Designing a better calendar

For the past few years I’ve been trying to acquire a copy of Edward R. Tufte’s Envisioning Information and last week I succeeded.

I’d hoped for a book that would tell me what to do. I did get a little instruction, but this was in-between a gorgeous tour of both good and bad practice. It seems clear that the learning is in the doing.

Conveniently, I’ve just such a project in mind: my calendar. On my cubicle wall is a year planner. It’s an A3 photocopy of a an A4 original and a bad photocopy at that.

So, I’ve tried to improve it, and the result is my 2008 calendar. Here is a list of what I’ve changed:

  • The new one is in colour.
  • The new one has coloured workdays and white holidays. This makes Wednesday easier to find.
  • White borders around the days. The days should be prominent, not the borders.
  • Smaller text for the month names to enable bigger day boxes.
  • Smaller text for the calendar title. If one doesn’t know what year it is by the end of January then a calendar won’t be much help anyway.
  • Rows are split into three month quarters to make month recognition easier.

I appreciate 2008 is half gone, but this is just a practice. I may improve it for 2009.