2019 Karen Adams Designs Agenda

I am pleased to bring you my review of the 2019 Karen Adams Designs Agenda! Last year, I reviewed their 2018 agenda–I ended up giving it to one of my coworkers at my old job who saw it on my blog and fell in love. Another coworker also noticed it and loved it–it was a huge hit at the office!

Understandably so–the Karen Adams Designs Agenda is a hefty daily planner perfect for your office or home desk. It is beautifully designed to be functional with just a bit of whimsy. This isn’t a goals-oriented planner, but rather a daily canvas that helps you manage appointments, tasks, and priorities.

Karen Adams herself was born in Memphis, Tennessee but spent much of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan and moving around. She went to the Rhode Island School of Design for college and afterward moved to New York City to work in apparel design. She launched Karen Adams Designs in 1999, and now lives & works in Memphis, Tennessee. Karen Adams Designs creates calendars, beautiful cards, invitations, and more. 🙂

“I want to be clever, innovative, classic but in a fun way. I want people to smile or laugh and feel good.” -Karen Adams

I reached out to my contact at Karen Adams Designs, Wallis (who also happens to be Karen’s daughter) and asked if they would be interested in another collaboration this year. They said yes and kindly sent me their 2019 planner to share with y’all!

The 2019 Karen Adams Designs Agenda is a daily planner and comes in one cover option, but it’s a beaut! It retails for $44, but is currently on sale for $28.50–an absolute steal!

Function

This is a 12-month daily planner with a few extras but no substantial goal-setting component. This can be perfect for you if you don’t need a planner for goal-setting but want to keep detailed track of your days!

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All Karen Adams Agendas come with a page of hand-drawn stickers in the front! You get a mix of holidays, appointment-related, and seasonal stickers to add a pop of color to your pages. I think they’re delightful! You also have a pocket folder on the inside front cover for storing any loose papers or the like. Each agenda comes with a note of welcome from Karen Adams as well, annnnd a pocket folder on the inside front cover!

 

You have a few pre-planning pages that are situated and easy to find in the front of your planner. You are greeted with a nameplate page that includes the dates your planner runs (January–December 2019) and a beautifully drawn frame to write your name and information.

Next, you get a My Passwords page. Karen Adams provides a few prompts (Email, Facebook, etc.) and a generous lined section for whatever else you would like to record. Of course, it’s usually a bad idea to write down financial account information, but it’s a great tool for remembering your super complicated password for your library account or social media. The next page is My Goals for 2019. This page has a simple layout that gives you 14 lined spaces to list your goals. Each line has a circle that you can check off when your goal is completed!

The next page is for keeping an ongoing list of Must See Movies and Must Read Books! The lines are broken into columns for easy separation. I always love when there is a space for keeping track of movies/books to see or read during the year–people give you recommendations and it’s so handy to whip out your planner and jot them down so you don’t forget! Then you have a page for Dates to Celebrate! I really like how Karen Adams Designs did this–you have a lot of dedicated lined space for writing out exact dates. The pages covers twelve months, each with their own lined column.

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Next is a page for all the 2019 holidays! I really like that the day and date have been included here, because sometimes it’s really nice to know which day of the week a holiday falls on. Then you have a year at a glance page with mini calendars for January-December 2019.

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Now we are into the calendar pages! The monthly spread is clean with a touch of artistic whimsy. The name of the month is presented in script font at the top lefthand side of the two-page spread. On the lefthand page you also have a lined column for notes. Above the Notes column is a drawing from Karen Adams herself! I love the light-lined art that Karen Adams creates–the 2019 agenda has less decoration on the monthly spreads than 2018, but I like the clean and simple aesthetic it presents.

This monthly spread has a Sunday start, so weekends aren’t paired together. Dates are tucked in the upper lefthand corners of each daily box and holidays are noted in small text where they fall. There are also two mini calendars–one for the month behind, and one for the month ahead.

