Review of the Baron Fig “Confidant” (paper) notebook
My Baron Fig “Confidant” notebook arrived in the mail today. That’s a paper notebook, not a computer.
Baron Fig, it’s kind of a weird name for a premium notebook company. Sounds like some sort of small sweet fruit, similar to a royal date.
I discovered these surfing the web after I blogged about Moleskine notebooks a few days ago.
The argument against Molekine is that you are supporting a huge publicly traded Italian corporation and the notebooks aren’t even made in Italy, they’re made in China. With cheap paper that’s said to suck with fountain pens. Although the Baron Figs are also, presumably, made in China (what isn’t made in China?), at least you are supporting four hipsters in New York City instead of a big Italian corporation. And the Baron Fig hipsters claim to have made improvements to their notebook. Maybe they did, maybe it’s just marketing bogusness. The Confidant has a nice clothbound hardcover and it comes in a single color, light gray. This lack of color choice is actually an advantage from a branding perspective. In case I ever see someone else using a clothbound notebook that’s the same color, I will know that we are both members of the same exclusive club. I also give Baron Fig credit for not emblazing their logo anywhere plainly visible (it’s printed at an out-of-the-way location on the inner back cover). As Paul Fussell could tell you, big legible logos are prole.
Missing from the Confidant is an elastic strap to hold the book closed. It was my understanding that the elastic strap was one of the key features of the Moleskine. Maybe it’s not so key after all?
The only place to buy a Baron Fig (that I know of) is from their website, and the price is $16, which includes free shipping from their warehouse in Long Island City. A few dollars less expensive than a Moleskine, plus you get better paper and all those other alleged improvements.
To test the fountain-pen-friendliness of the paper, I wrote a line of text with my fine-nibbed Lamy Studio filled with Waterman Florida Blue ink. Pass. No bleed-through. And now that I’ve broken it in by writing in it, I hopefully won’t feel too intimidated by the high cost to write more stuff in it.
Except I have no idea what I’m supposed to write in it or why I need it. It was more of a “wow that looks cool” impulse purchase rather than something I have any need for. If I had a job at a company where they have meetings at which notebook computers are banned, I suppose I could use the Confidant to take old-school pen-and-paper notes, but I never worked for that kind of a company, and I don’t have any job now at all.
The marketing material says that their notebooks are “for creative people and their ideas.” The problem is that I must not be very creative. Surely if I were creative, I would have had a much better life experience than being middle-aged without any prospect of finding a job worthy of my talents, or even a crappy cubicle job that’s beneath me. I guess that companies like Baron Fig sell the hope that maybe your problem is not a lack of creativity, but the lack of a high quality and expensive notebook in which to write those lucrative creative ideas which, until now, just got lost.