The Planner – a Stationery Endeavor



I start my workday pretty much the same way, by grabbing a sheet of paper and scrawling out all the things I want to accomplish. My method is to write down everything in my head. Once it’s on paper I can stop obsessing and start working. Of course I am overly ambitious, and by Friday my desk is cluttered with piles of half completed lists. I needed a better way to plan my workday and projects. I tried tons of analog options. After spending a small fortune on pretty, but non-functional planners, I was at a loss. Nothing worked for what I needed. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and am so excited to share Parse & Parcel’s very first stationery endeavor – The Planner.

Created out of pure necessity, this desktop planner checks every box on our list. The format provides creatives with a different way to organize and plan. Designed to be multi-functional, The Planner can be used to schedule your weekly list of tasks and to-do’s or help with planning projects. Featuring a linear format with five columns each sporting a blank heading space, you can fill it in with whatever you want – date, project name, site metrics or meals. The linear format is softened by using dotted rules and larger squares for lengthier notations. There’s even dedicated room for sketching, with the bottom third of The Planner featuring a grid.

All this variation meant a lot tweaking and perfecting. We worked for weeks, trying to get every detail right. We tried different grid weights before settling on the final one. And getting the size of the dotted rule to feel good took a bit of work. I knew I wanted silver foil to make it feel extra special. That meant considering how the foil stamp would affect the line weight of the header type, and those dots in the rule couldn’t be too small either. Then there was the bellyband – all I know is thank goodness we work in the sample studio. Molly and I went through a dozen or so iterations of the bellyband. Getting the spacing, sizing and placement of the text just right so that it worked with The Planner pad itself was not easy.


Once we had the layout of the pad completed it was time for actual dummies. I knew the paper had to have some tooth to it; it needed to feel good using a pen or pencil. So I selected Mohawk Superfine Eggshell in Ultrawhite. We initially thought we’d use 100# text, needless to say I didn’t even need to construct the dummy before I knew that wouldn’t work. Just counting out the sheets I knew it was much too heavy.Certain 80# text would work, I made a dummy up, padded it and all. Guess what? It was still too heavy. We ended up using 70# text.



At this point I thought The Planner was complete, so I asked my friend Cara who is a rep at Oliver Printing & Packaging here in Cleveland to take a look at the file and provide an estimate based on my specs. In addition to the silver foil, I told her I was thinking digital printing because of my quantities. She suggested printing offset, as it would be less expensive given the page count. I furnished a dummy for her as well, and in a day I got back pricing. Later that week she brought the proof for me to sign off on. I just needed to order the paper and we were good to go. Or so I thought.


All along I planned on creating this piece for our subscribers, it would be one of the pieces included in the spring issue of The Parcel. It wasn’t until I put the actual paper sample dummy in The Parcel box that I realized something was missing. I hadn’t thought about the unboxing process, how the piece would be presented to its recipient. I normally attach a hangtag with production notes to each piece, and thought I’d do the same for The Planner. But after seeing it in the box, I knew the hangtag would detract from the piece. Plus The Planner looked a little naked sitting in the box – it needed dressing up. Enter the bellyband.


Figuring out the size of the band wasn’t an issue and I knew I’d use a black textured stock. But that band had to feel as special as The Planner itself, yet couldn’t detract from it. I initially thought I’d add silver foil, it would definitely add pop. But it was a belly-ban that was in all likelihood going to be discarded at some point, and honestly I didn’t have the budget.

This is when having a print rep you know and trust is so critical in getting the greatest production value. Cara sent me some print samples of a poster they did on Classic Crest Epic Black Stipple featuring silver metallic ink. That was all it took. One look at the print samples and I signed off on the proof and we were on to production.


Less than a week later, I got to go on press to see the hot foil stamping in action. It was awesome. While I was there, I got to check out Oliver’s sample department filled with tons of amazing print samples. And best of all, these were real jobs that they produced in-house, so I got a better understanding about the type of work they specialize in and quality of their craftsmanship. In this case it’s offset and digital printing, UV printing, foil stamping, embossing (they produced the blind embossed sleeve for the first iteration of The Parcel) and packaging – plus a ton more. I also got to see their fulfillment center and kitting operation, which was pretty impressive.

A few days later, The Planner and bellybands arrived in the sample studio – all that was left was assembly. I have to say this was one project that was as much fun to see produced, as it was to create. They say the devil is in the details and there were a ton of details involved in what appears to be a pretty straightforward project.


Subscribers to The Parcel got to experience what all that planning and execution of the details actually looks like, firsthand, in the spring issue.

Of course you can see for yourself how The Planner turned out, subscribe to The Parcel and I’ll ship yours out today. But don’t wait too long, the spring issue (here’s a peek below), and The Planner, stop shipping soon.



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