Shinola has often been heralded as the American Moleskine–high-quality journals and planners made for an on-the-go lifestyle. Affordable luxury, really. Shinola isn’t only a journal company, it is primarily divided into three manufacturing areas: a watch factory, a bicycle workshop, and a leather workshop. Shinola makes high-quality, luxury products with an eye on revolutionizing American manufacturing. They set up shop in Detroit, the place known for American manufacturing. Their message on their website is:
We know there’s not just history in Detroit, there is a future. It’s why we are here. Making an investment in skill, at scale. Creating a community that will thrive through excellence of craft and pride of work. Where we will reclaim the making of things that are made well. And define American luxury through American quality.
Their devotion to quality is not a ruse–I have had a Runwell Planner, and several journals from Shinola, and I have always been happy with their products. Right now, Shinola’s website does not currently have the Runwell Planner for sale, but the planner can be found in lots of local bookstores and stationery stores, as well as online retailers like United by Blue and Read Between the Lines. This planner is a clean 5.25″ X 8.25″ with 60lb. paper in off-white.
Shinola’s blog, The Journal, delves into the behind-the-scenes aspects of their products and has a post on how Shinola’s journals are made. I really dig their commitment to showing the manufacturing process behind their products, and like that they support local companies when they do outsource the manufacturing of their products.
This planner is portable and compact but still holds 18 months of content. The beginning pages include a nameplate page and a title page for the Runwell Planner, then goes into my favorite birthday calendar design ever. Dates are lined up at the top and the days of the month are on the left-hand side, leaving a handy grid of boxes to write in the names of your friends and family. It is such a neat and organized birthday calendar and I just love it.
Also included in the beginning pages is a years-at-a-glance calendar for the length that the planner runs–July 2017 to December 2018. There is some blank space at the bottom of the second page in this year overview where you can write down important dates, future plans, or a key for however you plan on using the year-at-a-glance.
Then the planner goes into July. The two-page monthly spread is simple and functional, providing a Monday start and fillable boxes for each day of the month. The spread also includes a left-hand sidebar with mini months-at-a-glance for the month preceding and the month following the current spread. Below those is a key for the icons Shinola uses to depict the moon’s cycles. Important dates/holidays are depicted in italics on the day of the month when they fall.
Both the monthly and weekly spreads have a blank space at the top of the page, like a large margin where you can write inspirational quotes, monthly tasks, reminders, or whatever else you may like. You could decorate it with washi, even!
The weekly spread is a little more complex, despite how simple and spacious it appears. The blank section at the top is great for writing in quotes, which is how I used my 2016 Runwell Planner. This particular spread comes from when I was in graduate school, and I used this 2016 Runwell Planner to take around with me on the go. I usually split the daily boxes into two halves–to do, and to note. I used the top section to write in an inspirational quote for the week and used other spaces like the spot above the mini month-at-a-glance to write in which week of the term it was. (At my University, the terms were 10 weeks and a finals week).
The weekly spread contains seven controlled spaces for each day, plus a blank rectangle space at the front of the spread for any notes, reminders, to-dos, or whatever plus a mini month-at-a-glance calendar with the current week highlighted in gray. The weekly spreads also include facts from American history, like “The first commercial radio station begins operations in Detroit, Michigan in 1920” on August 20th, or “Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is established in 1919” for February 26th. Personally, I think those details are a lovely touch.
The weird thing about the weekly spreads is that they aren’t always the same. Let me explain. The weekly spreads are beholden to the monthly start. If a month, like August 2018, starts on a Wednesday, then the first week of August will include the Monday and Tuesday spots in a grayscale font without dates. The weekly spread will always be Monday–Sunday. (This was not always the case and it was very confusing–I’m happy Shinola changed their formatting to address this! Check my 2016 Runwell’s weekly spread to see what I mean.)
Once you’ve gone through all the months and weekly spreads, the end of the planner includes a generous portion of lined Notes pages. There is also a folder glued into the back inside cover of the planner for any bits of paper you want to tuck away.
The Shinola Runwell Planner comes in a few different colors. Past colors have included salmon pink, forest green, red, black, and navy blue. The cover material is always a lightly scratchy fabric that holds up well over time and use. The front of the planner is black except for the year, which is embossed in black. You can also choose to monogram the planner for free on the Shinola website! Which is an awesome feature that lets you personalize your planner with no additional cost. The embossing is in silver in the bottom right-hand corner of the front of the planner and uses an all-caps serif font. It looks pretty stylish.
