Baron Fig Clear Sky Vanguard Notebook Review

Video Review

Another week, another Baron Fig release. Idle hands are the Devil's playthings, as the saying goes, so certainly the team at Baron Fig is laying the groundwork for a good review at the Pearly Gates. This time around it is the third Vanguard in the first year of subscriber releases, and it is called Clear Sky. The marketing text on the belly band reads: "Good ideas tend to strike when you least expect them. Clear skies for clearer minds."

Baron Fig being minimal. Wheelhouse.

For the uninitiated, the Vanguard is Baron Fig's A5-ish softcover notebook. The standard model has 3 sizes, Pocket, Flagship (A5), and Plus (7"x10"). So far, all the Limited Edition Vanguards have been in the Flagship range, and I don't predict that will change. As with the standard model, the Limited Editions come 3 to a pack.

Usually, I talk about covers and work my way inside, but the Clear Sky is all about clearing things away, and no better way to do that than with blank paper. No ruling or dot grid, the blank paper clearing a path for you to turn whatever idea you have into a reality without limitations. I get the idea, if that was indeed the thought process. I, on the other hand, like, and even need, boundaries. Structure. And most of my use of notebooks involves writing, so lined is my favorite. This should appeal to the sketchers and the doodlers. The illustrators. Heck, I know one who is already trying to trade for more of these! And I'm happy for the blank-lovers: I can't remember a limited edition Field Notes or Write Notepads that was blank unless it had colored paper (Sweet Tooth). So they're getting some love from Baron Fig. It doesn't fit my desires, but it's also not unusable.

So what about those covers? Well, I find these to be an extension of the Infinity theme, colors-wise. Where the gradient work on the outer cover of the Infinity was confined to the shapes, the inner covers spread some gradient goodness all over. The Clear Sky is icon free, working just with the splash of color and its gentle fade towards the bottom. The "purple" and "pink" ones remind me of colors you see in a sunset, but the "blue" one takes me back to staying up all night and watching the winter sun start to illuminate the cold, barren corn fields of my youth. Or nighttime light pollution when you're on the outskirts of suburbia...I'll stick with desolate corn fields.

3 books. All on-trend gradient.

Blank...or "Clear"?

All my good ideas are taken.

One thing I'll say about the covers on all the Limited Edition Vanguards in this first year subscription cycle is that I'm happy they haven't had a release where all 3 books were the same. The inner covers of the Clear Sky is also blank. You have the branding on the back inner cover like always, as is the bookplate on the front inner cover. But the rest of it is just blank, a slight off-white color, which stands in stark contrast to the blast of color we got in the Infinity. The bookplates are interesting: they also play with gradient here, but they go horizontally instead of vertically and they seem to finish the colors that the covers have. What I mean is this: take the transition from the far left color to the far right color, then take a bit in the middle, and that's your cover color. Another way to explain it is that if the books were taller, we'd see the ends come to the same conclusion as the bookplates. Just an interesting observation.

Overall, the books are nice: the paper is the standard BF Vanguard paper, good for pencil with a nice tooth and thick enough to hold up to most fountain pen abuse. 72 pages of blank paper isn't ideal for me personally, but that's MY problem. I just got some smaller brush pens and have been dabbling in "painting" with fountain pen ink, so I may find a use for these books there.

Available from Baron Fig, $14 for a 3 pack. These books were part of the subscription I paid for last year and not subject to a disclaimer.