Getting organised: top tips on planning a planner

Graphic design for business and motivational planners

Printed or online planners are a great idea to showcase your expertise in your subject. A planning book can show off tips on social media marketing, boost sales for an online course or help to support students or patients on courses in any subject.

It’s about this time of year when you need to think about the content and design of your course and how you might deliver this. Ideally you would have completed the maths and have a realistic price in mind for the services you require. If you are worried about sales and budget then these tips might be useful.

  1. All art is theft so some might say. There’s nothing to stop you looking at other people’s planners. Think about what content works and how you can use this to adapt to your product.
  2. Remember to use design thinking so it’s right for your customers.
  3. Educational material for students share a similar design principles so have a look at these too, they are often stocked in libraries and publishers sometimes have free downloadable samples on their website.
  4. When you’ve decided on your content, think about what services you might need such as a proofreader, editor, designer and printer, these quotes will help you to work out a unit price and the number of copies you need to sell to break even or make a profit.
  5. Can you offer any extras? A wall planner is relatively quick to design or can you run support sessions in a private Facebook group?
  6. Consider a pre-launch budget. You to ask a designer to mock up covers and a few page spreads that can help to get sales before you commit more money to getting a planner designed and printed. If you don’t get enough sales, as a worse-case scenario you can revisit the idea next year.  
  7. Covers are a great way to get interest, you can ask for feedback but do be prepare to collaborate with your designer on the feedback as it can be overwhelming.
  8. You can save money by printing in two colours inside or black and white but this may affect the appeal.
  9. Make sure your designer has experience in producing exercise books and printed books. I’ve had to rescue a few projects recently where the designer or client was struggling with the different requirement for print and web.
  10. Pay attention to the design of any online material. There are a huge volume of formats available but it’s no use supplying an exercise the customer needs to edit as a JPG.
  11. People write bigger than you think! Allow space for exercises. If the pagination is creeping up then see if you can make any content downloadable from your website.
  12. Look at wiro-binding as a cost saver but bear in mind that it makes it less environmentally friendly and there is usually a cap on the number of pages you can wiro-bind before this compromises the durability of the product.
  13. If the environment matters to your business then look for environmentally friendly paper and inks, only print what you need.
  14. Try not to skimp on the paper weight. It’s important that the planner is durable. Ink and biro mark and show through on cheap paper.
  15. Begin early. I get booked up with planner designs from May onwards.

Still feeling inspired? I can offer you more advice in a free 30 minute consultation in person or via Zoom.

Inspiring planners

Dream, Plan and Do! by Patricia van den Akker, The Design Trust. This planner is hardback with a mix of single and full colour pages and is launched each year with a crowd funding campaign. Investors can get the planner with a wall planner and membership to a club depending on how much they want to invest. There are lots of ideas to take from this. The design is clear, the write-in spaces perfectly proportioned and each month has a smart opening page. This design could easily adapt to a single or two colour design.

Social Media Planner by Luan Wise. This really clear and concise planner works with online content and is written in the same reassuring style as the course book that accompanies it ‘Relax! It’s Only Social Media’ (which was free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited last time I looked). It’s bright with lots of exercises and the online content incredibly helpful. You’ll either enjoy going online for extra goodies or find it very irritating!

Soulful PR Media Planner by Janet Murray. Janet Murray is somewhat of a cult figure in PR circles. This planner is purposeful and comprehensive. Wiro-binding helps to write in the book but the design isn’t as polished as the other planners. However it covers almost every event you can think of and gives clear advice on how to apply your PR to maximise them. There are frequent emails updating all buyers with new events and an additional club run by Janet herself.

Do you want a self motivation approach?

Do you want a self motivation approach?

Berenice Howard-Smith