Field Notes Resolution Review

Just in time for the holidays, Field Notes has released their winter limited edition set, Resolution. With this set, you get two Checklist Journals and a 56 week planner (which they call the Date Book), with one week per page. A couple things about this set confuse me a bit, but it's not an overall dud.

The covers are nice and thick. The use the same Mohawk 80# paper as the Utility, this time in red, white, and blue. The red and blue covers are the exact same paper, the Via line, but the white is from the Carnival line. They're printed with a stamped matte foil. Blue stamped with white, white stamped with red (akin to the white Day Game book) and the red is stamped with the blue, which causes a bit of chromostereopsis to my eyes. The stamping doesn't go all the way through the paper like a normally embossed cover does, so on the inside cover you can see it, but not really feel it. The color choices here are fun, but to me they don't scream "winter edition". In fact, these say summer all the way. This is not to say every winter edition needs to be dark earth tones like Balsam Fir or Ambition, or even icy cold editions like Just Below Zero, Northerly, or Snowblind...it just seems odd, is all.

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You may be familiar with the inside paper as well. The Domtar EarthChoice in gray was the paper for the Lunacy, and we're seeing it here again. They print on it in white and darker gray, white used for layout elements, the darker gray for lines and type. Same weight as the Lunacy, 60#. One thing I noticed about this paper that struck me as odd: in the grey lines of the checklist book, fountain pen ink was fine, save for a bit of feathering. But in the white printed lines, the ink seemed to soak into the paper, feather all to hell, then desaturate. I've never seen this happen before. I admit I don't have the most experience with fountain pens and don't write with them often, but the Lunacy paper didn't even do this, and it's the same paper. See the picture I've placed near this paragraph of a line I drew across multiple lines, and you'll see the difference. The pen had a medium Bock nib and Pilot Namiki Black ink in it. I grabbed out an open Lunacy book and performed the same tests...same ink, pen, nib, and the results weren't the same. I'd forgotten how nice Lunacy was with fountain pens. I even through my "usually bleeds, even on decent paper" pen at it, and it was great. So it has to be the white ink they used to print the white areas of the checklist books. It's a shame, really. I love that they experiment with things, different papers and rulings, cover stocks, shapes, sizes, binding...but there's something to be said about knowing you're getting the same experience every time around, at least with the usability of the paper, and that does happen with the limited releases from companies like Write Notepads and Baron Fig.

Click to enlarge.

For pencil, this paper is a welcome respite from the usual smooth paper Field Notes normally uses in its standard releases. It's got the perfect amount of texture for my tastes, not super rough and wasting precious graphite, but at the same time, I can actually get a mark, at a darkness that pleases me, from an HB. I find their standard paper to be a bit smooth, so I'm happy with the paper here in terms of pencil performance.

The layout of the pages in the Date Book is exactly the same as the layout of the Ambition planner. If they tweaked it, I couldn't tell. You get a week per page, undated, so you can start any time you want. January 1st is going to be an orderly and fussy person's dream: they can start the book on a Monday to start the week, month, and year. I know that's what I'll be doing. The checklist book is interesting. Instead of lines, they went with printing white over the gray paper in an alternating pattern, so there are no real lines, just the illusion of lines. And it's very subtle. In certain light, you can't tell the difference. Along the margin, they've come up with their own bullet system, which they call the "Slot Screw-Head Device". It's basically a circle with a line across it, and if you're halfway through a task, you can fill in half of the circle, and if you're finished, you can fill it in the rest of the way. Interesting, but the Word. Notebook system is pretty similar. I imagine most people that are going to like this book won't quite follow the system anyway. I don't when I carry a Word. pocket notebook, and I won't using these. They're small enough and light enough to be ignored, and they live really close to the edge of the page, so it's doubtful if you'd be writing over there anyway. One neat little Easter Egg: on the checklist books only, they've printed 'Staple Day' on the middle page. it's a nice little nod to those of us who're super fans and users of #stapleday.

Overall, I like this edition well enough, but I hope they make the pocket planner a standard offering eventually. I said at the top of the review that a few things confused me. One of those is the printing of white ink on gray paper. That's fine, but it doesn't seem that they tested it with very many writing instruments, or they tested it before the application of the white ink. If they did, and they just let it go anyway, well that's not very good. That's the biggest thing. You might ask why I always complain about fountain pen-friendliness in all my notebook reviews when I am an admittedly infrequent fountain pen user. The main reason is that fountain pen friendly paper in a pocket notebook is easy to do. Story Supply does it, Write Notepads does it, Baron Fig does it. And all of those brands charge less than Field Notes for a 3-pack. The other thing is that it benefits everyone. Standard pen or pencil users can still use fountain pen friendly paper, but not vice versa. So their paper choices frustrate me, mainly for other peoples' sake. The other confusing things to me are design choices, and matters of taste, like the color not matching the season, and the choice of being "inspired" by the Word. Notebooks bullet system.

Included in every pack is a 2-sided 2018 calendar that fits perfectly in the pages of your Field Notes. For me, this will probably double as a blotter page to stick between so there is minimal graphite transfer when writing on the backs of pages. Subscribers also got a 10-year anniversary pack, which I will cover in a later post.

Available from Field Notes, $12.95 for 3-pack.

Started Lunch Table with all his jackass friends. Owner/operator of Hagan Design Co. Blogs about all things stationery over at Lead Fast