Day Designer vs Simplified Planner: What You Need to Know

Detailed Day Designer vs Simplified Planner comparison including side by side pictures and who the planner is better for so you can decide which is best. Full planner reviews available here.

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A question I get a lot is what are the differences between the Day Designer and Simplified Planner. They are very similar but there are some key differences you need to know about so you can make the best choice for your lifestyle and budget.

Please Note: This is based on my experience with the daily planners I purchased/received for review. I started using the Day Designer in 2016-2017 and the Simplified Planner around 2017-2018. The Simplified Planner shown is from 2021-2022 (the interior layout of the planner has not significantly  changed but cover options are different now) and the flagship size Day Designer is 2022-2023. Calendar year planners, weekly planners and ring binder/bookbound planners are also available. Please visit the respective companies’ websites for the most up to date information as things do change.

The Covers

Both planners have gorgeous floral and beautifully designed patterned covers with gold corners and gold foiling on the cover. After using each planner in the past for several months/a year, the Day Designer gold foiling held up better while some of the foiling on the Simplified Planner daily chipped off but the Day Designer coil bent more which brings me to….

The Binding

Both planners have double wire-O coil, it’s not my favorite as the coil will bend if you are taking it in and out of your bag. I would recommend a planner pouch if you are going to transport your planner daily. As I mentioned above, the gold foiled letters or designwork can chip off.

Simplified sells planner pouches to fit and protect their daily planner. Day Designer does not have their own planner pouch but it may fit in Simplified’s Teacher Planner Pouch which is their largest size.

The Tabs

Big difference here in Day Designer vs Simplified Planner tabs. Day Designer are gold and academic year planners runs August through July. Simplified Planners are colorful and in their signature Happy Stripe color scheme and academic year planners run July through June.

The Preplanning Pages

Both planners have some preplanning pages before the actual calendars start.

Day Designer preplanning pages are focused on setting goals that matter to you and establishing routines to achieve them. Simplified Planner preplanning pages are focused on simplifying your schedule by setting routines, a 30 step simplicity challenge and a bucket list.

The Monthly Calendars

Day Designer has a Monday start monthly calendar and sidebar for notes.

Simplified Planner has a Sunday start monthly calendar, sidebar for notes and a simplicity challenge tip reminder.

Daily Weekday Pages

Both planners daily pages have ample space for your hourly schedule and to do list.

Day Designer’s weekday daily planning pages have additional boxes for:

your top 3 priorities,

  • due
  • dinner
  • dollars
  • don’t forget
  • notes and
  • gratitude.

The Day Designer hourly schedule runs from 5am to 9pm.

The Simplified Planner weekday daily planning pages have a larger notes space so you can write in the things you want to track or journal. The Simplified Planner daily hourly schedule runs from 6am to 9pm.

Weekend Daily Pages

Saturdays and Sundays share a page in both planners. (Emily Ley also makes a Dapperdesk planner like Day Designer if you need a planner with a full planning page for each day).

The Day Designer weekend pages have space for your schedule (5am to 9pm), your top 3 priorities and a small weekly overview at the bottom to plan out your next week by day.

The Simplified Planner weekend pages have lined spaces for “my day” where you can write in your important events and to do list. Sunday’s to do list section includes 4 preprinted Sunday prep activities for:

  • plan your meals
  • tidy up
  • write tasks/appointments for the week, and
  • fill your “tank”. enjoy what matters most.

That “fill your tank task” was a game changer for me. Since I started using the Simplified Planner , I’ve been more intentional about making Sunday my rest and reset day. I think we all need that once a week at least!

The Notes Pages

Both planners have very few notes pages, they are daily planners so I understand why (the Day Designer is 2.6 pounds according to their website and the Simplified Planner is 1.8 pounds according to my kitchen scale🙂 ).

The Day Designer notes pages are interspersed throughout the planner. Whenever the month ends on the left hand side, the right hand side is a notes page.  The Simplified Planner daily has 4 lined notes pages in the front.

Included Accessories

Both planners come with stickers inside the front pocket of the planner. The Day Designer comes with 2 pages of gold foil stickers. The Simplified Planner comes with 1 page of colorful flags and hand drawn stickers.

The Day Designer also comes with a clear bookmark ruler you can snap in and out of today’s page (not pictured but check out the website for info).

Extra Accessories

Coordinating Day Designer accessories are available for purchase including:

  • notebooks
  • notepads
  • elastic bands
  • page markers
  • extra bookmark ruler
  • extra gold foil stickers
  • seasonal colorful sticker book, and
  • clipfolios

Coordinating Simplified planner accessories available for purchase include:

  • planner pouches
  • pencil pouches
  • wide variety of stickers in their signature “happy stripe” color scheme
  • mini notebooks
  • page markers
  • pens (my favorite is the Pilot Precise v5 Happy Stripe set)
  • stretchy bands
  • washi tape, and
  • adorable paper clips (my favorites are the pineapples and hearts!)

Who the Day Designer is Better For

I think the flagship size daily Day Designer planner is better:

  • if you don’t mind thinner 100 gsm paper to have more space to write in (regular printer paper is 80 gsm usually as a point of reference)
  • you need a lot of space to write down tasks as they come to you/want space for brain dumps/mind sweeps
  • you need a bigger planner that you can leave on your desk or at home
  • you prefer minimalist daily pages (gray font with gold tabs)
  • you like worksheets to help you set meaningful goals and break them down to get them done
  • you like dedicated spaces on your daily pages for top 3 priorities, menu, what’s due, gratitude, dinner, etc so you don’t forget anything
  • you don’t need many notes pages or don’t mind keeping notes/bigger lists in a notebook in the front pocket

Who the Simplified Planner is Better For

I think the daily Simplified Planner is better:

  • paper quality feels better at 118 gsm (80#), bright white and smooth to write on
  • if you want to carry the planner with you to and from work/school (the daily SP is 7″x9″ weighs 1.8 pounds vs flagship daily DD is 9″ x 9.75″ and weighs 2.6 pounds)
  • you like pops of color in your planner
  • you like worksheets to help you simplify your life (tips, routines, and simplicity challenge)
  • you need the Sunday prep reminder tasks to get your week started on the right foot
  • you like open space for notes to track whatever you like or for journaling
  • you like extra notes pages (new this year)
  • you like colorful hand drawn stickers
  • smaller space forces you to abbreviate, keep your list small and focused, in other words to simplify your schedule!

You can see pictures inside and check out my full Day Designer planner review (updating for 2022-2023 soon) here for more info.

Buy the Day Designer here and get 10% off your total order with my coupon code SMALLVICTORIES10.

You can see much more close up pictures inside and check out my full Simplified Planner review here for more info.

Buy the Simplified Planner here

Get $10 off your first order here

Well there you have it, the complete Day Designer vs Simplified Planner comparison. I think they are both great daily planners depending on your needs. If you’re still confused, check out the resources below, or leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help however I can so you can pick the right planner for your busy life.

Ultimate Planner Comparison

Still not convinced? If you want to see how the daily Simplified Planner and the daily Day Designer stack up against other popular planners in the market, check out my Ultimate Planner Comparison post.

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  1. Great comparison. Every time I buy a planner I always end up spending so much time on thinking which type is best for me but after reading this post, I think the simplified planner is perfect for me.

    1. oh yay! I’m so glad this helped you decide. Simplified is a beautiful yet simple planner. I tend to overcomplicate things but it is one of my favorites!! Enjoy and happy planning!

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