PurpleTrail (affiliate link) is a small company based in the Seattle, Washington area. It was founded in 2007 and has seen a lot of growth since it started as a custom invitation stationary business. I think that custom stationery and invitations (especially wedding-related) are still PurpleTrail’s main business endeavor, but they do offer a lot of paper products in their line-up. Notably, they have an awesome customizable planner line.
PurpleTrail started with a mission:
The PurpleTrail service is based on the idea that we are all different, and there is a designer within each of us. PurpleTrail provides the tools and inspiration, and lets you do the rest.
I wanted to show my audience (that’s you!) a customizable planner option, and so I reached out to PurpleTrail. They generously worked with me to send me a planner of my own design to review. I tried to include add-ons that were unique to PurpleTrail or that I thought were particularly useful so that I could report on this planner accurately. I think I chose a pretty excellent set-up to tell you about.
PurpleTrail lets you choose your own start month, so really you can order this planner at any time. I chose to have a January 2018–December 2018 planner, but you can pick any start month. There are 12-month and 18-month options. You can add up to four add-on sections to your planner as well. I chose: Notes, To-Do List, Appointments, and Games. There is also an option to include a double-sided pocket and/or stickers in the back of your planner. I decided to add both so that I could tell you about them!
There are three sizes to choose from: Tiny (4.5 x 6.25″), 6 x 8″, and 8.5 x 11″. I went for the middle option of 6 x 8″ and chose the Lotus Flower Mindfulness Planner cover design. As this is a customizable planner, the price point isn’t going to be the same for everyone. This means that you can get a planner for as little as $36.95 if you’re going bare-bones in 6 x 8″, or you can spend as much as $86.80 for a 8.5 x 11″ planner with all the options. I’ll go over the choices I made as we explore the planner, but the exact planner I got ended up being $62.75.
The functionality of this planner depends on the type of planner you are. There are multiple layouts to choose from (multiple weekly and daily), several add on options, customizable covers, and more. But whichever type of planner you are, PurpleTrail probably has an option that will fit you. 🙂
The beginning pages include a nameplate page, 2018 and 2019 holidays (American), and 2018 + 2019 year at a glance pages.
The nameplate page is simple, with a “This Planner Belongs To” header and plenty of space to write in your name and contact information. The PurpleTrail logo and website are at the bottom of the page, which means that they do not put their logo anywhere on the cover. The space to customize your cover is 100% yours!
The Holidays page is designed to pack a lot of information in, which it does. You get the holidays and dates for both 2018 and 2019. The page adjacent to the Holidays page is blank–you could put a vision board there, or write in yearly goals, or use that space however you wish! Then you get two pages for your years at a glance, one for 2018 and one for 2019. These are simple and colorful and provide a good spread for those of you who want to know what day your 2019 birthday falls on at a glance (mine will be on a Monday!)
Then you get into your months and weeks. Each month has a cover page with tab attached. The colorful option has a different color for each month, which is featured throughout the monthly and weekly spreads. The cover page includes the month’s name in large, bold text against a background in the color assigned to that month. The page itself is dot grid, which you can either leave blank or use to write in monthly goals, habits, or just decorate.
The back of the tabbed page is just dot grid, which, again, you can use however you please. The tab does not immediately take you to the monthly layout, but to this cover page. Then you get a kind of dashboard for the month ahead with a place to write in birthdays, events, and things to remember.
Then you reach the monthly spread. The monthly layout is simple with boxes laid out in a 6 x 7 format, which means that the boxes are evenly laid out every month, and the ones that don’t correspond to the dates are left blank. The boxes are perfect squares and roughly 3cm (or just a tad over 1″) in width and height. The righthand side of the spread has a long column for Notes.
The weekly spread (I chose a different month to show how the colorful layout works) that I chose was the Vertical option. PurpleTrail has several options, however, including Horizontal, Vertical, Vertical Hourly with 1-hour increments, Vertical Hourly with 15-minute increments, Three Section, and Quad.
The Vertical layout has columns of 24 dotted lines and a larger blank space at the bottom of each weekday. Saturday and Sunday share a column and don’t have any blank boxes. This is a simple but effective layout that provides a good combination of structure and flexibility. I personally plan to break the daily columns up into multiple sections. The weekly layouts also begin on the 1st of the month. Notice in the May spread above that there is no date for the column that represents Monday–this means that you get an extra column or three of space at the beginning of each month, depending on the day when that month begins.
