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June 17, 2013 1:05 PM   Subscribe

In commemoration of the 19th edition of its Colors series, Field Notes brand notebooks offers this video of the Night Sky.

Beloved by their adherents, and inspired by the seed book tradition, limited editions of the Colors series have become serious collectors items. "If Moleskine is a notebook with European aspirations, then Field Notes is its polar opposite -- a product with no pretensions and a quintessentially American appeal."
posted by Apropos of Something (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I keep looking at the Field Notes web site and not buying anything. Nice covers, but I want lines, not graph paper or "reticle graph paper" on my notebooks. And I want them sewn, not stapled. Moleskine cahier notebooks have both and the colors are nice even though the covers aren't quite as fancy. And they've got slightly more pages and are cheaper.
posted by Jahaza at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah... I also discovered this weekend the nice covers from R&L Goods.
posted by Jahaza at 1:15 PM on June 17, 2013


I love them, but I don't know if you can really call Field Notes "a product with no pretensions".
posted by the jam at 1:31 PM on June 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


I would counter that anyone evoking what's evoked using Futura, not to mention its design allusions, is in fact hipsterishly pretentious.

I also happen to really like both Field Notes and Moleskine notebooks, precisely because they are aesthetically comfortable, tactilely pleasing, and, well, pretty.

And when my Bourgeoisie Levels get to critical, I use whatever's at the grocery store until the pretention off-gassing is finished.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:31 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would counter that anyone evoking what's evoked using Futura, not to mention its design allusions, is in fact hipsterishly pretentious.

what?
posted by nathancaswell at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


God, seriously. Could we maybe stop labeling anything that is intentionally designed and crafted as "pretentious"? I mean, I suppose this distinction could have meant something 20 years ago when the US still had a manufacturing sector. These days, the alternative to craft seems to be shit that's designed by accountants, fashioned by Chinese wage-slaves and sold in big box stores or online (in which case it's stacked, sorted and shipped by first world wage-slaves). You're hardly "sticking it to the man" when you shop lowbrow. In fact, you're shoving your money directly into his pockets for him.

Why are we still trying to shame people who take pride in their craft with stale labels that function to advance the lowest common denominator as a self-evident good? Who the fuck does that serve?
posted by R. Schlock at 1:45 PM on June 17, 2013 [22 favorites]


Hey, why so serious? Who's shaming? I love the quality and still think they're pretentious. It's okay to be that sometimes.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:50 PM on June 17, 2013


Definition of pretentious
adjective

attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed

Again: it's bullshit to suggest that there is an integrity in stuff that is mass-manufactured that things designed by artisans or created for specialist or connoisseur markets lack.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2013


why so serious

Anyone who evokes what's evoked by this statement, not to mention its design allusions, is pretentious.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Use what works for you. Don't knock what works for others. Either way, enjoy the videos.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:01 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, guys. I really didn't mean anything but affectionate teasing for both products -- Field Notes and Moleskine -- both of which I've purchased and enjoyed using.

I'm not going to continue defending my comment because it feels like our commitments to the topic aren't at similar levels. I'll move along.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:02 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


R. Schlock: " These days, the alternative to craft seems to be shit that's designed by accountants, fashioned by Chinese wage-slaves and sold in big box stores or online"

Eponysterical!
posted by chavenet at 2:03 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good God, are you serious? Limited Edition Notebooks are the very definition of pretentious. They've out-hipstered colored vinyl.
posted by dobbs at 2:08 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I own and use Field Notes products. I actually like their clicky pens the most because it's hard to find those pens (Bic Clic) in small runs without custom printing and I feel bad constantly stealing them from my mechanic's shop.

Anyhow, back to the video - I'm not an astronomer and I've never lived in a place that's not overrun with night time light pollution, so this may be a stupid n00b question but is that what the sky looks like - for real, out of human eyes - at night when there isn't an overabundance of ambient light? I mean, I know there aren't lines and letters designating the constellations, but can you really see the cloud-like formations? The different colors of sky? Or is that some photo enhancement that's happening?

Photos like that are so beautiful and amazing and actually otherworldly that they don't seem real.
posted by elmer benson at 2:13 PM on June 17, 2013


elmer benson: "I mean, I know there aren't lines and letters designating the constellations, but can you really see the cloud-like formations? The different colors of sky? Or is that some photo enhancement that's happening? "

A bit of both -- you can't pick out quite that many stars with the naked eye (or at least, I can't, even on the rare and brilliant occasions I've gone stargazing in places with zero light pollution), but you can definitely see the Milky Way in all its glory when the weather/moon conditions are right.
posted by bettafish at 2:22 PM on June 17, 2013


The sky really does look like that. The first time I saw the Milky Way in the desert, I couldn't believe it.
posted by the jam at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


is that what the sky looks like - for real, out of human eyes

Having been under some pretty dark skies, not really, at least not with my eyes. If you sit out for a while and really let your pupils open up (moonless nights are best) you can certainly see the Milky Way - it's a big hazy smear across the sky. It's not nearly as bright as a good photo will lead you to believe, though.
posted by echo target at 2:25 PM on June 17, 2013


> Nice covers, but I want lines, not graph paper or "reticle graph paper" on my notebooks. And I want them sewn, not stapled.

