January 27, 2016
I’m three months shy of using Field Notes for three years. And my go to notebook before that was the hardcover pocket sized Moleskine notebooks.
There are many great things about Field Notes, but I also have some concerns and I’m straight out disappointed with what they have done with the brand. Let’s begin with the notebooks.
I think Field Notes are great. The format works for having either one or two notebooks in your back pocket. And the kraft paper design looks good both in mint condition, and even better when you have had it for a few weeks. The paper quality isn’t the best, but I stand by my opinion that it is the best for what I want from a pocket notebook(in prioritised order): short dry time, thin pages to limit bulk and as little dry time as possible.
You could get less bleed through by going for the kind of paper you find in either Midori Travelers Notebooks or the Hobonichi Planner. But the dry time with them makes is a far less desirable pocket notebook; especially the Hobonichi. The MTN could work.
The thing I love about Field Notes is that I can write with more or less any pen, and it is dry by the time I close it.
I use Field Notes for two things I use them for my day to day tasks and capture, and the thing I love about the number of pages is that I know it is time for a GTD style review when I reach either the middle or the end of a book. The other thing I use them for is small projects, either at work or home. For example for making some mockups for an app or website.
The core product Field Notes have today, and when I started using them, with the exception of their new planner is more or less the same. They haven’t really extended their core offering in any meaningful way or form. That is the thing that both disappoint and worry me.
They spend a lot of time on the Color Subscription. That is fine, if that is your thing. I’m not into “special edition” stuff. I want to buy something good, and I want to be able to go to JetPens or GouletPens and order a new one of the same thing when or if I need to: pens, notebooks and inks.
I personally think Midori have the right idea. They offer different sizes(two) and they have different kinds of paper and formats. This is the the thing I would love to see from Field Notes in 2016. More options, and not as a special edition, but as a extension of their core offering. They could use the Color Edition as a testing ground for new ideas. But they should bring more of it back as a permanent thing. For example: why aren’t there a lager Field Notes notebook? I would love to see a A5 Field Notes with more pages.