Color in Planners, a Dastardly Distraction, A Necessary Evil, or the Cat's Pajama's?

I've been designing planners as a hobby for going on three years now, and I just came across my first attempt in box in the attic.
(Ihaven't seen so many colors since I did that walk-thru of the Crayon Factory!
But it made me look at the planner I'm using now, black and white throughout, and it made me wish the darn thing wasn't so -blah-.
I'm currently working on a new one, the latest design, and would like to get some suggestions, and feedback for how best to proceed, and how far to proceed into Crayola Land!


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Well it depends :)

Color is very easy to do very badly, and then it would definitely fall into the "dastardly distraction" category. Even if you like it at first, poorly designed color is going to put too much emphasis on the planner and too litte on the plan-- and also may be reducing functionality rather than enhancing it.

However, color done *right*, on the other hand, can definitely enhance both the aesthetics and the functionality of the planner, and well-done color is *much* better than plain black-and-white-- so I guess that would be the "cat's pajamas" option.

The difference between creating well-done and poorly-done color is, I think,(how do I put this briefly?) a combination of a science, an art, and a matter of opinion.

Color is good in my book

I love having color in my planner and I actually wish that the templates here had a little more pizaaz. I mean, who really wants to stare at black and white all day long? I like it when planners have quotes at the top of the pages, or mountain landscapes as the background, etc. because it just makes me feel inspired and more creative. When I do have a planner that is "plain jane" like my Moleskine, I usually do alot of doodling and use different color inks or print the templates on colored paper. By the end, it probably looks like total chaos, but I guess that fits my personality!

I like the templates as they are, but

you could run the pages through your printer again before you cut them down, and print an image on the pager. Or print the images before you print off the templates. And there's lots of decorative paper at the office supply stores you could adapt.

I agree that planners can be made more visually interesting--I'm planning to print some family photos and scatter them throughout my planner for next year. And for my college-age daughter I'm making up a planner with clip art for the holidays and photos of the campus and her dog and family members to make it more inviting for her to maintain (she's not very organized).

But one reason I don't like the planners available commercially (especially Franklin Covey) is that a lot of the space on the page is taken up by elements I don't like or don't use or find distracting, like the motivational sayings and the strong colored borders. I like having all the page available for writing because I like a spread that gets the week onto one page, so I need every square inch of the pages for notes. And the scenery seems to confuse and distract my eyes when I'm looking back for something--it's better for me to have pages that are clean and white to start with.

I am constantly bemoaning

I am constantly bemoaning the lack of color in planners. I simply love color. That being said, I agree with the others in that it has to be done nicely.

I have taken to designing my own planners as well, as I am exasperated at not being able to find what I am looking for.

A few years ago, I had the Poetica Weekly planner by Day Runner which I absolutely loved. They no longer make it in the 5x8 (or so) size that I prefer. The color and quotes were subtle, so they did not distract.

I'm working on a design and construction of my own for my 2007 planner. Still looking in the outside world, though!

ps. Actually, beautiful planners do exist, but invariably they are far too expensive for my budget!

I know this is an old

I know this is an old thread, but i thought I would put my two cents in. I usually write everything in black biro when possible. Then with thin felt pens and coloured pencils (and of course, my favourites.... HILIGHTERS) I colour code everything to easily decorate and distinguish between things.

Adding colour to the DiyP forms

Anything is possible, given the drive and the correct software. For example, if you have Photoshop, you can import the PDF files, and then change the colours to your heart's content. You can even import some mountainous landscape or sunset scene as a background, since the background of the PDF imports will be transparent.

As for my personal opinion of colour, I generally like it in small doses. In fact, my first draft of the DiyP (née GTD Planner) was black, white, gold and red. This was quickly abandonned once I saw the problems with printing on multiple printers, and especially laserjets. Heck, even the current black & white templates have required several hundred tests on a multitude of printers to get them looking readable on different configurations. Any adding of colour would increase this difficulty ten-fold. :-(

That all being said, when the Widget Kit comes out (yes, we're still working on it), you'll be able to add colour easily to the forms you construct.

all my best,

monochrome settings

Hello! If you have a color inkjet printer, this may work for you: I have a Canon PIXMA MP800 color printer, and I've been playing around with the different settings. One feature I've been having fun with is called "Monochrome Effects", where you can basically tint everything in shades of sepia, blue, green, pink, or any other color you can choose using a sliding bar. I don't need to alter any of the DIY templates at all. Instead, I print them out in a "monochrome" color (kinda like the opposite of setting your printer to print in "grayscale"). I've been printing out calendar pages in blue, notes pages in sepia, shopping/budget pages in green, action pages in get the idea :)

Hope this helps!

monochrome settings

ooh, fieryfairy, I would love that. I have an HP printer, and so far I have not seen an option to print in the manner you described (although I do have the grayscale option). I'll have to do a little more research.

Coloured papers and other stationery

Coloured paper and stamps are my favourite way of incorporating colour into a planner.

I found oddments of parchment paper and subtly coloured blank A4 and A5 stationery in sale bins at stationer's shops and the local printer's.

However, I only use the coloured paper for specific parts of my planner. Mostly those parts that don't change daily like my monthly calendar pages, long-term goals/tasks lists, etc

And I use small novelty self-inking stamps to mark large tasks complete on my long-term lists - currently I'm using a tiny purple smilie stamp. It's not 'corporate' but it suits my sense of humour.

color me happy

I'm planning on incorporating some color into the templates I design ... I just need to get some more practice in with the OpenOffice gear.

I know in Word you can add a watermark... You can also insert an image and change the opacity so it is nearly transparent. The results from both of these methods can be quite stunning. Also, the microsoft clipart selection on their website is amazing.

Meanwhile while I'm in "practice mode" for form design and hPDA usage... I like colored pens like Sakura GellyRolls. (Sakura product list) Also, colored index cards are nice :o)

my artwork