This absolutely gorge planner comes from Emma Kate Co., a Melbourne-based petite design studio pioneered by Emma Kate herself. Emma Kate designs and creates cards, banner art, gift tags, art prints, and more. Her brand is a mix of stationery and lifestyle products and, as it says on the website:
Simply put, we’re in the business of making days all over the planet – for customers, virtual visitors, creative clients, and everyone in between.
The Write Your Own Adventure Planner had its first printing for the 2017 year after a successful Kickstarter. It was created for creatives, by a creative. Emma Kate did extensive research within her community to craft a relevant, unique product and continues to listen and reach out to her community of planner adventurers to improve her creation. She made a video for the 2018 version of the planner that does a great job of highlighting some of the planner’s features and rationale behind the design choices:
A similar message is attached to the 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner:
The 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner came in three cover designs/colorways: blush, grey, and black. Emma Kate Co. is sold out of all but the black planners, which you can find here. These planners cost $53.64 AUD ($40.79 USD) plus international shipping if you’re outside Australia. International shipping is a flat rate of $20 AUD ($15.21 USD). So, if you’re in the USA, getting this gorgeous planner in your hands would take about a week and a half and cost you a total of $56 USD.
This lovely book measures 7.9″ x 6.5″, and about 0.75″ thick.
I came across the Write Your Own Adventure Planner randomly and followed Emma Kate Co. in Instagram for a little while before reaching out to her about reviewing one of these unique and beautiful planners. She generously worked with me to send me one so that I could share it with all of you!
This planner’s high degree of function actually comes from a minimal amount of structure. The monthly and weekly spreads are barebones (in a good way) to provide you with a backdrop for your dreams, thoughts, plans, and schedule. You can use this space however you like–there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
The first few pages of the planner are fairly simple. There is a mostly blank page where you can write your name and/or whatever information you would like. You also get a lovely message from Emma Kate in her unique lettering style, encouraging you to “live creatively,” among other warm and positive sentiments.
Emma Kate gives you two year-at-glance pages beside a dot grid page. I love this setup because it gives you the year-at-a-glance and then a bunch of space in juxtaposition–you can use it however you like, to map important dates for the year, keep track of academic schedules, highlight deadlines, etc. Emma Kate gives you both 2018 and 2019, so you can future-plan.
Then you jump into the months. All of the months are located at the front of the planner, together. The layout is fairly simple but takes up most of the space on the pages, which means you get maximum space for planning in each box. This monthly layout is a Monday start, probably because Emma Kate likes giving you spacious weekends. Lots of life happens on the weekends! Indeed, the weekend boxes are wider and can fit quite a lot of information!
The monthly spread also includes a decent amount of blank space at the top of the pages, as the name of the month in lettering sits nicely in the top lefthand corner. I really like this monthly layout because it manages to both provide lots of white space and utilize the maximum space for the daily boxes. Each monthly spread also includes a message in Emma Kate’s lettering.
The Write Your Own Adventure Planner does not come with any added important dates or holidays. So if you’re counting on your planner to remind you that it’s Mother’s Day, you’ll have to write that in ahead of time. The beauty of this approach (similar to that of Get To Work Book’s) is that you aren’t beholden to one nation’s holiday schedule, so to speak. You can add whatever is important to you, not what is on the standard Australian or American calendar.
Then you get the weekly spreads! These are very thoughtfully designed with a lot of feedback from Emma Kate’s 2017 planner users. This is a vertical planner and just provides you with a long column of space with three lined boxes at the bottom. Each day has a blank spot alongside the date, giving you a potential heading for the day or a space where you can write important dates. The weekends are wider boxes but not as long, giving you a nice weekly box in the bottom righthand side of the spread. This box is blank and can be used for whatever you need: notes, habit tracker, gratitude, journaling, weekly tasks, etc.
Emma Kate’s lettering is on every page, providing bursts of inspiration, quotes, sayings, or messages of positivity and adventure. The upper righthand corner of each spread provides the month and which week it is (out of 52 of course). Because these weeks flow seamlessly into one another (they aren’t interrupted by a new month spread, for example), then you don’t have any blank days or spaces on the weekly spread.
At the end of the planner you’ll find 26 dot grid pages for notes, or whatever you would like to use them for. I love the Emma Kate added so many of these pages, and that they are dot grid. This gives them a certain sense of flexibility–you can practice bullet journaling, create spreads for your yearly to-read list, health goals, and more. This planner leaves a lot of space for you to adapt it to your life.
The 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner came beautifully packaged. Surrounded by tissue paper I unwrapped this gorgeous keepsake box.
I got the planner in grey, so the keepsake box matched that color scheme, which I thought was a lovely touch. The message inside the planner is repeated on the lid of the keepsake box in rose gold foiling, and loots absolutely stunning. I love the sticker that Emma Kate Co. uses in her packaging–“I think we’re a match.” So cute. Can’t even. Then you get a welcome card with an equally tongue-in-cheek welcome–“Well, you clearly have great taste.” This seemingly simple and sweet packaging really gives you an immediate feel for the character of Emma Kate Co., which is playfully elegant, a little spunky, and full of joie de vivre.
The cover of this planner (in grey, at least) is a smooth matte laminate board with “two thousand and eighteen” lettering in rose gold foil, centered. There is also a delicate arrow. The words are repeated on the spine of the book as well. The cover feels smooth and does pick up your fingerprints or detritus, but is easy to wipe clean.
