Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Look Ma, no rings! (a.k.a. The Midori vs. The Filofax)

Hi everyone!

I've been in the Midori about six weeks now, and I thought I'd write about the differences between a Filofax and a Midori TN.  Despite the differences, each has a lot of things going for it, depending of course on your needs.  In my humble opinion, they're both genius, and just different enough that it's fun to have both or switch between the two.

Here goes.

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Minimalistic Design.  Honestly, who would have though a piece of leather, elastic, and some paper could be so beautifully simple and functional.  And I think that 's the Japanese genius behind it.

The leather is indestructible, perfect for the manly man who throws his stuff around.  Or for those of us gals who don't want to be precious with our planners.

No rings.  As a Filo-fan, this was the hardest part to get over.  The direct benefit though is more writing real estate.  Tracy has a video that shows this very clearly.

Customizable for those of us who tinker and decorate.

Good quality, fountain pen-friendly paper with a gamut of refills to choose from, including perforated sketching paper. Great for artists.  I've started using fountain pens more because of the paper.  Being used to the lesser-quality Filofax paper, the Midori paper is a delight to write on.

Loads of accessories, including some to turn it into a wallet and carry-everywhere notebook.

It's hand-friendly.  Someone mentioned this somewhere, maybe on a blog or on Flickr (sorry, I can't remember).  And it's true that it's a nice size to hold.  It's not too wide and not too tall, just right.

It only comes in brown and black, and the limited edition camel.  This is actually a good thing for me, and I think you can guess why.


No rings.  You can't move the pages around as you can with a Filofax.  I had to think about this long and hard, and I had to tinker a bit to make this aspect work for me.

It has a bigger footprint in your bag.  This is not really an issue for me, but it might be for some.

Local retailers are hard to find for most of us.  My local retailer has a pathetic selection of refills, and at 3x the price, online is the way to go for me.

The notebook refills don't lay flat at once.  You can do some mangling and reverse the refills on the spine and it works for a bit.

Limited calendar/diary options.  I would LOVE a Dodopad diary in my Midori.

The Filofax is still the ultimate in flexibility.  You just can't beat moving things around on those rings.

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For those of you interested in photos, I wrote about it here and here.  And I wrote about how I use the two in combination here.

I won't choose between the Midori and the Filofax because I love them both, and for all different reasons.

Going even further, I rated the FF vs. the MTN on the 6 attributes I thought were important.

Overall Design
I have always maintained that both have genius designs, so it’s a tie.
 It's a tie!  Although I have to say, the MTN just screams for bling on the elastic and bookmark.
The Filofax wins because there’s really no beating the flexibility because of the rings.
Off-the-shelf, the Midori has much better paper than even the Filofax Cotton Cream.  We can of course DIY the refills and inserts ourselves if we wish.
Another tie! 
Filofaxes are made extremely well.  However, because the Midori has no rings, there’s just nothing that could possibly break.

Bottomline, the Midori wins if Durability were a factor.  Although we certainly know of Filofax’es that have been around forever.  Otherwise though, it’s a tie, with the Filofax beating the Midori in Flexibility because of the ultimate flexibility of its ring-bound system, and the Midori having an edge over the Filofax due to the quality of its paper.

I'm sure others have differing opinions.  For those of you who own an Midori TN, I'd love to hear/read what you think about it.  I'm always looking for ways to make it work better for me so your thoughts are appreciated.

Which would you choose if you could choose only one!

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Replies
    1. Paul, there are a lot of styles for men. Mine just tend to be feminine.