They sell them ruled. Can't help you with the stapling, though.

I'm not a Fields Notes customer -- even though I think they look fantastic and I'd have no qualms about carrying them around. It's partly because they're too small, and partly because their paper tends to have a bad rep among fountain pen users... it's not always bad, but Field Notes seems to source different paper vendors for each edition and even for different batches of their standard inventory*, so you can never tell whether you'll get something that's pen-friendly or something that'll make your writing bleed to unreadability.

*(Except for the Expedition Edition, for which the synthetic paper is apparently pretty great. But the books are still too small. De gustibus non est disputandum.)
posted by ardgedee at 2:54 PM on June 17, 2013


They cranked up the colors of the Milky Way. But other than that, yes: a clear and moonless night in the high desert is more amazing than that video would suggest.
posted by nixt at 3:02 PM on June 17, 2013


Good God, are you serious? Limited Edition Notebooks are the very definition of pretentious. They've out-hipstered colored vinyl.

The company that makes Field Notes, Coudal Partners, doesn't make them as their full-time business. They also run one of the best and most tasteful ad networks on the Internet, manufacture pins, host Photoshop competitions between some of the best graphic designers on the planet, and generally have their hands in all sorts of interesting things.

Field Notes aren't limited edition for the sake of obscurity, and if they were, there wouldn't be such frequent print runs of them. (They are hardly ultra-exclusive.) They're limited edition because they're made by a very small group of people, none of whom make these as their full-time job.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:09 PM on June 17, 2013


I like these notebooks, and moleskins too, but I am pretty sure I have completely forgotten how to write.
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a hand made leather cover specifically made to hold Field Notes books. I am on another level of pretentious from you amateurs.
posted by bongo_x at 3:23 PM on June 17, 2013


I've found that the more beautiful the notebook I'm using is, the worse my writing angst gets. A stack of quality A4 paper is pretty much the best note taking paper AFAIC. I used a moleskine once and it was terrible.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:25 PM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that's the real beauty of the cheap notebooks, isn't it? With a nice one it feels like everything you write or draw in it Must Be Good, so you'd probably better put off doing it until you've practiced it a bit. And then of course you put it off for long enough to forget about it. With loose paper or cheap notebooks you can tear the pages out of, who cares? Go for it! You can destroy the evidence if it sucks.
posted by echo target at 3:30 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dollarama sells these notebooks for $2 which are just like Moleskins only with better paper.
posted by jb at 4:12 PM on June 17, 2013


If for some reason you're looking for a hand made leather cover specifically made to hold Field Notes books, I recommend these.
posted by box at 4:12 PM on June 17, 2013


elmer benson: "I mean, I know there aren't lines and letters designating the constellations, but can you really see the cloud-like formations? The different colors of sky? Or is that some photo enhancement that's happening? "

Yes! A couple of months ago I was in this dutch island called Ameland, way up north, and the view of the sky was fantastic. I saw the Milky Way clearly for the first time with my naked eye.
posted by Omon Ra at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2013


Apropos of Something: “[A] product with no pretensions and a quintessentially American appeal.”
Ampad 22-156.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:01 PM on June 17, 2013


1.) Dude, Aaron Draplin is one of the least pretentious designers I've encountered, at least by standard definitions of pretentious. He gets vulgar about signage, loved his dearly departed Gary, and is really big into snowboarding. He has a studio filled with vintage notebooks and ledgers and stuff.

“One hundred years ago, everybody had to write,” Draplin says. “What do we have now? A bunch of fucking dicks with iPhones. No one can write, no one can spell. We’re losing that shit."

2.) I'm not good at using little notebooks and have learned to resist the delight of the smaller Field Notes (except for succumbing to the National Crops edition), but the Field Notes Steno Book is the most goddamn perfect writing thing for everything, ever, and I've gone through almost a dozen of them and show no inclination of stopping.
posted by redsparkler at 11:04 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and here's Draplin himself on how cool Field Notes are, taken from an article I linked to:

“Will they go out of style? Oh yeah!” Draplin says. “The people who have a loop for frivolous shit, they’re one out of 100. There’s 99 other motherfuckers who take notes because that’s their job. The UPS guy that comes in here, he uses them. I gave him one a year ago he just fills full of shit. I would much rather see him using the things. It’s just paper. It’s not cool. The fonts aren’t cool at that point. But it works for him. And that is a cool thing."
posted by redsparkler at 11:07 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've said before, I wish I liked ANYTHING as much as Draplin loves those old notebooks of his. I buy Field Notes stuff because his excitement was contagious once. They're well made, they're pretty cool. He's funny as fuck, and while it might be hipster prentiousness, that's fine by me if it serves a purpose.

(PS: I HIGHLY prefer the Steno books too, I wish they'd do some time limited covers and stuff at that format)
posted by DigDoug at 6:47 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice covers, but I want lines, not graph paper or "reticle graph paper" on my notebooks. And I want them sewn, not stapled.
They sell them ruled. Can't help you with the stapling, though.


Right. I might pay a little extra (and live with the staples) for the cool covers, but most of the cool covers ones I've seen are graph paper (though not without exception). The current night sky one for instance. I'd totally have bought that with lined paper.
posted by Jahaza at 1:57 PM on June 18, 2013


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