I’ve always liked taking notes, doodling, or the simple act of archiving my thoughts for future use. It’s a genuinely appealing thought to me. I don’t have the best memory and digital distraction is already creeping into every facet of our day to day lives. The need for recording these thoughts is an absolute necessity. Sure, I use digital solutions like Evernote and iOS Reminders. It gives me easily accessible, searchable, and sortable data in an instant. Not that these options are not reliable, I often wish to have a more permanent copy of these thoughts, written rather than typed, and with luck, on something that will have the ability (barring a fire) to survive the ages. These attributes shape what I would call a more organic experience. These are the reasons I like to keep a written notebook.
I’ve owned primarily Moleskine notebooks in the past, but really any paper will do when you need to get something written down. The main thing I look for in a notebook is pocket-ability. That way you don’t have any reason not to carry it with you everyday and you won’t miss out on a fleeting moment of clarity or maybe even genius. The other thing I wanted was for it to be made in the United States. This is what first prompted me to give Field Notes brand notebooks a try.
INSPIRED BY the vanishing subgenre of agricultural memo books, ornate pocket ledgers and the simple, unassuming beauty of a well-crafted grocery list, the Draplin Design Company, Portland, Oregon in conjunction with Coudal Partners of Chicago, Illinois bring you “FIELD NOTES” in hopes of offering, “An honest memo book, worth fillin’ up with GOOD INFORMATION.”
The company has a great sense of humor about life and their notebooks. You will get a glimpse of that if you peruse their website or take a look at the pre-printed list of “uses” that they’ve added on the inside back cover of all of their notebooks. Overall they make a quality product that is made in the U.S.A. That is something I can get on board with.
Field Notes makes a 3.5″ x 5.5″, 48-page notebook with a thick paper cover that is folded over and uses stapled binding. They’re all sold in packs of three. They take great pride in the materials and manufacturing processes that go into their notebooks. Some of which can be seen in the video. They offer three main page formatting options; lined, graph, and plain. They have also made special editions that have a dot graph formatting on the body paper.
Speaking of special editions—Field Notes loves to release limited edition series of their notebooks. They like to experiment with different materials, printing processes, color combinations, and even inks. Their two latest series are their Expedition Edition and their “America The Beautiful” series. The former is made for the adventurer. It features a synthetic paper, made by Yupo, which is water-proof and tear-proof. The latter edition features beautiful and iconic images that represent America that are printed in a style that Field Notes calls “1960s imprecision.” This really shows their fondness of vintage notebooks. They also have other limited series that offer mash-ups in various color combinations of cover, paper, and ink; often geared towards a particular theme. Check them all out here.
So far I’ve been very impressed with how Field Notes presents themselves as a company and their product is—to put it simply—nice to use. It’s not a gadget or whizbang that will be obselete in the next few months. It’s more true than that; closer to the heart. Since getting my first 3-pack, I’ve amassed a small collection of notebooks so far. Some I’ve chosen to keep in their plastic wrapping—and some I’m using everyday to allow me to collect my thoughts and sometimes my sanity.
If you’re in the Atlanta area and want to pick up some of these notebooks locally, I found an awesome boutique called Steve McKenzie’s. They’re located off of Huff Road in the design district near Howell Mill Road. Steve and his wife Jill deal mainly in furniture and home decor (all amazing pieces) and have a nice section dedicated to notebooks (both Field Notes and Moleskine) and leather goods by Colsen Keane.