In Pictures: Field Notes Haxley

Available from Field Notes, $12.95.

Field Notes 2017 Recap

Field Notes 2017 Recap

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.

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Field Notes Resolution Review

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.

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In Pictures: Bellroy + Field Notes Everyday Inspiration Cover

Field Notes Dime Novel Review

Field Notes Dime Novel Review

Inspired by 19th century publications of the same name, the Dime Novel edition from Field Notes is quite a departure from what they're known for, both in design and theme. This is the 36th quarterly limited release, and only the third to come in a size different from the standard. While I don't have much love for this edition, I find the story behind it very interesting and very Field Notes.

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TBT: Field Notes Ambition

Perfect colors for fall.

Perfect colors for fall.

Looking back on the Ambition edition, I'm thinking there are a lot of loose singles out there. I know people love the planner and have bought packs just to get at that layout. And they'll use the others as daily carry books eventually, but the planner seems to be what buyers are looking for when Ambition editions are being requested in some of the online groups like Field Nuts.

Ambition comes in 3 different cover colors with 3 different layouts within: Olive Green Ledger, Burgundy Wine Graph, and the aforementioned Planner in Chocolate Brown. The layout of each book is printed in the standard "Double Knee Duck Canvas" ink that is in the Kraft books. It goes well with the gold gilded edges that are the most noticeable design element of the books.

According to the product listing, gilding the pages was the hardest and most interesting part of the printing process, and they show a little bit of it in the film. They had to gild the edges on 3 sides, then round the corners and gild those as well.

Golden corners.

Each of the 100# French Paper "Speckletone" covers are embossed with gold for the lettering and logo type. The cover colors are dark and muted, and this gold works perfectly on them. The inside covers are printed with this gold as well.  The paper inside is Cougar Opaque "Natural White" 50# text. You may remember the Byline using a heavier version of this paper, the 70#. It's got a nice touch of cream, just enough to soften the paper in harsh light. I'm a fan of this color of paper. At 50#, it's still not the best for fountain pens, not as good as the 70# in the Byline was, anyway. Fine nibs do ok, especially with inks that aren't super wet.

I'm not sure about carrying multiple pocket notebooks. I haven't gotten on the multi-book-holder-cover train yet. So for me, the planner will act more as a larger Standard Memorandum I keep at my desk, while I'll probably use the other 2 books like I would any pocket notebook. They seem to be going for about $35-$40 sealed on eBay at the moment, unsealed for about $10 less.

Unavailable, original listing over at Field Notes.

TBT: Field Notes Drink Local

Field Notes Drink Local.

For this installment of Throwback Thursday, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Field Notes Drink Local set. I didn't have the blog back when these first came out, so I plan to pull out an old edition from time to time and give them a proper review.

I used to work in the craft beer industry, so these are right up my alley. Field Notes and craft beer go hand-in-hand, and they have many of the same fans. I've been at many beer tastings and watched people putting tasting notes in their Field Notes. There's a stamp you can buy to make your blank Field Notes into a tasting journal. Heck, there's a whole notebook company built around pocket notebooks for various tastings. A beer edition of Field Notes was a no brainer, and I'm surprised it took them as long as it did.

Drink Local was one of those editions where you get 2 different 3-packs, or 6 different books in total. The covers are the colors of the 6 different beers they feature: Bock, Pilsner, & Pale Lager in the Lagers pack; Stout, Amber Ale, and IPA in the Ales pack. The logos are all in white except for the Pale Lager, which is such a light yellow that white would not show up. It looks to be the Bock brown on that one. The inside covers are all black with white printing. See the gallery pics below for the hilarious Practical Applications. The cover specs say New Page Sterling Premium 120#C "Dull" with a "soft touch" varnish and gloss-varnished logos. It feels like heavy paper printed on, then covered in something that gives it a rubbery feel. The closest thing I could think of is the cover of a Rhodia or the Blackwing Clutch. The gloss varnish for the logo is printed on last, and they did a hell of a job. My Bock book is a fraction off-register, but the rest of them are spot on. The corners are all rounded beautifully because this was prior to their printer switching to that new machine that has seemingly lowered their ability to get a good round corner.

All the Lagers.

Gold staples.

All the Ales.

The paper inside is the Finch Opaque Smooth 50#, which was the standard at the time. These days it's a little heavier at 60#. Instead of the normal brown lines, they use a "Hefeweizen" yellow. It is the normal graph layout. It might've been nice for them to make these beer tasting books with a specialty layout, but I can see that getting a TON of flack from the Nuts. I still hold out hope that they'll make something like this...I mean, they make the Flight Plan for crying out loud...more people drink beer than fly drones, I guarantee. I'm not doing a writing test here, but you know the drill: this paper was trash for all but the driest and finest of fountain pens, pretty much fine for everything else. And gold staples! They're shiny.

A cool drink coaster was packaged in the belly band of each pack. They did different ones for style of pack, though the differences are slight. I saw many branded coasters, of all shapes and sizes, in my time as a beer salesman...these are thick, quality coasters. Subscribers also got a "6-pack" holder, which was a piece of heavy stock you had to fold and could put both packs in it. Not useful, by any means, but cool and relevant to the theme.

Overall, these are nice books. In fact, I think I'm going to make the Bock my next daily carry book, once my Expedition Franken-book is finished. When I first got these, I used the Stout as an on-the-desk sketch journal and finished it in about 3 days, so I never got to experience how these would hold up in the pocket. I'm a big fan of beer and a big fan of Field Notes, so these are going to fit right in with my daily carry, and hopefully the cover coating will hold up to being accidentally set down on a mug ring at the bar.

Unavailable. Original product page on Field Notes.

MY Trip To Field Notes HQ

There have been a couple "Field Notes HQ Tour" posts out in the stationery blogosphere the past couple of weeks. They're very well written and full of awesome detail. I implore you to read Jinnie's post over at Three Staples and Priya's post on The London Parchment for some exciting details and great pictures.

In the last 9 months, I've been to FNHQ 3 times. I live about 2 hours south of Chicago, and FNHQ is in my old neighborhood from when I lived in the city (about 5 blocks from my old apartment, actually). But I went for the first time to the holiday open house in December of 2016. Draplin was there and I got to meet him, have him sign some cool stuff I gave away on the Field Nuts group (and some stuff for my personal stash). I got to meet Jane, who is now a local trading partner and friend, but mostly it was watching people buy stuff from Draplin. The next time was the Draplin Pop Up Shop the same weekend as the Chicago Pen Show in early May. Another visit to watch people stare at Draplin and buy stuff, though I got to meet a couple cool people from the Nuts group. But this visit was different and definitely the most fun.

Tina Koyama, urban sketcher extraordinaire, happened to be in Chicago this past week attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium and put out a call a few weeks before on the Field Nuts Facebook group to see if anyone from the area wanted to do a meetup. Some really great people answered the call, and about 10 of us met at Field Notes HQ for a tour with Bryan Bedell with a little lunch at a nearby restaurant beforehand. We had a ton of fun. Here's a few pics.

It's always fun to get to go to FNHQ, don't get me wrong, but going with a group of people I can now call friends and getting to experience it when there isn't an event going on is definitely the way to go. Bryan and the crew were nothing but gracious hosts. I'm sure it's not easy taking on 10 people that are Nutty as hell about your product!