First Look: Quinn Binder by Franklin Covey

06 February 2015

I have been eyeing the Quinn binder since it first appeared on the Franklin Covey website last year. But, it's been getting some mixed reviews from people in some of the planner groups I follow, so I've been kind of hesitant to make the purchase. The bad reviews seemed to outweigh the good. Things like "too stiff", and "puffy cover" were putting me off a bit. It really sucks not to be able to have a physical store to go to anymore and actually see the binders in person and form my own opinions about them, and I so wanted to give the Quinn a chance. So, this past weekend, I finally took the plunge and hit the checkout button. She arrived a few days ago (yay, for free overnight shipping!) and is ready for her closeup look.

This is the Classic size Quinn in grey. It is also available in Compact size and in magenta. The website says it's made of "fine pebbled full-grain leather", but it feels very soft and smooth in my hands. There's a thin layer of cushioning within the cover, which is probably where the "puffy" came from. It is also very structured as there is definitely some form of stiffener used in between the leathers. The cover is quite thick all around so if you're looking for a thin, floppy planner, this one isn't it. Despite all this though, the Quinn has a very sleek look with its square spine and clean lines.

The binder has a snap closure or popper on a wide (and rather short) strap. There is no bulky buckle of any kind though so that's a plus for those of us who aren't so fond of them. The exterior design is very simple and straight forward. The hardware--snap/popper on the strap and the binder, the rings, and zipper pull--are all gold colored. I love that about it, but I'm sure not everyone will. If you happen to be one of those who don't, rest assured, it's a nice gold tone. Not gaudy at all and, in my opinion, looks great with both the grey and the magenta.

Despite the thickness of the cover, it opens flat as a pancake on the get go. From the look and feel of it, I'm guessing the entire cover is made out of three separate parts (the front and back cover, and the spine) rather than one whole piece of material wrapped around a set of rings. There's no need to bend its cover back or do any other kind of training to it to get it to lay flat.

There are two pen loops, both partly elastic and very generous as my pens fit with room to spare. However, because of the short strap, the pen loops rub up against each other when the binder is closed which is fine if you have skinny-medium sized looking pens. Mine are both multi-pens (a Pilot Coleto and a Uni Style Fit) and are sort of on the chunky end. They do fine, but I think anything bigger might mean only one pen loop can be used at a time. On the left hand side, you get a full width/height slip pocket, a gusseted zip pocket on top of that, and an outward facing secretarial pocket with a total of 6 credit card slots, and a clear ID pocket. On the right side, there is only the one large pocket for a notepad. The rings measure out to 1.25" and are fixed with hex screws which makes them removable in case they need swapping out. Of course, seeing this immediately made me think of the 1.5" rings in the Mia binder, but because of the short strap and how the binder is designed, it's looking like the Quinn won't be able accommodate rings bigger than 1.25".

Being in the Mia for a bit, the size of the binder was starting to get to me and I found myself working out of one of my Compact size binders for the past few weeks. Its portability has proven to be quite helpful with planning out my baby's 1st birthday party which is in less than two weeks (eep!). It has gone with me on various party related errands, and has been housing information on several mini projects I need to complete before the big day. Everything else is still in the Mia. I'm just not ready to give up on the Classic size just yet. The Mia, although very beautiful and one of my favorite zipped binders (my only favorite zipped binder really), gets incredibly heavy when stuffed what with those humongo rings. Even though it barely leaves home, carrying it around the house or having it open on the table and taking up all that space was starting to bother me a bit. So, I thought I'd try out a Classic binder with smaller rings and hoped that maybe the Quinn would be a better fit.

My final verdict? I like the simple look of this binder. I now know that 1.25", both in a Compact and a Classic, is the ideal ring size for me. Smaller rings means I'm packing less inserts making the Quinn much easier to carry around. The stiffness of the cover doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. In fact, I've learned from experience that the bigger the planner, the more structure I prefer. A lot of the time, I'm not at a desk when I use my planner so having that bit of firmness helps when I have it spread open on my lap or, say, atop the arm of a couch. Only time and use will tell how well this binder will hold up, but right now the Quinn is here to stay. I'm happy that the Classic size is still working for me, but how long before I find myself switching back to a Compact is something else entirely. Let's just say that I love me some planners and leave it at that.

If you're looking to add another planner to your collection and/or have been on the fence about the Quinn, I hope this post has been somewhat helpful. If you'd like to know more about this particular binder, leave your questions in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them. Happy planning, and happy Friday!


  1. Any recommendations for a classic sized floppy planner? I have a Malibu and love it, but its so heavy.

    1. As far as Classics/Desk size planners go, the Malibu is the floppiest one I know of. I had the portable size at one point. I'd probably say the Marbell binder by FC would be one. It's all leather with no cardboard in it. I have the compact size and have seen a few Classics pop up on eBay from time to time.

  2. It has been helpful, as grey is probably my favorite color for a planner. But seeing the puffiness and the gold rings...this one is not for me.


Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

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