Starbucks Planners and Handwriting

Nothing marks November like Christmas songs and hype for planners. Anticipating the new set of months, the market is ripe for consumers looking for that perfect paper partner in an attempt at organizing the foreseeable future.

A few years back, the Papemelroti pocket planner was the young counterpart of the daddy organizers: small and artsy compared to the bulky and boring. Then in 2000s, Starbucks Coffee started offering planners to drinkers who’d collect a certain amount of stickers. One sticker per drink. Ten years ago, you had to get 24 stickers. Now, you only need 18.

The Starbucks Planner was such a huge hit that it has become a tradition of sorts, and competitors followed suit. Arguably, it is one of the most sought after planners due to its relative ease in accessibility (“free”), and the perceived quality it carries.

This season’s edition offers two variants of brush stroke-inspired hardbound covers in small and regular sizes, partnered with a leather cover that you can’t help but use. The paper can handle your writing tool of choice, with a creative-friendly layout. It also comes with a sweet Starbucks card which gives you a raffle entry when activated in January.

But it’s 2017. Why do you need a paper planner when there’s an app for that?


There have been many arguments for both sides, but the advantage of using paper planner could not be set aside. Yes, Google Calendar has the basic features of a paper planner, and is extremely convenient for planning group dates and reminding you about that dreaded client meeting in 15 minutes. But in a world filled with smartphone notifications, even your calendar reminder gets “lost.” Admit it.

With a paper planner, you get to check your to-do’s, and also write down what happened. You get to express yourself with color-coded text, sketch that imagined scene in your head, and also remind you of that fine movie date through that ticket you pasted. Ultimately, it forces you to only note what is important. Besides there are products and apps linking digital and analogue notes if the paper path has become obsolete.

On a related note, handwriting has its advantages. In a 2014 study, Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer explored the difference between students who took notes by hand versus those by keyboards. The finding, as reported by Scientific American, is:

As in other studies, students who used laptops took more notes.  In each study, however, those who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.

Scribbling forces you to pick significant details to note, and makes you reinterpret them in your own terms. As for planners, you can write down what really matters to you. It also gives you a break from looking at the screen all day.

But why Starbucks Planner? Fitz Villafuerte credited the preference to tradition, experience, and prize. Getting a planner has become an annual event, but remember that this notebook from the big coffee shop is just one of the many you can choose. There are Moleskines, Traveler’s Notebooks, and Hobonichis which you can explore. Papemelroti is still alive, and so is that bulky organizer. If there’s one thing that Google Calendar can’t give you, it is that unexplainable pleasure of writing on paper.

Now after making that choice, would you be interested in a classic pen to go with your planner?

[Entry 246, The SubSelfie Blog]

About the Author:

Ronin Bautista is a journalist-in-denial who is rekindling a love with handwriting. A former web producer for GMA News Online, he is currently finishing his master’s degree at UP Asian Center while teaching at UP College of Mass Communication. He doesn’t like talking about weekdays.

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