Thing-a-Day 17: Left-Side Full-Size ETP Variant

Left Side ETP Variant

News from the Printer

Over the weekend I got an estimate of the production cost for full-size ETP Notebooks, and I believe I can afford to put them into production for 2015! I’m going to start with a run of 500 notebooks.

First, though, I need to make some prototypes. There are two contenders: a left spread and a right spread. Details follow.

Two Variations

With this notebook design, I am expanding the amount of note-taking area. This notebook is designed with a lot of room, so you can take a lot of notes during the day!

Let’s look at the two possibilities:

Right Side SpreadRIGHT-SIDE SPREAD This is the original design, adjusted though so the date is on the right edge of the spread so it’s easy to find dates as you flip through the book.

» Download Mockup 1


Left Side SpreadLEFT-SIDE SPREAD And this is the left-hand spread, with the ETP on the left. As you can see, I’ve also flipped the DAY GRID with the TASK LIST, so the extended notes area lines up with it properly.

» Download Mockup 2


Pros and Cons

There are several advantages to the left-hand spread, as you can work LEFT-TO-RIGHT, and the first page of the notebook is not an orphan. However, the LAST page will be orphaned. And also, all the other ETP designs do not use this layout.

Likewise, in the right-hand spread. the FIRST page will be orphaned (an ETP form without a corresponding note area).

Feedback Welcome

If you have some thoughts on which layout is better, let me know! I’m currently leaning toward the left-hand spread, because (1) it’s different and (2) I like the flow. With a double-wire binding, the notebook will lie flat so I don’t think it will be awful. I have asked the printer to make two prototypes though to confirm production details, so it may be a couple of weeks until we’re ready for the next step.



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12 Comments

  1. Kris 2 years ago

    Any thoughts on including some blank calendar pages? I love the ETP, but hated having to carry both my ETP and a calendar everywhere. I tried printing out calendar pages and using binder clips to attach them to the ETP. A clumsy solution at best. I finally gave up and went back to the using a regular planner (which is just so inadequate). PS: My vote is for the left-sided spread.

  2. Kevin McFadden 2 years ago

    Hi Dave, First things first: left or right spread, I’ll buy one of these puppies!

    That being said, my preference would be with a right-hand spread because I write with my left hand. A right hand spread would allow me to have a dashboard-like view of all the tasks and their chronological layout without having to look over my arm. I also love that you’re going to be using a double-wire binding to ensure it lays flat.

    At the end of the day, my feedback is merely a datapoint; a left-handed layout won’t deter me from getting one of these.

    Excited to see the final output! -Kevin McFadden

  3. Lynn O'Connor 2 years ago

    I tried to get the mock up of the right side spread, and for whatever reason the list of numbered tasks and what I’ve used for hard edged appointments keeps coming out on the right –i.e. I couldn’t seem to get the mock up of the right-side spread. I think I’d prefer the right side, because as you said, that way you can flip through the pages and see the date most easily. But either way, it should be very cool and us ETP lovers will purchase it.

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 2 years ago

    Kris: I like the idea of including blank calendar pages. However, that would also date the product so I wouldn’t be able to sell them after 12 months; I’d have to be doing wholesale volume I think. Maybe I can make STICKERS though!!!

    Kevin: I think you are saying that you prefer the ETP on the left side of the spread, unless you mean that you’d be taking notes and the ETP was on the right side of the spread, writing notes in the note area wouldn’t cover them up with your arm…?

    Lynn: I think the mockup of one of them prints out of order, but if you are printing two sheets you can just put it on the right side. If you’re printing it as a two-on-one print, it won’t work.

  5. Kris 2 years ago

    I think a calendar page without any months or dates would be great. It’s give the flexibility of starting any month in the year (my preference). No stickers needed (or wanted, to be honest.) From a marketing perspective, my friends/colleagues would then see my (your) ETP every time I pull out my calendar to add or check something. I just find that I need to be able to see each month (and all my appts, events, etc) in one shot. I do love (LOVE) the ETP, but didn’t like having to carry two planner items.

  6. Celenie 2 years ago

    Hi Dave, I love this! I would totally buy one. Perhaps you already intend this – but one thing that is super important for me personally is that this be a spiral bound notebook. I need planners to lay totally flat when I use them and also need to be able to reduce the square footage it takes up on my desk, as needed, by flipping one side behind the other. If that is the case, it wouldn’t matter to me which side the spread is on, though I believe the customary layout for most existing planners is your left-side spread.

    It is hard to find two page per day planners these days – I think they will sell well.

    Also – undated is awesome. I don’t use my planner on weekends consistently and I love saving the paper.

  7. Author
    Dave Seah 2 years ago

    Kris: So just a few blocks marked “January”, “February”, etc without any numbered dates? Maybe I could just add a few blank pages in the back instead? They are already gridded in a way that might work well for your application.

    Celenie: Yep, they will be double-wire bound, which lies flat and evenly! I am a big fan of that as well!

  8. Steve 2 years ago

    Either looks great but I’d prefer the left side spread as I’m left handed and would want it easier to write in the ETP form than on the notes page.

  9. Kris 2 years ago

    I’d prefer blank calendar pages, without the month or dates pre-printed. It would give me, and other users, the flexibility to begin using the product when I buy it. It would also save you the headaches associated with having to update calendars.

  10. Kris 2 years ago

    Oops…meant to add: your suggestion of blank pages in the back is what I had in mind. This why I would get the benefits of using the ETP process everyday, but still have immediate access to my calendar.

  11. Tatjana 2 years ago

    Experimenting with those at the moment. Last year I switched from individual 3T3 pages to booklets covering one month each (ETP 3T3 A5 printed 2up duplex to fold as A5 booklet) As monthly envelope and as a solution to the somewhat orphaned inner cover-pages I used a customized printout of the running compact calendar: * Front cover: Compact Calendar (from excel version, added some work relevant days,days off, …) * Front matter (inner coverpage): one page of TPT x sheets ETP 3T3 A5, (2up double sided A4, therefore each sheet each equalling 4 days) * Back matter inner cover: one page of TPT to jot down long term tasks to carry forward into the next month * Back cover: 7 day planner ( to keep track of time spent at the beginning of next month, in case I didn’t have the printout for next month ready)

    Evaluation: – The cover page 3 (back matter) more often than not was only used for note-taking. So a note-taking grid as in this mock-up would probably have been a better use of space. – While the monthly brochure works great for archiving and accounting for time spent, my kind of office-related work tends to follow a weekly rhythm, and the monthly organization clashes with that. So my current experiment reduces the brochure to reflect this and organize within the weekly pattern: a) keep the jacket with compact calendar and one TPT, b) have a fixed week printout configuration starting on Monday (date to be filled in). Pre-print schedule items recurring on a weekly base (Monday morning team meeting, …) c) use the left-side spread for Monday, since it gets a lot of notes and reminders, and single-page 3T3 for the rest of the week This results in Friday ending up on the back inner cover page and back cover page respectively, if Sat/Sun don’t need to be tracked, (2 A4 sheets for one week): CC,Mon-Mon,Tue-Wed,Thur-Fri,TPT or, if Sat/Sun each need pages of their own, it’s 3 A4 sheets for one week with an additional page for notes and the back inner cover page to fill: CC,Mon–Mon,Tue-Wed,Thur-Fri,NoteGrid-TPT for current week, 7Day Planner (Dash indicating facing pages)

  12. Author
    Dave Seah 2 years ago

    Kris: I’ll see what I can do about adding blank calendar pages

    Tatjana: Wow! Thanks for all your testing! I am going to have to mock up your mix of pages to see what it looks like in person.

A message from Dave:

I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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