The back of the planner simply includes the Shinola logo in black embossing. This planner also has a black ribbon for marking your place, and a sturdy black closure band that keeps your book together. The 18-month version of the Runwell Planner is a thick book (3/4″ thick–which is pretty beastly for a compact journal planner).
The font throughout the planner is crisp and minimalist. The main headers like month names are in a bold, all-caps serif font, while the days of the week, numbers, and smaller details are in a clean sans-serif font. I’m a pretty big fan of mixing font styles as long as the outcome is clean and crisp, and I think Shinola does this pretty well.
However! Just because Shinola has a very monochrome color scheme and designs does not mean that you can’t spice it up with colorful spreads like @summerspacestudio!
This is a planner for someone who wants to throw their planner into a purse or bag and run off to attend to their busy day. It’s a sturdy, affordable planner at around $26–which is pretty good for the quality craftsmanship and full 18 months that the Shinola Runwell Planner offers. I used this planner as a portable way to track my tasks, keep light notes, and refer to for random due dates and reminders. I loved the portability and functionality of this beauty. Primarily I used this planner to keep track of my tasks, meetings, and reminders for my Graduate Teaching Fellowship in grad school where assisted with teaching a class of 70+ students and always had questions to answer, assignments to grade, and organizational tasks to complete. The Shinola Runwell Planner worked beautifully for bringing to class and jotting down quick notes and tasks.
Two of my friends–Brad and John–use the Shinola Runwell Planner as well. They are both in graduate school and have a myriad of tasks, assignments, reminders, meetings, and classes to keep track of. John originally purchased his Shinola planner because his notebook wasn’t enough to handle the specific deadlines and dates by itself–he needed a little more structure combined with portability. Brad, well, Brad mainly uses a large Shinola notebook as a bullet journal and has a Shinola planner because I gave him one for Christmas. (They make wonderful gifts, by the way, because you can monogram them!) Brad uses the Shinola planner to keep track of due dates and other details but keeps the bulk of his planning and organization in his bullet journal.
The Shinola Runwell Planner might be right for you if you need the structure of a planner to handle deadline-driven assignments, reminders, and important dates, but don’t need a planner to tell you how to organize your life or accomplish your goals. Both Brad and John use this planner in addition to other tools–bullet journals, notebooks, digital calendars, digital to-do lists, etc. Frankly, I used my Shinola planner in addition to a more structured planner, as well. If you have been looking for a compact planner to take on the go because you don’t want to lug your large life-encompassing planner with you everywhere, then the Shinola Runwell Planner might be right for you.
This planner would also be great for anyone who loves loves loves minimalist and stylin’ notebooks and wants a planner to match that aesthetic. Minimalist planners may enjoy this simple system and clean, malleable aesthetic. This planner is also unisex, multi-sex, however-you-identify-sex. It isn’t obviously marketed towards men, women, or non-gender-binary folks. In a world where so many planners have a target audience of women, it is a little refreshing to see a planner that can fit into a multitude of styles, identities, and uses.
I love this planner’s big clean boxes in the weekly spreads. I really liked being able to divide up my box in whatever way suited me best. I also love the style of the simple, classic notebook and the monogramming option. This is a planner I could give my husband, my sister, or my parents without worrying about whether it would be aesthetically catered specifically to them. It’s a flexible, classic design and I think that Shinola will continue to utilize and perfect this planner as the years go on.
Honestly, my biggest nope is that this planner isn’t complex enough to handle my life. I wish that the Shinola Runwell Planner was all I needed. I really do think it’s a fantastic tool and a beautifully, thoughtfully designed notebook. But I need a little more–a little more space, a little more funcitonality, and a little more help setting and following my goals and projects. But if you don’t need that, then this is a perfect planner for you.
There you have it! My review of the Shinola Runwell Planner for 2017-2018! I hope that this was helpful to you if you are trying to pick a planner to gift someone, or thinking about picking up the Shinola planner, or even trying to justify multiple planners. 🙂 It’s okay, I’ve totally been there. Do you have a Shinola planner? Any questions about what I did/did not address? I would be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments!
I am giving away this planner as part of my Birthday Celebration Giveaway over on Instagram (@plannerisma)! Giveaway closes on October 7th at midnight, so if you want to enter for a chance to win this little beauty then head on over to my Instagram and check out the details!