Baron Fig provided these books to me at no cost for review.
Baron Fig has released a new set, combining the Vanguard subscription and the Archer subscription, called the New School Set. If I'm doing my math correctly, this is the last of the Vanguard subscription releases and the third Archer. I'll be discussing the Archer in tomorrow's post; today is all about the Composition notebook.
This is a composition notebook in name and style, for sure, but it's missing a few things that I consider integral to being a true composition notebook. These are Vanguards made to look like comp books. Which is fine! I love the Vanguard line. They're some of the best A5-ish sized softcover notebooks on the market, in my opinion. The main things that are different from a true comp book: the cover is soft where comp books are hard (forget those trash poly-cover ones from Walmart) and it's missing the cloth tape to cover the binding. They're also not the same size, instead sitting at the standard Baron Fig "Flagship" size of 5.4" x 7.7". Comp books are bigger, at 9.75" by 7.5". It's a little over half the size.
Regarding the design, the three covers are all different colors. One black, one yellow, one green. All have the same classic comp book pattern on the front, which is somewhere between speckled and marbled. Mottled? Anyway, here's a link to some fun history on the pattern. There's no front logo plate thingy on these, which is a hallmark of the classic comp book style. Instead, they print the particulars along the side of the front cover, where the tape would sit. That part is usually blank because it's usually some sort of tape holding it all together. No tape here.
Like all the other Vanguards, these are filled with lovely paper, toothy and thick, and more than likely really great with your favorite writing instrument. The paper is lined (yes!) this time around, with a nice little double margin line down the side and a header area that's about the size of 2 of the lines. On the inner front cover, there's a little bookplate spot for your name and details. And, in a twist I didn't expect from Baron Fig, the back inner cover holds a little "Useful Information" cheat sheet, with a conversion table and grammar sections. It's the kind of thing you find in standard comp books, the kind of thing that gets a cheeky parody from Field Notes, and, to me, the kind of thing Baron Fig usually avoids. It's a nice touch.
For me, I'll pick these over a standard comp book any day. I'm a fan of this size, and the bigger comp book kind of sits at an in-between size that I've never really liked. I've always liked the look and history of a comp book, but never the paper inside. I'll admit to never going full Less on comp books and finding one that could fit my needs, but now I don't need to, because these are available.
Available from Baron Fig, $14.