Baron Fig Mastermind and Nomad Review

Disclaimer: this product was provided by Baron Fig for review purposes. 

Would you look at that...another product from Baron Fig! We're not even halfway through the year yet, but I'm about to declare 2017 the year of the Fig already. They are releasing products at an insane pace, and the Mastermind & Nomad are just the newest of the bunch. They've actually been out for a few weeks on the site, but not really talked about because they've been lost in the shuffle with all the other releases. I don't think I've even seen official word from them on any social media or a marketing email yet. At this point, it's been a soft launch without a lot of fanfare.

So what are the Mastermind and the Nomad? Well, if you've ever looked at the pad of sticky notes next to your desk and wondered if there were better options out there, the Nomad is for you. Made from similar paper as their notebooks, the Nomad is a 3" x 3"  pad of sticky notes, with the Baron Fig dot-grid and rounded corners. The paper is thinner than the paper on the Mastermind, which seems thinner than Confidant paper. Of course, these are for scratch notes and being thrown away, so I wouldn't expect great paper. For what the Nomad replaces, however, it is far and away better.

Price-wise, you're looking at just under 3 times what a standard Post-It note costs per note. That's not terrible, but just remember for every note you take and eventually toss away, you're looking at just under 4¢. These are totally high-end sticky notes. If you do a lot of sketching on them and moving them around, these are for you. Stickiness-wise, they are equal to any Post-It I've ever used, which is to say they stick really well on the bezel around my computer screen. If you're just doing single notes that last for a few hours and chucking them in the trash, they might be a little cost prohibitive.

For the Mastermind, it's supposed to be a desk pad. The idea is kinda like the old large desk calendars people used to have on their desks before computers were really ubiquitous. The desk pad that protected your nice wooden desk and didn't really get used as a calendar, but as a scratch pad. This is also dot-grid, and is the same exact paper as what is in the Vanguard. It is also blank on the back side, but the difference here is that it can be used "upside down" if you wanted to use blank instead of dot-grid. Just tear off the back of the pack instead of the front and you're set with the blank pad.

For me, this is the Goldilocks syndrome in reverse. It's just that perfect size to not be able to work in two different use cases that I want to use it for. If it were a bit bigger, it would be a perfect desk pad for under-keyboard use. If it were a bit smaller, it would be great for beside-the-mouse scratchpad use. But as it stands, at 12" x 8", it's a bit small for one task and a bit big for the other. It is basically letter-sized, plus or minus an inch or so on either dimension. In my testing, I used it for a scratch pad at the bottom of my Mac keyboard. It sat from the edge of the keyboard bottom to the edge of my desk. I do like it, and it is good for that use, but it doesn't anchor the desk that way I want a "desk pad" to do. The Mac keyboard is small and in my day job, I spend a lot of time with one hand on it, doing shortcuts, with the mouse in my other hand, so I tend to slide the keyboard around a bit, which would, in turn, move the desk pad around too. If this were 12" x 18", it would work as a true desk pad, or if it were 9" x 6", it would work great as a tear off scratch pad next to the mouse. Overall, though, having a high quality, foot-long page of dot grid paper in front of me, in any capacity, is worth the money. For $15, you get 2 pads of 35 sheets, so a little over 21¢ per sheet.

For my uses, I will go through more Masterminds than Nomads. The notes I like to stick up on the wall by my computer screen are longer than what a usual sticky note can hold, so I generally write them on a Write Notepads Pocket Ledger and tape them up. That's worked well for me. What I usually use sticky notes for are single use, quick jottings that are useless after they've done their duty, and the Mastermind can hold a ton of those sitting on my desk. I'll feel bad about throwing away such a lovely sticky note, so I'm sure I'll save them for special occasions...that sounds weird, I know! 

Available from Baron Fig. Mastermind $15 for 2 packs of 35, Nomad $8 for 3 packs of 70.