end!)

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Weekly pages.

The next two pages are solely for time-based appointments. Each weekday is broken out into morning, day, and night sections, while weekend days just have one section. As Marissa Cristina explained, this way you can see at a glance if you have workouts, dental appointments, coffee dates, lunch plans, etc. and not double-book yourself. Brilliant!

In-depth review of Design Love Co. (now rebranded as STIL) annual planner 2016. Weekly pages.

Each month concludes with two note pages for anything random you need to jot down.

Other features

  • A Goals For The Next 12 Months page lets you list all your major goals for the year (wedding, travel plans, moving, etc.), broken down by month.
  • A one-page Birthday Calendar lets you jot down whose birthday is in each month so you remember to send them a card.
  • Things I've Accomplished This Year and Things I Want To Accomplish Next Year pages encourage self-reflection at the end of December.
  • There are three pockets (two at the front, one at the back) for business cards, receipts, and notes.
  • A tear-out packing list lets you tick off essential items before your next trip.
  • A tear-out recipe page lets you leave your significant other directions to get dinner started.
  • A tear-out blog planner page has spaces for jotting down ideas, to-do items, sponsor info, promo codes, and a checklist of social media and proofreading steps.
  • More detailed tear-out to-do lists are also included.
  • All the tear-out sheets are also available for download online if you need more.

What I love about the Design Love Co. Planner

It's really pretty. That's obvious, isn't it? It looks stunning just sitting on my desk.

It feels durable and good quality. The hardcover is sturdy enough to survive a year of being tossed into totes and on desks, while the paper is thick and the pages don't stick together (a major pet peeve of mine).

The goal sections prompt big-picture thinking. I really liked opening the planner to the Goals For the Next 12 Months page right at the start of the year and envisioning the major things I wanted to accomplish. The monthly goals sections also encourage me to do the same on the first of the every month. It really helps one see the forest instead of the trees.

There's lots of space. I hate having to squeeze things into teeny-tiny squares with other planners because there simply isn't enough space to write everything down. Not a problem here.

There are a lot of blogger-friendly features.

Everything is in one place. I can track my spending, goals, daily to-do lists, appointments, and blog stuff in a single location.

What I don't like about the Design Love Co. Planner

It's big and bulky compared to other stylish planners on the market. At 6" x 8" and about 1.5" thick, it can feel cumbersome to tote around.

The tear-out social media/website login info page is a terrible idea. Any IT professional worth their salt will tell you not to write down your passwords where someone can find them. Using the Forgot Password functionality on websites to reset your password is more secure.

It's expensive. At $65 USD and with shipping and handling and the lousy exchange rate, the Design Love Co. Planner can cost up to $100 Cdn. Keep an eye out for sales: I purchased mine during Black Friday when it was 30% off and I've seen other 20% and 30% off promotions floating around on Design Love Co.'s Instagram.

Shipping was slow. I ordered my planner during the Black Friday sale at the end of November and received it about a month later, which according to Marissa Cristina is typical of the super busy Christmas season. However, during the rest of the year, order processing takes 1-2 business days; shipping within Canada 3-6 business days; shipping to the US 3-4 business days; international shipping 6-10 business days. Although my planner was slow to arrive, I have to give Marissa Cristina major props for being helpful, transparent, and prompt in her replies to my inquiries throughout my impatient waiting.

I'm curious: How do you plan your life? Through a combination of online tools (Google spreadsheets, Evernote, etc.) and phone apps? Or are you a paper planner kind of gal? Would you try the Design Love Co. Planner?

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