Write Notepads puts out consistently great quarterly releases with seemingly little fanfare. This year was no different. They didn't have the barrage of products like Baron Fig or the quality / marketing snafus of Field Notes, so in our little stationery circles there wasn't as much discussion about them. They just kept on making Baltimore and Baltimore-adjacent themed notebooks. That's a good thing.Read More
At first glance, it seemed to me that Field Notes had a slow year, but after I looked back, it was actually a lot busier than I had initially thought. It's likely that I just didn't succumb to as much FOMO as I did in years past, and I skipped a few releases, mainly the simple collaborations. There was also a little bit of drama with them this year, first with the quality control of some of the early 2017 items, then with the tone-deaf collaboration with Abercrombie & Fitch towards the latter part of the year. First, I'll dig into the Quarterly releases, then we'll talk about the other stuff.Read More
We're into Year 3 of the Volumes series. Palomino continued to do a few different things with the limited pencils this year, some cool, some not...along with a few head scratchers. Some thoughts on each Volumes series release, then we'll get into the rest of what they did with the line.Read More
The 2017 Field Notes Tournament of Books have shown up at Lead Fast HQ! These don't warrant a full review, however, a few notable things:
1. Lined paper! My favorite.
2. The Practical Applications is the list of books in the tournament.
3. Like before, these are $2 and Field Notes will match your $2 and give the money to 826National. Singles only.
4. 60# paper, 80# standard Kraft cover, the red rooster ink is used for the inside covers, and the Field Notes logo is white.
A few pics:
Available from Field Notes, $2.
If 2017 is anything like 2016, no doubt will there be a deluge of special releases, limited editions, and one-time-only offers. There will be more stuff to review than I know what to do with. Unfortunately, there will be no way I can keep up with it, even if I stick to the things I love most, pencils and pocket notebooks. So, in an effort to get ahead of myself, here's a few things I'd like to see in the coming year.
No Blackwing Volume is more beloved than the 211. Its natural wood finish won over all the pencil pushers, myself included. I'd like to see Palomino release a year-round natural pencil with the extra-firm core they launched in the Vol. 24 (and subsequently put in the 530). It would satisfy 2 requests from many in the pencil nerd community, a natural finish and an always available extra-firm core. From just the chatter about what we hope to see next in the group, I know this pencil would quickly sell like gangbusters.
It would also be nice to get that Palomino HB back into production. I always like an eraser tip, but the end-capped ones would be fine. And the triangle Golden Bear. Love that pencil.
More than anything, I would like to see further experimenting with Field Notes. They did a bang-up job playing around this year on the Colors releases, switching up size, style, and function with nearly every release. One problem, though, is that they play around with paper weight so much, you don't know what you're getting and how it reacts until you test it...for fountain pen people, this must be a massive headache.
I'd like to see them release a pocket sized version of their planner, or just make the Ambition Planner a year-round offering. I also want a new Kraft (or Pitch Black) in the Arts & Sciences size. That size is perfect of meetings, carrying with an iPad or laptop...and they lose a sale every time I need that size and can't get it from them. It's long overdue.
Also, find something new to give away as the random drop-in freebie: I have enough pens.
I hope the Pollux and it's replacement blades become more readily available to us in the States. The limited amount that made it over here sold out quickly and has made it a limited resource. It's a great sharpener and maybe with an influx of supply, it'd become more affordable as well.
I'd like to see Word. do something besides change their covers. A change in paper or ruling, perhaps. Just to shake things up.
What I don't want to see
If I see one more "This is the only notebook you'll ever need" Kickstarter, I'm gonna hurl. These things come with apps that will be supported for who-knows how long, use existing pen tech that already exists.
I'm sick of Ticonderoga owning the big box stores. It's been good to see some re-branded Hindustan pencils make it into Walmart, as well as the always good USA Gold, but I'd like to see something from an American pencil maker, like Musgrave or General. Walmart used to pride itself on carrying Made in the USA items, maybe they could get back there, at least in the pencil section...
I'm looking forward to what's in store for 2017. For me, expanding my horizons into the deep world of fountain pens is one thing that is definitely going to happen. More reviews of more brands, more videos and more feature posts. And maybe a little bit of merch, like my own pencils or stickers or something like that...it remains to be seen. Thanks to all the readers who have stopped by to read my words or watch my videos....more to come!