Fringe Studio is a bit mysterious. They are located in Irvine, CA (website says Irvine, product says Culver City, CA) but operate in wholesale distribution to other vendors. I’ve seen their products in many places, from Smithsonian’s gift shops to Amazon and Nordstrom. Fringe Studio is not specifically a planner company, but make gifts and stationary from notebooks to vases and trinket dishes. It seems that Fringe Studio is a studio insofar as they create original and artistic designs for their products, but they do not sell product from their website. You have to go through a distributor (there are many) or find them at a trade show. They’ve actually been around for quite a while as well–1999!
There is an Instagram for Fringe Studio (@fringe.studio) but not too much social media activity around the brand’s planners. I haven’t been able to locate a blog review of the planners, to even too many Instagram posts about it.
Fringe Studio does produce a variety of planning products, and this particular one is their 17-month agenda. Calling all dog lovers–how cute is this cover?! The size of this planner is 10″ x 7.5″ and 1″ thick.
The Fringe Studio planner is pretty functional. It has everything you would expect from a planner: monthly spreads, weekly spreads, notes pages, a year-at-a-glance, pocket folder, and contacts pages. Standard offerings there. So what sets the Fringe Studio planner apart?
I want to say cost, but that varies dramatically depending on where you buy this planner. Prices seem to fluctuate between $38 and $14, depending on the year, the style, the size, and the vendor.
Perhaps it is the graph notes pages, for the discerning planner who prefers to write on a grid instead of lines?
Of course, there are lined pages included as well, albeit at the end of the planner.
The Fringe Studio planner has a great size for a desk planner with plenty of room to write notes in your weekly spread and clean, monochrome monthly spreads. The monthly spread doesn’t leave much space wanting–it includes a decent-sized blank column on the right-hand side for any notes, which I like. I find that jotting stuff down on the righthand side of a page comes more naturally to me than reaching over everything to write on the left side, but that’s just personal preference. This planner really does try to provide as much room as possible for you to write in the daily boxes. It also includes a month-at-a-glance calendar for–you guessed it!–the month prior to the current spread and the month following.
The weekly spread is also monochrome–a dark gray and white. The days of the week are presented in a horizontal layout with lines that bleed all the way to the end of the pages. There is a small indication of the day and date, and a blank, narrow column under the date for any notes, important things to write down, etc. It isn’t a very big space, but it’s nice that it’s there. Important dates/holidays are included in italic font on the first line of the day, if applicable. There is also a blank white box at the top of one of the pages in the two-page weekly spread, where you could keep track of habits, write down something that pertains the entire week, or decorate.
Saturday and Sunday are combined into one horizontal box. I will say that this does not really allow much room for writing stuff into the weekend boxes–they are pretty narrow.
The tabs are gray and laminated to prevent tearing, and the coil is a standard Wire-O that does the job but isn’t as sturdy as, say, Emily Ley or Day Designer’s Wire-O coils. The cover is flexible and probably why the planner’s price point isn’t more, honestly. It feels like a thick coated cardstock but doesn’t have laminate or protective corners or anything like that. It’s not a bad cover–just not chipboard, hardbound, or a similar material to Plum Paper’s untearable/indefeatable covers.
One of the nice things about monochrome designs in a planner is that you are then able to use as much color as you want in your decoration because it won’t clash with a prescribed color scheme. Or, if you prefer the muted color palette, nothing is preventing you from carrying that aesthetic forward into your planning.
The font choices switch from a all-caps sans-serif font for headings and tabs to a slab-serif font (similar to Courier New) for days and important dates. The lines for the horizontal spreads feel like a traditional college-ruled size–nothing too narrow or too wide. The simplicity of the weekly spread’s design leaves a lot of room for your creativity–so if you are looking for a blank slate, this planner might be it!
Fringe Studio has many different covers, sizes, and styles of planners. Because their website does not have a shop (they wholesale only it seems), I couldn’t tell you how many planners they’ve released, where all of them are, or any of those normally standard details. You just kind of notice a Fringe Studio planner occasionally at Nordstrom’s or zulily. Even Amazon doesn’t seem to carry their planners, although other Fringe Studio objects are sold there. Anyway, what I mean to say is that I can pretty much only tell you about the design of this specific, doggy-themed planner. (Although I know that there is also a cat one!)
This particular planner includes original artwork of cute little dog faces against a soft blue backdrop. I love the way this planner looks, but I’m also a sucker for light blue. The dogs are interesting, as some look cute, some look confused, and some look a little sad. It seems like the artist included 8 different dog heads that form a repeating pattern. You definitely can’t escape the dog-theme of this planner cover. The cover also has “2018 Aug 2017-Dec 2018 Planner” in gold foil on the front, within a box also lined in gold foiling.
The cover materials seems a little flimsy to me–I wish it was hard-bound, chipboard, or laminate. I doubt it will hold up like-new against lots of use and tossing about. Will it still function? Probably, but it won’t look pristine after a bit. The inside of the planner covers is a very light brown with tiny white polka dots. When you open the planner there is a nameplate that says “FRINGE monthly & weekly PLANNER belongs to” and a space to write your time. This is also in gold foiling.
The paper used in this planner is pretty thick. It reminds me of The Happy Planner’s paper, being thick and matte with a little texture.
Okay, let’s start with a pen test since a few of you appreciated the one I included in my Day Designer for Blue Sky review! As the Fringe Studio planners are a little difficult to find information about, I decided to test the paper quality. I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the pens wrote smoothly on the paper, which doesn’t feel overly thick and has a bit of a matte texture quality to it. But the paper held up well!
I tried to get all the pens that I know our planner community loves–Pilot G-2, Pilot Precise V5, Papermate Flair, Papermate InkJoy, Le Pen, Staedtler triplus fineliner, Frixion, Sharpie pens, and more. *If there is a pen that you would like to see me test in future reviews, please leave a comment on this post and let me know what it is. I can always use more pens and am happy to grab a few requests to try out!
This planner paper held up well even with the Stabilo Boss highlighter, which is a pretty intense highlighter. You can see a little bit of ghosting, but the only obvious bleed through is (as always) the Sharpie Permanent Market in Extra Fine tip. The ballpoint pens had to be pressed down a bit when writing so they left light impressions in the paper. When writing, I felt the best pens were the gels. They wrote smoothly on the paper and were just a delight.
This Fringe Studio planner would be a good fit for someone who wants to leave their planner at home or doesn’t mind their planner getting a little beat up. It’s not a heavy planner–indeed, the lightness of the cover makes for an overall light planner. So it would be easy to carry this planner around without feeling the weight of it too much.
This planner is not a good fit for someone with busy weekends. If you are keeping this planner at work or using it mainly during the Monday-Friday work week, then you might not care that the weekend sections are super tiny. In that regard, if you are a student who is primarily looking for a tool to write down assignments, assignment due-dates, and not really in need of a planner that manages your extracurricular or schedule, then the Fringe Studio planner would serve you well.
I love the size of this planner–it’s big enough to write comfortably in without being too bulky to carry around. I also like the gold foiling details, of course! #foilme Again, also quite pleased with the paper.
I really wish that the cover was made from a more durable material. I think it would increase the value of the planner–probably both in price and in investment from the purchaser. The weekend columns are almost unusable in their narrowness, so I feel like they could use a redesign. And lastly, I feel like important dates/holidays on the weekly spread take up too much valuable lined space and could be better placed.
There you have it! The elusive Fringe Studio planner, reviewed! 😉 Do you have a Fringe Studio planner? Are there questions I didn’t address that you must. have. answers. to? Leave me a comment! 🙂