Unlike previous editions of Write Notepads' limited releases, you'd be hard pressed to determine the story by just looking at these notebooks. The theme isn't on-the-nose like the Telegraph or the Royal Blue. In fact, without the marketing text on the website, I wouldn't have known anything about it. Here's what they say:
It should come as no surprise from the looks of things, that this edition is a departure from what we've released in the past. Fall is the time of year when tree leaves transform in to a spectrum of natural colors. We decided to take things from our environment and transform them into a medium for art. Wood is used in just about every single process in letterpress printing and die-cutting. We chose it as the star of our show. From the end cut grain pattern showcased in black to accentuate the fingerprint of each dowel, to the rogue rouge symbolizing that it's ok to go against the grain (pun intended), each is unique. We also thought it fun to create a logo specific for this edition that tips the cap to some of our mid-century design heroes.
The books and boxes are printed on a natural colored paper stock from the Neenah's Eames collection. The interiors contain 64 pages of blank paper for you to sketch out your next big idea.
Mid-century design is the first thing that came to mind when I saw images of these covers and the new logo. I love it. It's definitely an era of design that fascinates me the most, and when done well in the present can still resonate, but when done poorly it dives into cheeky retro parody really quick. The execution here is done very well. The smaller "W" circle mark has shades of Paul Rand to me. The choice of red is a spot-on match for the old Herman Miller catalog images. I wouldn't be mad at Write for keeping this logo full time.
Like all the limited releases, the big change here is the theme and the covers – the design around the actual books. Nothing is different on the inside. It's still 70# paper that's really good for most writing instruments. The books are still 64 pages, perfect bound with glue. The books are still heavy duty. No format or size change. That's a good thing.
The previous edition, Chesapeake, eschewed the box for a wide belly band. Fingerprints brings the box back, which makes me happy. It's useless, of course, but a very nice touch for a set of $10 pocket notebooks. At a time when prices are raising around this space, it's good to see these staying firm at $10. The box is simple and unadorned, just a creamy white paper with their created-for-this-edition logo printed on the back and the sides in all its different forms. A sticker of that logo holds it together. I'm not sure if it was a subscriber bonus or not, but my packs came with 2 of those stickers. Along the side of the box is the "W" mark...I would've liked to see that mark as one of the stickers. I like it a lot.
The covers are printed with dowel rods inked up with black on that creamy, natural white paper. Each cover is the same as far as dowel placement, though because of the process, naturally some ink seeps into places where it didn't on a previous pass. Some are darker, some lighter, some show a bit more grain. It's a cool and easy way to do something that would take a little longer to do with Photoshop brushes, and it still wouldn't look this perfectly imperfect. There is one lone red dot near the bottom of the front cover, a nice splash of color to counter all the black and white, and it references the logo.
Most of the previous LE's where printed with the edition name on the cover. Not so here. In a metallic silver, they've printed the new wordmark on the cover. Because the background is so busy and black, it's tough to see at first glance. Maybe they chose something to stay out of the way and to disappear into the design, but I would have rather seen it be in the red they've used or not be there at all. It's just a nitpick, but it seems a weird choice to hide it.
A note on the blank pages: yeah, I'm not a fan of blank. With all the roundness in the design, I would've loved to see dot-grid here.
I'll still argue that, if you can get past the binding or even LIKE the binding, Write makes the highest quality pocket notebook, dollar-for-dollar. They're tough as hell, the paper is great, and they look cool. These look especially cool.
--What do you think? Leave a comment below!
Available from Write Notepads, $9.99 for a 3-pack.