We’ve already established around here I like paper planners, mostly because they allow me to use my fountain pens which are my primary love. I’ve got four Gillio’s but that will likely become two in the near future, I just don’t need four planner covers and I really only use two of them. One of those is my dark brown and cream. It has sentimental value to me as well as it’s practical value and so it gets used most of the time.
Let me say right from the start, no one needs a Gillio. A $15 plastic binder will work just as well to hold your planner pages and you won’t be worried about it getting dirty. Just as I would never go into debt to buy a fancy fountain pen when a $20 Lamy Safari will accomplish any job given to it, so too I would never go into debt to buy a fancy leather planner, though I know some folks have. A Gillio is a treat, it’s a luxury but it’s really not necessary. If you are new to planning I wouldn’t suggest a Gillio. Start with a cheap planner, or even just a paper notebook and figure out what you really need and want before you jump in with both feet.
That said, if you are going to be planning with paper there are certainly worse planners to carry with you every day. Those worse planners might be lighter, however. There’s one thing that leather will never be: as light as plastic. This binder is pretty heavy, even not stuffed as full as possible and I just don’t find it comfortable to bring with me on a regular basis. It stays on my desk and travels back and forth to work, it doesn’t attend regular errands though!
The leather is top notch and wears very well. While mine is sadly dusty in this pictures (with everything blooming right now everything is perpetually covered in dust). This particular planner has been in near constant use for months and still looks essentially brand new.
It gets dropped straight into my purse or work bag, bangs around on my desk, and hangs out with all my other analog tools and still looks wonderful. It’s buttery soft to the touch and just squishy enough to feel like you’ve got a good grip on it. The leather makes me want to pick it up, feel it, use it.
The rings are, as I expect from a Gillio, tight with no gaps to catch pages as you flip. The paper inserts that came with it are surprisingly fountain pen friendly. But they are not me friendly, I’m pretty picky about how I plan, so I use custom made inserts that I will go into another time. Suffice it to say you can use the Gillio paper with a fountain pen if you aren’t the sort to want to mess with making or commissioning your own planner pages (and you can order a new set each year from the Gillio website if you go this route). The medium Compagna takes standard Personal Filofax inserts and anything else that fits that size, since Personal Filofax is about as standard as it gets you shouldn’t have an issue finding a system that works for you.
The outside color is dark brown, it’s a rich luxurious color that reminds of high quality chocolate. Inside this articular Gillio is light cream. The cream leather is unbelievably soft. So soft in fact that I would not want it on the outside (another option for this planner) as I would worry about it’s ability to stand up to any real use or abuse. Inside it’s fairly safe from anything but hand or finger oil and I try to not smear dirty hands all over it. The cream dye does seem to be a little fragile, careful examination of the name stamp in the inside of the front cover shows places where the natural color of the leather shows through the dye. If imperfections or wear are concerns for you I’d suggest sticking with a darker color both inside and out!
I love this planner, it’s a pleasure to hold, and it lays flat naturally making it a pleasure to use as well. I feel certain it will still be doing its job for years to come and growing more and more “real” as it does so. You can find Gillio’s website here if you are interested in finding out more. As far as I know there is no local US distributer but ordering through the website is straightforward and since we don’t pay VAT in the US the high shipping cost ends up being a wash.