Franklin Covey “Giada” Binder Review

Well, my awesome new Compact teal Giada binder from Franklin Covey has arrived and I’ve been using it for a few days now, so it’s time to share her with the world.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter got a bit of a teaser from some photos I posted there and subsequently on the new Franklin Covey Flickr page, but now I am fully “moved in” and am ready to review this baby in full.

Since a lot of you are less familiar with FC binders than you are of some (shall we say) other brands, I will go into a bit more detail regarding materials, construction and the like, as opposed to filling you in on my inserts and system, which you are all probably already well aware of, thanks to my incessant ramblings.

Here we go……………..

The Giada is pebbled Italian leather finished with a vegetable dye (eco-friendly of course), so the color is very saturated and rich. It is available in brown, green, plum and teal, and comes in two sizes, Classic and Compact. You can check out the full specs on the FC website here.

I chose the Compact size in the teal color, which unfortunately fails to photograph in all of it’s cyan glory, but trust me on this, it’s totally gorg-ois!

The front of the binder, closed. I wish the color would come through better….it is beautiful!

A side view

The view from the top.

The inside of the binder before I put my inserts in.

As you can see, there is no fabric interior here…this binder is all leather, all the time. I have other all-leather binders from Franklin Covey that are several years old and they still look like the day they came out of the box. The color doesn’t rub off, nothing rips or tears; these things are built to last.

This binder features 2 pen loops (front and back), an open full length slip pocket inside the front cover, with a slightly smaller zip pocket and a secretarial pocket on top of it. As if that weren’t enough, there are also 4 credit card pockets and an ID window.

More detail of the inside front cover.

The back has the 2nd pen loop, and also two horizontal slip pockets.

The inside back cover.

Franklin Covey’s “Compact” size binders are their medium sized option. The dimensions of the binder itself are 6.13″ wide x 7.5″ tall x 1.3″ deep.  The Compact REFILL pages measure 4.25″ x 6.75″ and have a 6-hole layout similar to a certain British brand.

Generally speaking, the FC Compact size binders comes quipped with 1″ rings (occasionally even 1.25″), so despite the fact that ring size was not mentioned on the website, I was very surprised to see that the Giada has 1/2″ rings.

Ring size comparison: silver FC binder on top with standard 1″ rings. Giada binder in foreground with 1/2″ rings.

Damn near close to 1/2″.

This is what I get for assuming! As I have mentioned previously, with my new job duties, I have been having great success with FC 7 Habits 2 Page per Day inserts, and in a standard 1″ binder I can fit 6 months of these (including the full year of tabbed month on 2 pages that come with the annual refill set), plus some other stuff like notes, reference material and the like. Not a shit-ton (with the To Do list right on the daily page, to be honest I don’t need much else in my binder), but enough.

The new Giada with it’s 1/2″ rings can only accommodate three months of my diary pages along with my other stuff or, four months (the rest of 2012) if I only carry a few note pages as a capture tool and leave it at that.

“Compact” is actually a good descriptor for this particular FC binder, due to it’s smaller ring size.

A deal-breaker? Not really. Optimal? Not quite. My mind is still not made up yet as to whether 3 months will be sufficient…after all, I do have the monthlies for a broad overview…or if I really do need a full half year.

I will say that using this binder is truly a pleasure. The quality is outstanding. While it is obvious that the leather used is extremely high end, the binder is not wimpy or floppy. I have a feeling it will break in splendidly, and look forward to experiencing that, however I know you are all waiting with baited breath to hear this next bit…despite its solid construction and structured feel….IT LAYS FLAT OUT OF THE BOX.

Absolutely, positively FLAT. No training required.

I know right?!

Design-wise it is classically simple. The bold yet balanced shade of teal is certainly it’s most striking feature, however it still looks adequately professional despite being a fun color. Who needs bells and whistles when something is made well and demonstrates quiet elegance, right?

I have carried this binder into several meetings and gotten nothing but compliments on it. Even from men.

So there you have it my peeps. The first of what I predict will be many FC binder reviews. Head over to Flickr for photo notes and I hope you enjoyed this look at the Giada : )


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kanalt17
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:17:21

    Woman! You are making me covet this FC binder, and damn it all to hell if I’m going to check out their offerings this evening. Curse you.


  2. clickybang
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 06:39:17

    I second the cursing, having seen the amazing inserts they have available!

  3. Laura
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 09:55:07

    Beautiful blog 🙂

    Sep 22, 2012 @ 15:08:46

    I’m not sure where you live or if you have a FC store nearby, but if you do, you can go in and they can replace the rings with larger rings. I have been using FC for 20 years and found out a few years ago that they can do that. So my current binder came with 1″ rings which are too small for my liking so I had them switch it to 1.25″ rings. I was MUCH happier. If you don’t have a store nearby, perhaps you could call customer service and see if they can send you bigger rings. I think you use an allen wrench to do the switch. I’ve seen them do it and it doesn’t look hard. One-half is really small!

    I love that Giada binder and you’re right – the color is GORGEOUS! They are out of my price range, though. I picked up an orange classic on clearance for my daughter and had them replace the rings with 1.25″ rings for her. It’s also gorgeous and I LOVE the leather!

