Field Notes

April 28th, 2009 | brainjuice

I now own a couple of packs of Field Notes notebooks. (Purchased via The Paperie in the UK, as PayPal still fail to validate my account.) I was attracted/amused by their appearance on the website — the slightly flecked, unprocessed-looking brown card covers are millennial culture-code for "authenticity" (ref. Godspeed You! Black Emperor CD sleeves, Muji).

These notebooks are actually quite beautiful. Am particularly amused by the five-inch ruler printed on the trim-edge of the inside back cover, which also contains a funny list of "Practical Applications."

The slightly olive cast of the card cover, the sturdy feel of the thing, and the usefulness of things like the printed ruler (seriously, that’s something I’m going to use, I’m forever squinting at publication formats and guessing) and the recording template in the inside front cover… it does conjure, for me, memories of discovering artifacts from times of working austerity. My grandad still had his old ration book on the sideboard in 1975, as if convinced that it’d be handy again one day soon. Aside from it being just a really nice object to handle and use, a Field Notes notebook feels like an apt thing to have in my hand this year. Futura type and postwar olive.

Good job, Field Notes people.

Also funny: a Field Notes tag on Flickr.


13 Responses to “Field Notes”

  1. We use these at Zetetic a lot, have been sense we first saw them about last Summer. I find them extremely useful and pleasurable for capturing ephemeral writing and thoughts as well as just as a practical piece of temporary outboard memory.

    Also good for jotting down notes on songs at rehearsal ;-)

  2. I use Field Notes a lot too. I like their industrial design style and that they use Futura for the type throughout (which I also over use). They were designed by this guy: http://www.draplin.com and his blog is a constant source of great design. Also, here’s some ration coupon porn: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/hfc/browse/?

  3. So…Moleskines are out, then?

  4. Thank you Warren for your mention of The Paperie – sales of Field Notes have soared today and I can only think that this is thanks to you. I am pleased to hear that you are happy with your purchase and enjoying your Field Notes. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Paperie in the future!

  5. *Let me know if those work out for you and I’ll run a review on COOL TOOLS.

  6. Bought some when they first came out – nice, solid objects as you say. If you want any of the other colours (which seems highly unlikely, but what the hey) feel free to ask.

  7. There’s some serious notebook fandom going down at that site.

    The form of the field note booklet reminds me of something I ran across many years ago. I found, at a garage sale, a cute little booklet specifically made for recording automobile mileage and parts expenditures. I filled it out religiously for a few weeks, then lost track of it. It had slid underneath a seat. The churn of junk and passengers’ feet eventually caught up with it.

  8. Just ordered a set of them for myself. Having cool notebooks around inspires me to fill them up, and the design of these is right up my Swiss typographic alley…

  9. Warren,
    We here at Field Notes are so pleased you like our notebooks! Thanks so much for the kind words and for boosting sales at our friends The Paperie. It’s a honor to count you as a Field Notes fan, right back at ya!

  10. [...] big-time writer/futurist wows us with some very kind words: English graphic novelist Warren Ellis gave us a shout-out on his blog yesterday, resulting in a rush on FIELD NOTES at The Paperie. Ellis’ wide variety of work [...]

  11. @filch I wondered about that myself before I tried out Field Notes a while back, as I’m a happy Moleskine user as well. Different tools for different jobs. The Field Notes fit in the pocket much more easily; I often have mine nestled with my wallet or in the back pocket, where they are unobtrusive. I use the Moleskines for longhand journaling, baseball scorekeeping, and meeting refuge. Field Notes for hiking and cycling treks, walking around town, and general folderol — sort of an advanced HPDA, which is funny as I’ll often also have a few index cards stuck in it as well.

    I have a feeling they could also be used as an anti-personnel weapon in a pinch, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test that out. ;)

  12. Just had Draplin (The Field Notes designer) do our wedding invitations. God I love Futura Bold.

  13. What strikes me as exceptionally odd, is that I live in Chicago and have just now heard of these through the website of a man living in England.

    Further, as I followed the website information I discovered that I had delivered sandwiches to their office this very same day.