Filofax for the future

January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the days when apple and blackberry were generally accepted as types of fruit and mobile phone was almost an oxymoron, the Filofax was king.  No self-respecting yuppie would be seen without their trusty organiser tucked under their arm.  The bigger the Filofax the more self-important they were perceived as being. 

Against this back-drop there were other brands of organiser offering a similar list of inserts but some had moved time management into a more sophisticated arena offering training courses to help managers optimise their time.  The concept is relatively simple.  Using either A5 or A4 sized organisers, you use the day per page with appointment times as your detail timings, the week to view as your bigger picture and your month to view as your project-planning format.  Notes could be kept relating to each meeting attended and all of your contact details would be stored in the appropriate section.  Key to the success of the process was to even book time for yourself and refuse to take phone calls at certain times of the day.  In principle some fine ideas but in reality to take the concept at its full value you needed to plan in time to plan everyday and very few of us could afford to refuse to take an instruction from a customer or superior and not taking phone calls was open to misinterpretation. Negatives aside, the concept was at least thought-provoking with a significant number of ideas being incorporated into daily business life.

Jump forward 25 years and many of the concepts being promoted at that time are relevant today.  Even with the development of the mobile phone with its PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) capabilities it is operated by a basic on-off principle.  Digital equipment of any description doesn’t do ‘about’ or ‘nearly’ or ‘something like’ but humans do.  Enter the 21st Century Filofax. Used in conjunction with a mobile phone, you can keep your diary with you all the time and working in pencil you keep a basic record of appointments giving you an overview.  The detail can be transferred to your PDA with details of all participants, locations, and associated information.  But making that first appointment in a room full of colleagues, a flick back and forth through several months of a diary is much more efficient than scrolling through screen after screen of minutiae.  An exchange of business cards is a simple case of slipping it into your Filofax for safe keeping before transferring to the PDA in the peace of your office. 

Filofax: A great opportunity to combine digital technology with traditional planning

Filofax: A great opportunity to combine digital technology with traditional planning

When planning a project, a few simple continuity lines linking days or notes in a margin can indicate that there is ongoing, long-term work as well as the day-to-day appointments.  If it doesn’t happen for in whatever reason, you can simply extend the project line without creating a rigid framework that involves major redesigning of your plan. There can also be the added notes like, ‘don’t forget the wedding anniversary’ without the audible alert at 10 am on the day before that you simply turn-off and forget again!

There remains a great opportunity to be able to combine digital technology with traditional Filofax-like planning to get the best out of life.

Filofax products are now available on-line from and in our retail concession PenFountain @ Beales of Worthing.

Rhodia goes for brand extension

July 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rhodia, the French paper and pad producer, is making significant strides in its campaign to make the brand a fashion icon on par with Moleskine.  From our trials, Rhodia papers are significantly better than the Moleskine offering in terms of their fountain pen performance in that they are less prone to line-spread, spidering and show-through.  However, Moleskine’s market penetration has left Rhodia a little way to go.

While challenging for the paper crown, Rhodia has looked to other areas to support their brand-building with the introduction of a range of personal luggage.  Stamping their black and orange house colours from their pad range onto the new laptop bags and holdalls has made them immediately recognisable and potentially, quite iconic.  Bringing their reputation for quality, presentation and performance across into the new market has been a shrewd move.

Rhodia Laptop Backback

Rhodia Laptop Backpack quality with style.

The laptop backpacks, laptop messenger bags, and holdalls are produced in a hard wearing, black brushed fabric that gives the exterior a deceptively soft feel.  The stitching is in contrasting orange thread with black leather details added as subtle highlights to the black of the fabric. Although competitively priced, the quality is good with no loose, bright orange cottons whispering all over the lush, black fabric while the webbing, handles, and zips are also tidily fitted.  Further practicality comes from the base of the bags where protective metal studs are fitted.

Opening the new bags requires a pair of sunglasses to be worn such is the intensity of the orange but we suspect this will tone-down quite quickly with use.  The interiors are fitted with an array of pockets, straps and pen loops, all of which are well thought-out.  However, unlike the Rhodia pads, we would not recommend testing for ink line-spread or show-through with the bags.

Next time you’re looking to buy a trendy, new bag for business or college, we would recommend looking at the Rhodia range to match your stationery!

Rhodia Webnotebook test

June 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Much has been written about the importance of the writing surface to produce the best results for your fountain pen.  We have recently been exploring this issue with a view to improving our writing pad offer at  We have opted for the Rhodia range of papers and pads in preference to the much hyped Moleskine. 

The pad illustrated is the A5 Rhodia Webnotebook, a perfect bound notebook with 192 pages of brushed vellum, 90gsm paper, rigid cover, and elastic strap.   Because of the weight of ink delivered, we have used a Conway Stewart Duro with Medium Italic nib to demonstrate the paper’s performance.

Rhodia Webnotebook ink handling

Close-up of ink line on Rhodia Webnotebook paper

  The line is exceptionally wet and, even with this performance, there is no bleeding-through of the ink and even show-through is negligible.

Limited show-through on Rhodia Webnotebook

Reverse of Rhodia Webnotebook page

Such is the the performance of the Rhodia Webnotebook that a customer recently travelled quite some distance to purchase a Caran d’Ache Leman fountain pen from us and whilst in the shop tried the Rhodia Webnotebook.  He felt that having spent quite a significant amount on his pen, and having recently treated himself to a Moleskine, couldn’t justify further expenditure on the Rhodia.  However, having got home and pondered over it, he couldn’t resist the temptation and ordered the Webnotebook on-line the next day!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with notebooks at Penfountain's Blog.