Now for the extras! There is quite a list of add ons to choose from (the ones I picked are bolded): Notes Paper, To Do List, Password List, Bill Tracker, Check List, Graph Paper, Important Dates, Address Book, Puzzles & Games, Dotted Grid, Appointment Tracker, Student Check-List, Fitness Tracker, Nutrition Tracker, Account Tracker, Travel Itinerary, and Baby Tracker + Keepsake. Each add on is $3.95, so these can add up.
The Notes add on has a cover page in cardstock, same as the monthly cover pages throughout the planner. Then you just get notes pages with dotted lines, which are a little easier on the eyes than solid lines. This add on includes 24 pages of notes.
The next add on I selected was the To Do List. Again, you get the cover page. Just like the Notes section, you get 24 pages of lists. Each page has four lists, each with 14 lines. There is a low opacity green circle that you can check off to note completed tasks. This is a nice, standard format. I wish that the lists had space for a heading–it would be nice to have a blank space for the top line so that you could “title” your To Dos.
The third add on I chose was the Appointment Tracker. Again, you get the cover page. Since I chose the Vertical layout without hourly slots, I decided to get an appointment tracker to more easily record upcoming medical/dental/etc. appointments because you usually have to make them so far in advance.
You get 24 pages (I sense a theme!), each with four slots for appointments. I really like that this layout has consistent colorful themes but still has a different color for each appointment “box”–it helps to keep things separated. The appointment box has an option to check Medical, Dental, or Other with a blank space to write it in. Then there are sections for Date, Time, Who, Where, Number, and Address.
The last add on I chose was Puzzle & Games! I chose it because I think it’s a unique option. There are 4 pages of sudoku puzzles, 4 pages of labyrinth games, two pages for connect five (two player game), 2 pages for hangman, 2 pages for tic-tac-toe, and 4 pages of other half where you finish a drawing and can color it in. One last page (an answers sheet) is also included so you can check yourself before you wreck yourself.
One of the options you can choose to add to your planner is a folder and/or sticker sheets. I selected both (a $10 add on cost) so I could share them with you. The folder is a simple but heavy smooth cardstock with two pockets. It’s a sturdy folder and I’m impressed with the quality. Then you get three sticker sheets with lots of colorful fun & functional stickers.
PurpleTrail has three cover material options to choose from: 10 mil laminate (which I chose), hardcover, and synthetic soft with a frosted cover.
The 10 mil laminate cover helps the planner keep its shape while also providing protection for the pages. The tabs are covered and by the cover as well, so you get that extra layer of protection. This planner cover has curved edges (less stabby and less likely to get caught on things in your bag). These covers are not interchangeable.
I was super pleased with how my cover choice turned out–the colors are bright and gorgeous and the font came out crisp and clean. PurpleTrail has a very immersive and detailed customizer, and I was able to write whatever I wanted as well as removing the quote that originally came on this particular cover design. PurpleTrail has so many designs to choose from–you can easily spend a long time picking out and tweaking your options. PurpleTrail also has an account system where you can save the designs you create–whether you are half-way through or completely done. There are a number of font choices and add-on images/quotes (think planner-y clip art) that you can play with. I definitely spent some time exploring different designs before I fell in love with this subtle but gorgeous Lotus Flower pattern.
You can also play around with the back cover of your planner–I decided to keep it simple but you could easily add a quote, picture, etc. here to further personalize it and make it your own. The binding is a metal coil and is more flexible than, say, an Erin Condren coil would be (it doesn’t feel as stiff, rather) but is still sturdy enough to handle the book you create.
Now, if you’ve followed me here on plannerisma.com or over on my Instagram account, you know that I looooove a thick planner. There is something so reassuring about the bulk of a thick planner, I don’t know what it is. I am very pleased with how much content PurpleTrail is able to fit into their planners. Their planner has a nice heft while still maintaining portability with its size. I really like the 6 x 8″ planner size–it’s a little smaller than the more common 7″ x 9″ planner size, but the extra inch makes this book feel so much more portable.
The tabbed pages are a thick card stock, and the tabs themselves are coated in plastic laminate. They are a white background with colorful text, as each month is represented by a different color. It’s a clean look and makes it easy to find your place. I really like that the tabs are wide–they are durable and strong and pleasantly layered.
I loaded up on PurpleTrail stickers because I wanted to see how they would work in the planner and check out their quality before I recommended them. The sticker pages included in the planner are great and cover a lot of activities: work out, sportsing, party, holiday, date, list headers, etc. There are also stickers for birthdays, bills, errands, and more. The stickers have a certain stretchiness to them–they are easy to work with and feel durable. They are a glossy coated material so they will not tear easily.