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This planner includes daily pages for Monday-Friday and a shared weekend page. The daily page is neatly designed and organized. You get an inspirational quote each day, which I’m always fond of. The day and date are provided at the top of the page. There are two small sections directly under the day’s header–Today’s Top 3 Goals and To Do for Myself. You get three lines for each section. Today’s Top 3 Goals are given prioritizing numbers from 1-3. The To Do for Myself box just has three lines, which means you can list three things or write out one thing. I love this section because it can be so easy to forget to take care of yourself when you have busy days with lots of appointments and tasks.

The bulk of the daily spread is made up of two columns–Today and To Do. Today is a space for writing down appointments or your schedule and runs from 6am to 9pm. I do really like that the numbers don’t include am or pm–you can utilize this schedule space whether you work the day or night shift! The To Do column has space for a list with circles to check off on each line. Below these two columns is a small, horizontal, blank space for Notes.

Weekends share a page, so you’ll see Saturdays and Sundays stacked, each taking up a little less than half the page. You still get your daily quote for each weekend day, and a To Do list. The Today column doesn’t have appointment times on it but rather provides a lined space to write in appointments or notes as needed. The bottom of the shared weekend page has a Next Week section where you can jot down important things happening in the coming week. This lets you see your upcoming week at a glance!

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Your planner continues in this vein until the end of December. Karen Adams Designs includes the January 2020 (!!) calendar at the back of the planner to give you some space for planning ahead into the new year!

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The planner ends with several Notes pages. These are wide-ruled, lined pages that you can use for whatever notetaking needs you have!

Aesthetic/Design

The Karen Adams Designs Agenda is a large daily planner with plenty of writing space and a clean (if a bit whimsical) design aesthetic. The planner comes in a sturdy, gorgeous white keepsake box and is lovingly packaged!

 

This year, there is only one design option for the Karen Adams Agenda. The cover design is hand-drawn by Karen Adams and includes gorgeous, light motifs of flowers, leaves, and a garden. There are two dalmatians holding a banner where 2019 is written in a gorgeous script. Personally, I think that this cover design is unique and elegant while also being eye-catching. The back cover is designed in thin layers of multi-colored stripes. It goes with the front cover without distracting from its design or adding enough images to give the overall look a cluttered feeling. You have the Karen Adams logo centered at the bottom of the back cover, as well.

The Karen Adams Designs Agenda measures 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ (including the spiral). This makes it a little larger than the more traditional coil-bound planner size of 7″ x 9″. You get gold metal protective corners to prevent your planner’s edges from getting malformed while in use. You also have an elastic band that keeps your planner closed! The wire-o binding is a gorgeous bright gold and holds the planner together smoothly.

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One of the unique features of the Karen Adams Designs planner is the artwork that you find on each monthly spread. Karen Adams is an artist and incorporates her drawings/designs into all of her products, which contributes to the overall consistency of her brand. These gorgeous drawings correspond with the month they are set it–April has a sweet bird perched on a newly flowering branch–Spring is here!

This planner uses three main fonts. You get a sans serif font for all the numbers in the planner, a serif font for most of the body text, and a script font for headers. For example, monthly spreads include script font for the name of the month and the title of the Notes column section. I love the thin-weight script font that Karen Adams Designs selected this year–it is crisp and readable with just the right amount of playfulness. It almost looks like someone wrote it in with a fine-tip pen!

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Holidays are dappled throughout the planner, in addition to the Holidays of 2019 page you get at the beginning of the book. On the monthly spread, holidays are presented in a lowercase serif font, but they appear in the upper righthand corner of the daily spreads in sans serif.

Thin lines separate sections of your daily pages, which keep the look clean and spacious. Most of the lines are wide rule, which works wonderfully for very large handwriting but gives me far too much height for each line.

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Like the 2018 edition, the Karen Adams Designs Agenda has colorful tabs to mark your months! The colors do not repeat, so each one is unique. The colorful tabs jive with the color scheme of the front and back covers. I love opening up this planner and seeing a pop of color on the tabs! The tabs are laminated and include the first three letters of each month in gold foil. The covers of the planner are big enough that they completely cover the tabs, which protects them.

