I mentioned in an instagram post last year that meeting Roterfaden had been a real game changer for us. We'd been looking for a new, more business-oriented planner system to sell in our store and for our own use, when they contacted us out of the blue and we agreed to meet up with them at their HQ in Saarbrücken (Germany).
If you've read our "About Us" page, you'll know that we are very strict when selecting new brands and products (in fact, we can be a real PITA!), mistakes can be expensive and can do a lot of long term damage to our reputation. This perfectionistic attitude isn't always well received by manufacturers.
As it happened, our meeting with RF went super smoothly. We were immediately seduced by the clever design concepts and the high quality materials and manufacturing and impressed by their standards and respect for the environment.
It only took me a 5 minute browse through their collection to select my personal Taschenbegleiter, a black "generous A5" sized WK_12. I use it 100% for business (bear in mind that my business is also my main hobby).
Roterfaden work with a handful of carefully selected German tanneries and usually choose vegetable tanned leathers. Vegetable tanning preserves the original appearance of the hide, tends to develop an interesting patina with use and is much more environmentally friendly than chrome tanned leathers. The one they chose for the WK_12 is both supple and "chunky", with a nice grain. Haptics and textures are very important to me and this leather is exactly what I look for. It feels great in the hand and is hard wearing.
The WK_12 is fitted with 2 sets of steel clips to hold notebooks and inserts. This gives the planner a pretty good capacity, while keeping it fairly slim (see pics at the end of this article). I usually advise new customers not to overfill planners (especially the Traveler's Notebook), but to add to them progressively as they adapt them to their work flow (or adapt their workflow to the planner). The fact that the WK_12 only has 2 sets of clips makes this easier. We stock other Roterfaden planners with 4 clips for those of you who need a higher capacity. The clips can also be used as bookmarks or to hold loose sheets of paper or documents.
The inside of the WK_12 is finished in a very nice suede, which gives the pockets and slots some useful flexibility. On the left hand side, you'll find an upper passport sized side pocket and a lower card sized one. When travelling, I'll slip my passport into the top pocket, behind one of the general purpose small notebooks I always seem to have on me. I use them for everything from names and addresses, lists, small sketches, to camera settings when taking fine art photographs.
The lower pocket is usually stuffed with public transport cards (Oyster, Pasmo, etc..) and business cards if my business card protectors are full.
I use the blank refill for notes, lists (I'm an obsessive list maker), travel plans, meeting notes when visiting suppliers, etc. The refill in the pic was used as a project management tool when I updated our website last year (a massive project: thousands of pictures, over 2000 products and close to 1000 pages!). The 2 pages shown were used to analyse task requirements for the home page. Roterfaden paper is smooth and fountain pen friendly (I used an M nib Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue fountain pen during the project.)
Nestling in the middle of the blank refill, the Roterfaden To Do (Zu Tun) refill is by far my most used one and definitely one that should be included in any basic Roterfaden configuration.
One of 2 plastic inserts I always include in my Taschenbegleiter, the Business Card Protector starts off empty when I leave on a trip and fills up rapidly, especially if I'm at a trade show. On the right hand side, the plastic Sheet Protectors are perfect for storing receipts, tickets and other small items when on the move.
I always include a Sketch Book refill (Skizzenbuch). The high quality paper is great for pencil or ink drawing, but also works surprisingly well for watercolour. This example is my original sketch for the Superior Labor x Nomado Store Sashiko Bag.
I have been a bookworm since I learnt to read and have a high reading capacity (1-2 books a day when I have the time). This used to mean lugging bags of books around when going on trips. Nowadays, I tend to use a Kindle and always slip one into the rear inside pocket (perfectly sized for iPads too) when travelling.
The WK_12 doesn't have any visible means of closure, but the two cleverly-located elastic pen loops will keep it secure when a pen is slipped through both of them.
As you can see, despite being stuffed with refills and inserts, cards and receipts, the WK_12 stays quite slim. I've been using it for one year now and couldn't do without it!
You'll find the full Roterfaden range here. Videos on the Roterfaden range are here. Customers also have the possibility of making an appointment to visit us in our showroom. We are always available to answer questions on the Roterfaden range and to help you configure yours. Contact us here.