Thursday, 28 July 2011

Why is Filofax paper so rubbish?

There was a wish-list on Philofaxy this week for what people wanted from Filofax and high on the list was decent paper, especially in the diaries.
I’m with everyone on that. My preferred pen is my Osmiroid medium flat tip soft (gold) nibbed fountain pen. If I use that on filofax paper, it bleeds right through to the back in a heartbeat. In fact, the shoddiness of filofax paper has been one of the things that has flipped me back and forth from a personal to an A5. I can easily print my own pages on A4 and trim them to A5 size and therefore can control the quality of the paper, but printing to personal size and trimming is a heck of a pain. My current favourite paper for printing for the A5 is Clairfontaine cream, which is silky smooth to write on and has no bleed through.

It’s not just the diary paper in filofax that’s rubbish though. Presumably they produce all their white-paper products on exactly the same paper and hence the bleed-through is equally appalling across the range. On the coloured paper, although there is no bleed-through, this is largely because the paper seems ink-repellent. That’s not an advantage! Fountain pen just beads up on the surface. It really is phenomenally incompetent to be able to produce ink-proof paper! Biros, ballpoints, Frixion (just) etc cope okay, but not my beloved fountain pen.
Other companies can make products that fit the filofax and which can cope with fountain pens, so why can’t filofax produce them too? Reluctantly, I have resorted to using my personal on a day to day basis with my Zebra Sharbo (combined ballpoint and propelling pencil), mostly because I like the combination (and the Baroque only has one pen loop), but heavily influenced by the fact that no other pen fits in the tiny loop in the Baroque! (Which is another gripe but I’ll leave that for another day!)
When I get to use my own inserts for the A5 (largely to do with writing), it’s a dream to be able to get the fountain pen out and write beautifully.

The other thing that came in for criticism on Philofaxy were the (lack of) diary formats. I wonder if Filofax have ever done a customer survey on what people want? When you buy from them, you are asked if you would like to be on their mailing list. Why not also ask if people would be prepared to fill in a survey? Maybe with a free giveaway as incentive? (Filofax… are you listening out there???).

A format I would like would be much like the cotton cream week on two pages (WO2P), with each day getting equal spacing, and a small notes section in the top right hand side, BUT, on white paper, with horizontal lines in the day spaces, more like an appointments diary. And of course, the paper would cope with all kinds of pens/inks.


  1. Actually, Filofax France makes almost the right one:
    so maybe I will just have to get that. But surely the UK market is at least as big as the French?

  2. I suspect that going forward it might behoove Filofax to consider making higher-end paper products for the more discriminating consumer. As paper diaries go the way of the fountain pen, those who use both paper diaries and fountain pens will really be in-demand customers worth catering to.
    As it is, I use the pocket size, which means there are essentially no non-Filofax paper suppliers, at least none who produce day-per-page sheets. I'm half tempted to buy a pack of Louis Vuitton refills for 2012, but I like the layout less than the Filo version. That said, I bet the paper is *awesome*.

  3. I believe there are week on two page refills from smythson that fit filofax. Gorgeous paper.

  4. From your computer to Filofax's ears!!

  5. I wish they would actually listen but they don't seem to care! :-(