Overall, this planner has an elegant aesthetic that combines carefully sectioned calendar pages with touches of whimsy and artistry. 🙂

Fit

Pen test time!

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Quick note–the inside back cover of the planner includes a lovely quote: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” This helps you move into the new year with a sense of accomplishment and optimism!

On to the pen test!

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I can’t seem to find any information about what type of paper Karen Adams Designs uses for this planner, but it is a bright white paper with matte texture. Inkier pens will ghost, and fountain pens like the Pilot Varsity will even bleed a little bit. I thought that the Micron pens did super well on this paper without much ghosting. Highlighters will ghost a bit but can still be used without bleeding through the paper if that’s how you like to plan! Personally, I enjoyed finer felt tip pens (Le Pen, Micron) and ballpoint pens on this paper.

Is this the right planner for you? Let’s dig in!

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If you want your planner to be functional but with a spark of personality, then this planner might work for you. The artistic touches are cheery and the colors fun, while the functionality of the planner can be kept as regimented as you like.

If you want a daily planner but you don’t need tons of extras, then this planner would work well for you. There isn’t goal setting to keep up with all year, trackers, check-ins, or reflections. It is a simple daily planner with room for managing your schedule, your to dos, and yourself. This planner would also be a great option for anyone who does want to set goals, but prefers to use a separate system to do so (like Power Sheets).

If you want a sizeable work planner to keep at work, then this planner would work for you. It’s simple enough to keep track of your daily work life without barraging you with too many extras. This use of the Karen Adams Designs Agenda has been tried and tested at my previous job, and at least two former coworkers are starting their 2019 with this planner. 😉

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I would recommend this planner for students and professionals alike. The blank Notes space at the bottom of the daily page is perfect for writing down due dates for assignments or projects, writing out homework, or jotting down a quick note or question. The schedule column is great for keeping track of multiple meetings/appointments/classes, and can help you visualize and organize your days. The To Do column is lengthy and can fit lots of tasks and reminders!

This planner would also work well for you if you have large handwriting, prefer pages in black ink so you can color-coordinate or decorate as you please, and/or need a schedule that doesn’t ascribe to AM or PM time allotments.

I would not recommend this planner to someone who really wants goal setting to be a big part of their planner. Karen Adams Designs Agenda has a page for yearly goals at the beginning of the planner, but doesn’t really guide you on how to settle on what they are or break them down. If you need your planner to be more than an agenda, then you might want to look for something a bit more specialized. If you need space for self-reflection and/or goal tracking, then there might be a better option for you elsewhere.

Loves

I love the art in this year’s planner! The cover is gorgeous and the monthly drawings are small but delightful to come across. I love the sticker sheet that you get with your planner too. This year’s header script font is just beautiful–I think it was an excellent choice! I love that the planner is a simple daily planner without too many extras or frills–but at the same time, I also love the Watch & Read page where you can keep track of recommendations or shows/movies/books you would like to read. I’m always super happy to see a page like that in a planner–where better to jot a recommendation down than in your planner? 😉

Nopes

I don’t think that the sans serif font is necessary! Three font styles (nonetheless choices) is a lot, and I don’t think the sans serif and serif fonts are used distinctly enough to make a huge difference. I also like the serif font and think that it goes better with the overall aesthetic of the planner than the sans serif. I also wish that the lines were a tad tighter–wide rule isn’t my favorite, as it tends to dwarf my handwriting. Personal preference, of course. I also think Karen Adams can get away with paper that is a bit thicker! I think it would improve the luxe feel of the planner. 🙂


There you have it! Finally, my review of the 2019 Karen Adams Designs Agenda! I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again for your patience while I moved across the country, had a crazy holiday season, and begin to settle into a new city & new home. ❤ Y’all are the best!

Questions? Just want to say hi? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time!

xoxo,
Ara

2 Comments

  1. JenJ

    Awesome review as always. I love the simplicity of this daily planner and the watch and read pages! Other daily planners have kind of intimidated me but this seems like one I could use and not be overwhelmed.

    Like

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