FranNerd is an illustrator and designer currently working in New York. I originally came across Fran on YouTube about 5 years ago where she makes videos sharing her illustrations and life. Over the last few years, Fran has been working on a series of planners. And I’m here today to review version two of her Open Yearly Planner.
Honestly, I’m so excited that I can actually do this. Like I said I’ve been watching Fran’s videos for years. It’s been fascinating watching Frans life over that time, moving from Belgium to Hastings and then on to New York. FranNerd has documented this whole process on her YouTube channel along with the design and release of her planners and other pieces of illustration work.
If you’re ever looking for artist vlogs to watch on YouTube I would highly recommend Fran’s channel. Her videos are always so well put together and they are a joy to watch. But now on to the planner review.
FRANNERD YEARLY PLANNER
Like I mentioned this is version 2 of the planner. There have been a number of changes to the design compared to version one. The first edition also came with a cotton slip and a pack of stickers. It’s a little sad those items were dropped but I think that came from problems while having the items produced. I can understand why Fran wouldn’t include them if they caused more stress than they were worth.
In a way, the planner feels very similar to the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. It’s an A5 size with a blue cover and red elastic band to hold it closed. With some lovely illustrations on the cover. FranNerd is an illustrator and so has created all of the illustrations found within the planner.
There is a video where she shares how she created these illustrations, literally drawing them all with a pencil on paper. I love how this has given the planner a handmade feel. You can see the texture of the pencil on the paper and I think it really adds something to the aesthetic of the planner.
Next is the paper quality. It’s a bit strange that I’m having to note this because the paper feels nice and thick. It’s pleasant to write on. But I tried using a Tombow Marker on this paper. The ink didn’t quite bleed through the paper but there is some very obvious ghosting on the reverse side. I’m really quite surprised by this. I’ve used the Tombow Markers in a number of different notebooks and this is the first time I’ve ever had problems with bleeding.
The planner starts out with a series of exercises. The aim of this section is to help you define your goals for the year. Assuming you start using the planner in January. It’s an undated planner so really you could start whenever you want.
There is a handy little guide at the beginning of the planner which explains the goal-setting process. The first exercise asks you to set out your goals for the year and which projects you want to work on.
The next few exercises get you to break those larger goals down into smaller tasks. From there you set out which month and the exact dates you want those tasks to be completed by.
The monthly and weekly pages are divided into four-month segments. At the end of each segment, there is a page which asks you to look back on those original goals and reassess what you want to work on and how that can be acted on.
I love that these little sections also have self-care goals. Reminding you to clean out unwanted belongings, talk to your friends and make doctors appointments if you’ve been putting it off. It really is the little details which I enjoy most about this planner.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY PAGES
The planner features 12 monthly spreads and 52 weeks on two page spreads in a horizontal format. I love how this planner has more space for notes than what you would normally find in a planner.
I remember seeing a video where FranNerd talked about how she polled her audience to figure out a weekly layout that everyone was happy with. I would have liked for the layout to have lines on the page but I really like how she went and did research to get the right design.
In a previous post, I mentioned how I don’t like having too many embellishments in my planners. I prefer a much more minimal style. I think Fran has done a really good job with this planner to include illustrations throughout without them becoming the main focus of the planner. Its something I would still feel comfortable working in.
I do have just a few slight problems with the layout of the planner. Firstly on the monthly spreads. Which don’t have quite as much space as I’d like from a planner. Obviously, this is part of the overall aesthetics of the planner, and it does look very nice on the page. But I would have preferred just a little more space.
FRANNERD MONTHLY CALENDAR
At the same time as buying the open yearly calendar. I also bought FranNerd’s open monthly calendar. This is a pad with 100 sheets of blank monthly calendars. This again features Fran’s illustration style. With space for you to note the name and days of the month. Unlike the yearly planner, I’ve had no problems with pens bleeding through this paper.
I’ve tried undated weekly sheets but never monthly spreads before and I think they were actually more useful than the planner. Don’t get me wrong, the 12-month planner is great. But I love these undated sheets because of how I use them at university.
It’s really handy to have some sort of calendar in my studio specifically for university work. I have a similar set up in my bullet journal but having something visible in my workspace is also really useful.
I’ll also keep one of these sheets with me for every university project I work on. This way I can plan out all my work related to that project on the monthly sheet. It helps that the sheets are undated because my university projects don’t always run over a single month.
When I was at college it was really important that I did this sort of time planning. You would lose out on marks if you didn’t. Though I don’t need proof of my time planning at university it’s something I still do because I find it so useful.
Even if you’re not a follower of FranNerd the undated planner is something I would still highly recommend. As far as planners go it’s really well made and the illustrations make it fun to use. The goal planning section in the planner makes it even more useful because it helps you more than just organising your time.
You can find the undated planner and monthly sheets on FranNerd’s Etsy shop. The planner cost £22 and the monthly calendar was £12. That is slightly more expensive compared to shops like Paperchase but it’s nice that you get to support an independent artist.
As of writing this post FranNerd’s Etsy shop is currently closed due to it being moved to New York. I will update the post when it has reopened.