See what we recommend as the best 2020 diaries you can get for next year.
Despite their predicted demise at the hands of phone calendars, diaries have survived and thrived. For those of us still keen to carry around a paper planner of our life there can be several reasons why we prefer the analogue over the digital. They might include the ability to see the greater picture in one go, much like a paper map over Google Maps, or maybe the reliability – no danger of the battery running out. But I always feel that a date written down is better remembered than one typed into a phone and since there is evidence to suggest this is the case for taking notes on paper over typing on a laptop, I may be right.
But if you do favour a diary then which one is best? There are so many on offer these days with all different formats and sizes: should you go for small and simple? Or one with lots of space for additional notes? This is our list of the best 2020 diaries we have seen out there though in no particular order.
Leuchtturm Weekly Notebook
Once it was Moleskine that dominated the modern diary market but in recent years German notebook makers Leuchtturm have stolen a march on them with their bright colours and handy features. This is their most popular format in a week to view style with the days on the week in horizontal panels to the left page and a page for note taking on the right. As someone with limited appointments per day and a love of making to-do and reminder lists, I have found this to be the best option.
Size: A5 (Week to view/notebook)
Despite the name, Marks are actually a Japanese stationery company and their Storage.it diary range is unique. The format is a week to view but in vertical columns, focusing on appointment times so good for people with busy schedules. The real USP though is the clear zipped wallet that they come in which allows you to store other items such as pens, receipts, tickets and even your phone inside. There are lots of great cover designs to choose from and they certainly stand out from the crowd. No ordinary diary here.
Size: A5 (Week to view vertical)
This is a smart and relatively expensive diary made by Midori (more Japanese stationery) and favoured by true stationery aficionados, something of a cult item. It features Tomoe River paper, famed for its ink tolerance despite its extreme lightness, which means that although it is a day per page format, it isn’t particularly heavy or cumbersome to carry around. The graph paper allows for appointment scheduling if wanted and there is a planner page at the start of each month. Understated and simple.
Size: A6 (Daily)
Mark + Fold
This weekly diary is beautifully made and designed, the result of much consultation with users, so much so it won an award for its layout. The key is simplicity with minimal structure, the polar opposite to so many of the highly prescriptive journals on the market. The week over two pages is in vertical columns with space for notes at the bottom and unobtrusive clean text. The paper is heavyweight 120gsm ink-friendly paper and the thread-sewn binding allows it to lay completely flat. And because the print run is limited to 300 numbered copies, each carefully hand-wrapped in their London studio, you won’t see many of these around. Somewhat unique.
Size: A5 (Week to view vertical)
Rhodia 365 Perpetual Planner
From French master stationers Rhodia comes this undated diary, which means you can start it anytime you like but you will need to add the dates yourself. It comes with dot paper, tear-off corner pages, indexes and much more and has the popular diary to the left, note page to the right format like the Leuchtturm above. It also has the fantastic Rhodia smooth paper inside which inspires such devotion in their fans. Rhodia flirted with making diaries a few years ago and then decided against them so this should please lots of their fans.
Size: A5 (Week to view/notebook, undated)
Les Agenda l’Annee
This is a small paperback book-style diary, think more old-style Penguin size than modern fiction, and comes in a protective sleeve which can also hold notes and receipts and provides an ingenious page marker. The format is a week to view over both pages and there are also monthly planning pages. It may look at first glance to be French though it is actually Japanese and made by Hightide, but it is all in English with the exception of the subway maps which are charmingly incomprehensible. It is a great size for carrying around and looks very distinctive and chic.
Size: A6 (week to view horizontal)
Nahe Schedule Book
Also made by Hightide, this is the answer for anyone who wants a very small basic planner to record dates and carry about. Each double-page shows a full month to view and there are some note pages too, but it does require you to have small and neat writing as the space available is necessarily quite compact. It is very thin and light and could easily fit in a notebook but comes with a protective covering which again can be used to keep odd tickets and receipts in. All in English with the intriguing Japanese subway maps again.
Size A6 square (Month to view)
Moleskine Planner Diary
Moleskine is THE classic notebook brand and despite other names making inroads into their modern notebook model, they remain the most popular. Their 2020 diaries are still one of the cleanest and simplest designs and they offer several formats –weekly, daily and even a month to view. Their softcover weekly notebook (same as Leuchtturm above) in the extra-large size is in between A4 and A5 and a good compromise for those who don’t want a separate diary and notebook but need a decent amount of space. I used this for years and loved it but ultimately it doesn’t favour a fountain pen so well, the paper is a little thin. Great for ballpoints though.
Size: 19cm x 25cm (Week to view/notebook)
The name Filofax dates back to the 1920’s when the UK company was launched but its heyday was in the 1980’s where it became ubiquitous with ‘yuppie culture’ and everybody seemed to carry one. They are still around and still providing a flexible solution to managing notes, a diary and more in a single portable unit. The accessories such as tube maps and credit card holders make it more than just a notebook/diary, but it is the binding mechanism which allows for the moving around of notes that sets it apart from the competition. There are many choices to be made here – binder, size, contents etc and the diary format is but one of those. Choose from week to view, two weeks to view, simple planner – flexibility is the key here.
Size: A6-A5 (various formats)
RPS Weekly Desk Planner
Finally, for those who don’t feel the need to carry a diary around with them but like the idea of being organised at their desk, weekly planner pads are a good compromise. These tear-off pads can be used as a mousepad as well as a scheduler and jotter. They are undated so use them only when needed (save on holiday weeks) and keep track of appointments, weekly tasks and reminders.
Size: A4 (Week to view)
Availability – uncertain