    I’ve had my binder for at least 5 years and except for a small scratch on the front, it looks new. The scratch isn’t deep so I could probably put something on it to make it disappear. Franklin Covey binders last a long time!

  5. Karen
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 15:26:08

    I ordered this too but haven’t received it yet. I am disappointed that it is only half inch.
    I may send it back. I did find a vinyl one in red with 1 and 1/4 inch rings on ebay for under 20.00 dollars so I think I’ll get that. I enjoy your postings.

  6. Hannah C.
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 03:43:43

    I thought I saw on the website or in the catalogue that it was .75 inch rings? Not sure where I put the catalogue so can’t check on that right now.

    It looks lovely, I love the inside pockets, but I won’t be buying it as the rings are too small for me to use everyday. If I go to an FC binder I will be picking one with 1.25 inch rings!!

  7. Cheryl
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 04:09:01

    Great post! As a former FC faithful customer (20+ years) and owner (or I should say ‘previous’ owner) of over 25 of their binders, I only wish there had been blogs and a community of FC fanatics ‘back in the day’. I commented on this before but I think the FC following of owners were just ‘too darn serious’ to have any fun with their Franklin planners. HAHAHA Honestly, it was all about business. In the 20+ years I’ve used them I never once came across anyone who used theirs after 5pm or on weekends like I did or for anything such as crafts, prayer journals, travel journals, etc. (let me clarify, I never had the foresight to use mine for anything other than work and personal but I did use it alot even when I wasn’t working; just not for crafts or travel or anything like that. It had never even occurred to me to put all those empty binders to use until I started hanging out in the Philofaxy community.) Maybe there was someone out there doing that but I never heard of it. And believe me, I was in the Franklin store weekly sometimes twice in one day! (Yes, I was that obsessed). As I’ve commented before, all but a very few of the FC stores have closed (alas) and their line of binders have dwindled to almost nothing. I mean if you look on their website it appears they have a nice variety but nothing, nothing like they used to have. And unlike Filofax, I never heard of anyone ‘collecting’ binders and coveting 20 or more. I think a true FC devotee would have never thought of hanging on to their binders. As I was in the store ALOT I used to see and hear customers come in and say ‘oh, I got my first binder as a gift and its getting ratty, so time for a new one’ or ‘I got this as a gift and its not reallly my style can I exchange it?’ I once told someone that I had over 20 binders and I think they thought I was sick. LOL Anyway, your binder is a beauty! I see you have enabled some others, too!!!

    Sep 23, 2012 @ 14:11:26

    Cheryl, I feel the same way! I’ve always loved my FC system but never found anyone as crazy about it as I was. I’ve been looking for a FC community and even thought about starting one but I don’t think they’re interested. You’re right – they are serious and tend to use it for work only! I think some of the problem is that FC is marketed toward business people instead of just people who need a planner. They came out with the simplicity pages for “moms” but I never liked those. They’ve been trying to appeal to a broader market with some of the cheaper planners they sold at Target and some of the spiral bound planners but still not quite getting it.

    I’ve been thinking about switching to a FIlofax just to be part of that community. I am lucky that I have a FC store nearby so I can go in and look things over before I buy. I’ve been confused because the on-line selection is less than what’s in the store. Don’t misunderstand, the store doesn’t have near as much as they used to. And they aren’t coming out with the nicer binders. Seems like they’re either really expensive or they’re cheap. I hate the new binders made out that canvas-type fabric. I’m leather all the way!

  9. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 15:42:33

    thank you all for your comments! i am SO pleased to see franklin covey getting such a nice response! as was said, my hesitation to switch brands stemmed largely from there being no community…but we seem to be solving that!

    yay : )

    sadly there are no FC retailers anywhere near me or i would totally investigate the ring switching potential. i have, however, found FC’s customer service via their website to be extremely helpful…i have opened live chats regarding specifics on binders i am considering purchasing to confirm ring size, softness of leather, etc and am grateful that, in lieu of a retailer, i can at least do that to avoid unwanted purchases.

    anyway, stay tuned for more posts, as i have two new FC binders on their way to me!!!!!!

  10. Bree
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 17:26:29

    I’m interested in the Giada Compact, small rings and all. Would you say it’s floppy (Malden-ish), or stiff with an insert between the leather leayers? I need it to have a little give when I shove it in and out of bags.

  11. rolbud
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 17:19:23

    Thanks for posting this review! I’ve had a Giada binder for a year. It is a great binder, made with quality leather throughout. Apply some mink oil and the colour darkens nicely with a cool patina, and a soft touch throughout. The brown (Tan) Giada doesn’t have a clip/snap closure, which I like as it looks less like a clutch purse (for guys) and more like a leather book. As you wrote, it fits 3 months of 2=ages-per-day insertsl. Not sure I would want larger rings: It might make me carry more than I need, and make the binder too bulky. The ring spine is easy to swap out if you order larger ones. I agree with the comments that it would be great if there was a more active group of FC owners. Filofax owners are much more active online! The common comment I often hear is Filofax makes great binders, while FC makes great inserts. I think people see the online reviews of cheaper FC binders, made of faux-leather or plastic, and conclude the binders are poorly made. The Giada is a great binder. Right now, it is the most expensive binder in the Classic size: Worth the investment.

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