I got the vertical layout, and noticed that the banner stickers fit perfectly on the page. I love the idea of using the vertical layout to create multiple columns, each with their own applicable heading, so I thought these sticker options were great.
This planner sticks with a sans serif font choice in multiple weights. If you choose the colorful option (versus neutral), you get a planner organized with color. Each month has a different color that is represented in the weekly and monthly layouts in the heading, days of the week bar, and the actual lines of the monthly layout.
This planner is also a little different from most in that the dates are in the lower right-hand corners of the daily boxes. I like this because it lets you evenly fill out your box from the top-down without running into a number.
I love these little birthday cake stickers, but unfortunately, they take up most of the monthly layout’s daily box in 6 x 8″ planners. That is definitely worth considering when you look around for stickers or use the PurpleTrail ones.
Pen test time!
Honestly, the Sharpie Permanent Marker (as always) had a little bleed through, but no other pen is visible once you turn the page. This paper is no joke, and handles highlighters, inky pens, and felt tip pens like a pro. I personally enjoyed writing with the Pilot G-2, Le Pen, and Papermate InkJoy the most on this paper.
The paper in this planner is very high quality. PurpleTrail uses an 80lb. writing paper that is bleed resistant and textured in a smooth matte finish. The paper is a joy to write on, and as you can see from the pen test, is resilient against most of the pens in my arsenal.
This planner would be a great fit for someone who really wants the most customizable cover options ever. If you saw the “PLANNERISMA” on my cover design and gasped because you would love a cover with your own name/tagline/etc., then this planner is definitely worth exploring. I highly recommend taking some time to investigate the PurpleTrail customizer. 😉
This planner would be a great fit for someone who wants a quality book on a budget–if you are going for a bare-bones options. The $36.95 price tag for a 12-month planner that you can customize is a pretty good deal. The planner does get more expensive as you add stuff to it, but this actually makes for a pretty accessible planner option for multiple types of budgets. If you don’t care about all the extras, then this planner doesn’t force you to have them.
I recommend this planner to those of you who want a thick planner that’s still easy to carry around. The size really is fantastic for portability without giving up too much space on the page. This would also be a great option with the Puzzles & Games addition for those of you who run lots of errands with or without children. While you’re waiting, work on a Sudoku puzzle. Let your kids figure out the labyrinths or occupy them with some of the simpler games included in this add-on. Even though I chose to have this planner start in January 2018, I’ve been carrying it around to occupy my husband with the Sudoku, which he immediately took to. Not that my husband is a child, but if it worked on him… 😉 (Pro tip: bring a pencil!)
PurpleTrail offers lots of different layouts, so different planner babes are going to prefer their planners set up differently. I do think that for those of you who need to maintain a strict and busy schedule, the Vertical Hourly in 15-minute increments is something that you don’t find often but would be especially helpful. I can just see a massage therapist loving that layout for keeping track of a busy day of appointments, for example.
Personally, I think that this planner is a fantastic size, but if you are looking for lots of room to write then you may want to consider the 8.5 x 11″ size. This planner is great for a light, compact, but functional option that you can fit your life into. I hesitate to do my standard I wouldn’t recommend this planner for beause there are just so many options that PurpleTrail has for you. There is a school add on for students, a baby tracker add on for new moms, & etc. But if I had to say then I probably would not recommend this planner for someone who wants a lot of content but is on a strict budget. $36.95 gets you the 12 months, but if you want all the bells and whistles then it can add up.
PurpleTrail has a cover customization plug-in that really lets you go to town with what you’re creating. You can do so much with their customizer. Although I did not deviate too far from the design I chose, I was incredibly impressed with how much control the customer has over how they want their cover design to look. I also love the bulk of this planner! It feels great to hold and carry around without being too heavy. I also love the coil–much stronger binding option than Wire-O, in my opinion. I have also never seen a Puzzles & Games section in a planner before, and added it because I thought it was a unique option. It isn’t even January yet, and already this section has been well-used!
I think that the printing could be a little bit crisper. I also wish there was an option for an elastic closure, even as an add-on, to better keep the book together when you’re carrying it around. I will probably use one of my Erin Condren elastic closure bands for this planner.
There you have it! My review of the PurpleTrail Planner! If you like the look of this planner, I have a surprise for you! My contact at PurpleTrail (shoutout to Josh!) was kind enough to provide me with a discount code for all of you! You can use the code Plannerisma10 at check-out to get 10% off your PurpleTrail order! 🙂 Just go here to start.
Anything I missed that you want to know more about? Do you have a PurpleTrail planner set up in a different way? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Until next time!