Production Prototypes: Emergent Task Planner Mini Notebook Coming Soon

Production Prototypes: Emergent Task Planner Mini Notebook Coming Soon

Mini ETP Notebook I picked up the production prototypes of the Mini-ETP Notebook this morning, which you might remember from Day 27 of last month’s Product-A-Day challenge.

They’re pretty awesome! I confirmed a run of 500 notebooks with the printer, and they’ll be hitting Amazon US sometime in early April if there are no snags.

Mini ETP Notebook on deskMini ETP Notebook ThicknessMini ETP Notebook on desk The features of the Mini ETP Notebook were decided by the survey results; most popular in the US, according to my survey, was a vinyl cover ETP that was spiral bound in half-letter size. I modified those specifications to make the notebook 5.8 x 8.5 because it’s easier to slip a half-sheet of letter paper into the notebook and not have the edge stick out. Also, I went with double-wire loop instead of plastic spiral because it’s stronger and looks cleaner.

The cover is a black 16pt vinyl, which is not rigid but not too floppy either. You can see how the notebook bends in the middle photo above showing the thickness of two notebooks compared to my fountain pen.

Notebook Spread It will be printed offset in 2-spot color process, on the same high-quality fountain pen friendly paper on the full-sized ETP pads. The prototype notebook, incidentally, was produced using paper on a digital press using a regular 4-color CMYK process. Here’s the difference that 2-color spot makes, versus 4-color process:

Process versus Spot Color Click the image to see it bigger, otherwise you won’t see the difference. The sample on the left is 4-color process magnified using a macro lens, as it appears on the digital press prototype. 4-color CMYK is great for color photographs, but not so good on fine lines. For that, you need spot color, which is shown on the right. This sample is from a printed full-size ETP pad. You can see that the orange-colored details are SUPER SHARP, and even the half-toned blue lines are clean; a virtue of using a single halftone pattern as opposed to 4 of them. The ETP Notebook will use spot color and eliminate the halftones. It should look really, really sharp. The difference in clarity is, perhaps, imperceptible to the average user, but it does contribute to the sharpness of the product. Plus, I like knowing it is as clean as possible.

The notebooks will be available in April 2013, if everything goes smoothly! Much thanks to Papergraphics, my printer, for putting up with all my questions and sourcing everything to make this possible.


  1. Paul Brazdzionis 8 years ago

    I’d love to see this in the Levenger Circa catalog.

    I use your ETP sheets from Amazon in my Circa notebook. I only want to carry one notebook. I need blank sheets for taking notes as well.

    Great job. Wish you best success.

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    I’m going to email Levenger and ask them if they can print custom Circa paper in bulk.

  3. benjamin 8 years ago

    Can’t wait for it dave, I’m using the ETP and it’s really helping

    Thanks for your hardwork

  4. Lynn O'Connor 8 years ago

    Fantastic!! Let us know when we can order.

  5. Nancy 8 years ago

    Ditto Lynn O’Connor

  6. David 8 years ago

    I need this NOW. Can’t wait to order it!!!!

  7. Morgan 8 years ago

    I just found the EPT 8.5×11 and have been using it in my new job for the last week – came back to redownload the file (I lost the orginal) and saw the new notebook. I’m thrilled! It’s exactly as I would have made it and also I’m a Levenger user, so I’ll be happy if they accept your proposal. Keep up the great work David!

  8. Lynn O'Connor 8 years ago

    Just bothered you twice on twitter. First I send it out to everyone, then direct message to you. “I hope Dave Seah has his Emergent Task Planner (ETP) spiral book ready for purchase soon!” Maybe I was advertising, but I was also nagging you, just in case you needed a little whining from one of us. I have a new plannerpad (beginning in April), and I’m going to use that with your spiral bound mini ETP notebook together, to have a perfect pen and paper system, coordinated with my printed out Omnifocus “Context” Lists.


  9. Lynn O'Connor 8 years ago

    Also, while as you know, I use levenger as well, and my old “Next Action” book is levenger letter size, I really like the idea of this mini spiral bound note book because the pages won’t get lost, it will be great record etc. Go for it, get Levinger involved if/when you can, but also, get the thing printed out however you can, fast, so we can buy it.

  10. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    No response so far from Levenger regarding the production of Circa-ready paper. I may ask my local print bureau about it, but I have no sense of how big the Circa market is. Staples Business Services is another possibility.

    The notebook is in production. It’ll be sometime early April.

  11. Chad Morrison 8 years ago

    Hi David,

    Is there any chance this will be available in Australia?

    Kind Regards,

    Chad Morrison.

  12. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Chad: Shipping to Australia would likely be US$20 per notebook or thereabouts on top of the $15. I was thinking that to keep shipping costs low, international packages might be sold only in packs of 3, and I could possibly use shipping pickup to cut down on time.

    What do you think?

  13. Karina 8 years ago

    Can’t wait! This prototype looks EXACTLY like I envisioned it! Sturdy looking too and such great attention to detail :)

    Could I join like some email list notifying when this comes out? My schedule is hectic and I want to be reminded to purchase this when the time comes.

  14. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Karina: I’ll set up a mailing list.

  15. Andreas Matern 8 years ago

    Sign me up for the mailing list! How’s the status of the iPad app?

  16. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Andreas: Noted! I guess I’ll use MailChimp, which I hear is good.

    Status of the iPad app: It’s on hold because of great stormy winds of change in Germany! Hopefully I can get to it soon; right now I’m focusing just on getting the website in better shape to increase its usefulness (and thus add the ability to show tasty things that I’m designing to support this whole enterprise! :)

  17. Andreas Matern 8 years ago

    Good to hear – I’ll be picking up one of the notebooks, so be sure to do the mailchimp thing! And keep up on the app – I think it would be fantastic! Thanks for all your hard work. Here’s an upvote (doh, sorry wrong website)

  18. Stephen 8 years ago


  19. Teri 8 years ago

    +1 for the mailing list.

    I can’t wait for the planner to be available, and would love to buy them as soon as possible!

    Thank you, Dave!

  20. benjamin 8 years ago

    Hi dave any updates, can’t wait to use it !

  21. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Update: They should be back from the bindery today, and packed to ship in the next day or two. I haven’t seen them yet.

  22. Gary 8 years ago

    Looking forward to these and plan to buy four when they hit Amazon. Been checking every few days, but imagine it’ll be the end of April before they show. Hope 500 is enough! :-) And I don’t know how you’re packaging them (singles, I suspect at first) but would be nice to have four-packs since there is an annual aspect to using them. Thanks!

    You may also be interested in knowing that these, now that they are half-letter size, will replace my Day-Timer. I use your full ETP pads lately more than my Day Timer, and this new product marries the two nicely.

  23. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Mailing list has been added! Add your email address with this MailChimp signup form

  24. Lynn O'Connor 8 years ago

    I went to the web site, signed on, and have received no email in return??? I sure want those mini spiral ETP notebooks

  25. benjamin 8 years ago

    it worked I received the email back

  26. Michael Madsen 8 years ago


    Great – when will they be available on

    • kind regards
  27. Karen 8 years ago

    Great news! I’ve just ordered one. There are days when I feel I can barely function without an ETP sheet, but often I don’t use the full space. A convenient little notebook version sounds just right.

  28. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Michael: We are going to be losing the Amazon UK store, actually, due to lack of sales. I’m working on getting international fulfillment from the US working.

    Karen: Great! I hope you like it.