First Look: Marbell Binder by Franklin Covey

28 November 2014

Hope everyone had a lovely week. For those who celebrated, was your Thanksgiving full of gratitude and yummy turkey? I know mine was. I'm still stuffed!

Anyway, as promised, here's a first look at the Marbell binder by Franklin Covey (FC). It's an older model and one you might be lucky to find on eBay or maybe from another planner enthusiast like I did. The product tag tucked into one of the pockets dates this binder back to 2005.

This is the Compact size Marbell in Apricot. It's such a cheerful color and one that I've never had in a planner. Its yellowy orange just puts a grin on my face so huge that I'm even willing to overlook its buckled clasp. No, I'm not a big fan of buckles on my planners. No, it's not removable. But, there are just so many awesome things about the Marbell that, surprisingly, it doesn't even bother me.

First off, the leather is the yummiest I've ever had in a Franklin Covey binder. Very floppy and unstructured. So much so it's passed the "burrito test" as you can see. Definitely no type of cardboard in there. The full-grain leather is soft and pebbly.

On the left hand side, you have three card pockets, a zippered compartment, and a larger pocket behind all this. On the right hand side there are two more slip pockets, and you get two rather generous elasticated pen loops. The interior pockets seem minimal, but this planner also comes with a large full width back pocket that more than makes up for the lack of storage, if you ask me. It easily holds letter sized paper folded in half. All the pockets are lined with a fun green polka-dotted fabric which I think goes so well with the Apricot.

The back wallet pocket is probably my most favorite feature as it allows me to carry bills or other important documents with me safely tucked inside the binder. If only this feature were available on more planners.

Another special feature this binder has is its removable rings. Some of the older FC models have removable rings which are held in place with hex screws. These are very easy to take out and replacement rings in different sizes can be found on eBay. The rings on the Marbell, however, are riveted onto a hard plastic base which then slips into a pocket on the right side of the cover. This gives the back a bit of structure when in place which is nice when I've got the planner open on my lap, or a non flat surface.

You can either replace the entire ring and base, or unscrew just the rings and replace those. The Marbell came fitted with 1" rings, but I was able to switch those out with 1.25" rings that I had taken from a much older FC binder. 1" rings I can work with, but 1.25" is more ideal. And the upgrade has not affected how my inserts fit. I'm using all Franklin Covey compact sized inserts (4.25" x 6.75") and my pages, tabs, and plastic inserts don't get in the way of the pen loop or affect how the planner closes. Larger rings means your inserts get pushed out more when the planner is closed so 1.25" is just right. I probably wouldn't go any bigger than this.

One of the unique things about the ring set-up is that, because they are attached to a base rather than the "spine" of the binder like most planners, the planner closes in a way where the rings stay upright. Before I go and confuse everyone, here's some photos.

This is my FC compact Aurora for comparison with the Marbell both loaded with inserts. In the Aurora, the rings turn to the right when closed because they are attached to the spine of the planner and the inserts get pushed over as the binder closes. The rings in the Marbell stay put when the planner is closed and the inserts don't get pushed to the right like they normally would had the rings been fixed onto the spine. There is also a leather ring protector attached to the left side of the ring mechanism in the Marbell which helps protect the cover from getting any ring indentations or marks.

Looked a bit weird at first. At least, it did to me. It's different than what I'm used to as I've never had a planner with this feature. I've seen regular 3-ring/D-ring binders close this way, but never a planner. I've grown to like it, but I can see how this might not be for everyone. I believe there are a few older FC models that have the slip-in ring mechanism.

Anyway, I absolutely adore this planner. It is the third binder to be added to my very small collection of Franklin Covey planners (you can see more of the Aurora and French Seam (Tailor) binders here and here). I've realized the other day that I've come full circle in my planner adventures. I was a longtime FC user before I decided to leave the brand to try other types of planners. Though I've got love for all kinds of organizers, I've always had a soft spot for Franklin Covey. They've seen me through and have helped me organize some of the most important events in my life like college, the start of my career, and planning for my first baby. It's really good to be back "home".

Have you acquired any new planners lately? Do you ever find yourself coming back to a particular type, style, or brand of planner after trying something different? Don't forget to leave a comment below because I'd love to hear about it and, as always, have a happy Friday!


  1. Rings on the bottom/back side is so much better than rings in the middle/binding area! I've noticed from years of binder use that eventually, the back pages in a binder with the rings in the middle get all bent up, and much less so if the rings are on the back. It's a requirement for me when buying a regular binder, and now I'm going to have to be on the lookout for a planner like that, as I didn't even know that was an option, ha!
    And the color on the Marbell is oh so delighful! I wish there were more orange (or even orangeish!) planners about, as it really is just a greatly happy color!!

    1. I agree about the back pages not getting all wrinkled with this binder. Definitely no need for any page lifters, that's for sure! Try your luck on eBay. I've run into a few older FC models on there that have the same ring mechanism.

  2. The ring direction thing is fabulous.I would have never thought about that.

    Are you sure about the buckle? My Bosto buckle doesn't look removable, but it kept getting caught on my purse, so I played until I removed that sucker!

    1. Yup, pretty positive about the buckle not being removable. Unless I pull the strap apart or cut a piece off, it's stuck on there. Oh, well. It's starting to grow on me. :)

  3. Such a yummy color. I found you on Pinterest: what a great post - SO thorough! Just added you to my Feedly :-)

    1. Wonderful! Thanks for stopping by to read. :)

  4. I am adding a Filofax personal saffiano in poppy to my life. I have a red fc classic that has been my go to for ev er. since my kids are all grown and the last one is moving out, I decided to try and downsize. I will keep big red for stuff that doesn't need to be portable and start carrying a paper planner again. I chose ff personal over fc compact and pocket for the amount of inserts and pages available. I make my own daily pages and shrunk them down to personal size and played with them for a few days to see if I could handle less space.....I got a good deal so I am giving it a shot. although a techie, I find I like paper so much better then my phone or my old palm...and I did love my palm


Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...