The inside of the planner is a blush pink with what looks like a gentle watercolor pattern and some of Emma Kate’s lettering along the bottom. The back interior cover has the same pattern with a small note from Emma Kate: “For the curious wayfarers, sun seekers, misfits, adventurers, dream weavers, nomads, happy wanderers, lovers.” On the inside back cover there is a pocket folder affixed with a pattern of delicate arrows. The pocket is super sturdy and bound with fabric.
This planner comes with three ribbons to mark your space(s). The ribbons vary in color depending on which planner you get, but the grey version comes with ribbons in grey and blush. The planners are a ribbed material which looks and feels hefty but gets a little bulky near the top of the planner.
This planner is a portable, lightweight book that is easy to carry around wherever you go. The size is fantastic, and I’m slightly surprised and impressed that Emma Kate Co. managed to fit an entire year into such a slim volume.
The interior pages are a creamy off-white and feel textured. They smell like fresh-cut paper, which I happen to enjoy. The text used throughout the planner is Emma Kate’s hand-lettering, which is a unique script that you won’t find anywhere else. There is something a little magical about her lettering because it manages to be both whimsical and clean at the same time.
Space is an important theme for the Write Your Own Adventure Planner, and this is reflected throughout its pages. You have long columns of blank space that are open for however you’d like to use them. You could separate your days by appointments and tasks, or use these spaces to keep an ongoing gratitude journal or daily log. The possibilities are endless!
Emma Kate’s lettering is entirely lowercase, which adds to the charm of the planner while also giving it an air of informality. The numbers throughout the planner are in a serif font and sit comfortably behind a backslash that frees up the rest of the line for whatever you would like to write in.
Pen test time!
The paper could be a little better–I love the textured way that it feels and it is truly a pleasure to flip through. It’s thick paper at 120gsm, but it’s porous and draws the ink out of pens in a slightly fuzzy way. Don’t use your super inky pens and be careful with felt-tip pens because they might pool on the page a bit. Markers and highlighters ghost and you should never use a Sharpie Permanent Marker on these pages because it will certainly bleed. I most enjoyed writing with Le Pens, ballpoint pens, the Pilot Acroball F, and pens that are a 0.4 mm or finer tip. I do want to reiterate that the paper quality isn’t bad–it’s actually quite good–this paper (much like the Simplified Planner’s) just ghosts a bit.
This planner would be perfect for someone whose life and schedule always feels up in the air–traveling for a year or eat pray love-ing it? Great, this planner would make an excellent travel companion. Its structure is loose enough to adjust as you do to each new place. This planner would also be great for someone who travels frequently, whether it be for work or pleasure. It’s lack of “important dates” that are already written in means that you can set your own calendar of important dates for what matters most to you.
This planner would also be fabulous for creatives or people who currently reside int he gig economy. Change it up, and often? Bring this planner along to help you transition smoothly from one facet of your life to the next. Need un-lined space to just make your own? This planner would be fabulous for you.
I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants a beautiful but portable planning option. This planner is light. It is compact, portable, and minimalist in its design and binding. It’s easy to bring along as a purse planner, or carry to and from work. If you are a student, this planner would work well for you. You might not need all the goal setting stuff that comes in other planners–you’re in school, your goal is to finish school. Duh. In that case, the Write Your Own Adventure Planner is a great book for carrying around your schedule of classes and assignments, mapping out your breaks, and doodling inbetween lectures.
This planner would be a great fit for someone who doesn’t just write–do you like to fill your days with illustrations, art, or doodles? The Write Your Own Adventure Planner has the open space for you to do that. If you want a planner that is going to make you smile when you open it with lovely lettering and uplifting messages, then I would recommend this planner to you.
If you gravitate towards planners because you desperately need structure in your otherwise chaotic life, then this might not be the right book for you. This planner doesn’t prompt you to set goals or fill out something each day or anything like that–it’s simple, minimal, and spacious. I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs lines to write on or just doesn’t know what to do. I also wouldn’t recommend lots of stickers in this planner because it is casebound and will become untenable if it gets too packed with stickers.
I love the open format of this planner, and how light and portable it is. The typography throughout the planner is delightful, and the rose gold foiling is beautiful. I love the way the paper feels and the minimalist approach to the design that still feels playful and charming. I also love the ethos of space and flexibility that this planner offers. Emma Kate Co. has a definite brand, and this planner falls within it perfectly while still being a product of evaluation and careful design. I love that Emma Kate is dedicated to making a planner that is consistently improved by feedback.
I wish that the ribbons were a smoother material because then they would fold better into the pages. The ribbons Emma Kate uses are lovely but ribbed, so they get a little bunchy at the top of the planner binding. Some of the weekly pages were slightly off with the dates. This did not impact the entire planner. I contacted Emma Kate about the problem and she said that it was something that happened on rare occasion with the machine they use for printing. They quality-check every planner before it goes out but don’t have the capacity to check every single page, which is understandable for a small team. She informed me that any and all planners that have this issue are replaced immediately. The customer service at Emma Kate Co. is excellent and they are quick to respond to any questions or issues.
There you have it! My review of the 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed exploring this gorgeous book with me! If you have any questions or pointers that you think I missed, please leave a comment! I would love to hear from you! 🙂
Until next time!