“Ambition” is the 25th release in the Field Notes Colors series of limited edition notebooks.
The three pack contains a datebook, ledger and memo book.
Let me say right off the bat that I do not have any use for a datebook or a ledger and I would have liked more memo books in any of the standard formats (dot grid, blank, lined, etc…). That aside, I think this is one of the very best Colors editions.
I love the subdued covers with gold embossed logos, gold colored staples, and gold leaf gilded edges. These books are nice.
The paper holds up to fountain pen ink quite well though thicker and juicer pens will bleed through.
I hope the Field Notes decides to make the Ambition memo book part of their permanent line. I would happily pay a premium for it over the standard memo book.
The Arts and Sciences editions are special because they are much larger than all past Colors editions. Instead of the normal package of three 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks you get two large 4.75″ x 7.5″ notebooks with 64 pages each.
The covers feature the normal Futura Bold typeface but unlike past editions “Field Notes” is debossed into the covers as are the little Arts and Sciences logos on the back cover.
The Arts notebook has a “chili” colored cover and features art related references on the inside covers:
The Sciences notebook has an “urban grey” colored cover and features science related references on the inside covers:
The pages in the Arts notebook are lined on one side and blank on the other. The Sciences notebook is a bit more interesting. It features “Engineer’s Graph Lines” on one side and blank pages on the other. The thickest grid lines are the 1″ followed by 0.5″ and 1/10″. I love these graph lines.
The paper in both of these notebooks is the same and like most Field Notes they don’t hold up well to fountain pen ink. There was a good amount of bleed.
Of the two, the Sciences notebook is my favorite. I really like what they did with this edition. I am not sold on this larger format at the moment but I need to spend more time with them. My initial reaction is that they are too big. You can’t put them in a pants or coat pocket.
Cold Horizon is the latest edition in Field Notes’ Colors series. When the covers are lined up you can see a blue gradient. The blue gradient is continued in the font on the inside of the front and back cover.
In the set each notebook features a different paper color, blue, green, and grey. Each notebook has grey grids.
Overall, I love the design; it is clear that they really put some thought into these notebooks.
On to the bad:
The covers are unpleasant to touch; they have a bit of a grainy feel which seems odd on a glossy cover. Most Field Notes are not considered fountain pen friendly and the Cold Horizon edition is no exception, in fact, the paper actually seems to resist fountain pen ink.
While I like the look of these Field Notes I don’t think I will be purchasing another set.
The Field Notes Expedition was not well received as the paper does not agree with many pens. The Expedition edition uses a synthetic plastic paper and cover which makes the pages and cover tear resistant and waterproof. The pages have a grey dot pattern. I haven’t used any other waterproof papers so I don’t have anything to compare it to but I really like these Field Notes .
As you can see below, this paper is not the most pen friendly. I have found that regular (non-gel) ballpoint pens and pencils work the best. Writing in the notebook feels like writing in cold butter; it is so smooth and pleasant that even the finest points feel great on this paper. I dipped the notebook in water after doing a smear test and the plastic pages were completely fine, however, most of the ink was not.
As I have stated before in my Field Notes Calendar Review I didn’t like Field Notes right away because the paper was not fountain pen friendly. Not too long ago I saw a friend’s collection of limited edition Field Notes and I stopped caring so much about the paper.
Let’s talk about the paper; it’s okay, not great. I use my Field Notes with fountain pens and and there is some bleed through and very minor feathering with juicy pens. Some editions have slightly thicker paper than others but in general Field Notes do not do that well with fountain pens.
I love the Futura typeface and all of the interesting and amusing things that they print onto the covers. I also really like that they list how each Field Notes was manufactured and what materials were used. Here is the cover of the California County Fair Field Notes:
Field Notes measure 3.5″ x 5.5″ and come with 48 pages of blank, ruled, or graph paper. There are more variations in the limited editions, for instance, the Drink Local Edition has an amber colored grid paper and the Night Sky Edition used a reticle graph paper. You can subscribe to their Colors Subscription for $97 a year and you will get 4 quarterly shipments with two three-packs of the most recent limited edition as well as two three-packs of the standard Field Notes for a total of ten three-packs per year.
There are not many collectable paper products out there and certainly none that have been executed as well as Field Notes. If you are into pens and paper Field Notes are pretty hard to resist…I am contemplating a second Colors subscription.
I usually carry at least one Field Notes in my Midori Traveler’s notebook as they are really easy to slide in an out when I don’t need all the other notebooks in my Midori.
Here are some great Field Notes reviews:
(I have no affiliation with any of the sites linked below)
When I tried Field Notes journals a few years back I didn’t like them; the paper wasn’t fountain pen friendly so I gave them away and that was that. Recently, I saw a friend’s vast collection of limited edition Field Notes and realized that I couldn’t live without them. Beyond the journals I have ventured out into some of their other products which brings me to the Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar.
The calendar features the same Futura Bold font as the journals and the chipboard backing has the typical sort of campy/amusing signage you expect from Field Notes. For example, it states “No maintenance or special tools required.” As the name suggests this calendar has 18 months starting November 2013 and ending with April 2015.
The back of the chipboard features a list of “Real Big Days” including major holidays and the dates of (random) historical events; here is a sample of the dates:
Mar 22: “Leonard ‘Chico’ Marx, hat-wearing comedian (b. 1887)”
May 1 : “1982 World’s Fair opens in Knoxville, Tennessee (1982)”
Jun 12 : “Dr. Cyclops begins filming in three-stage Technicolor (1939)”
The back also lists details about what was used in the manufacturing process.
The calendar itself is very simple; the only real features are moon phases and holidays. There isn’t much space to write in the date boxes so like the Field Notes journals you would buy this more for looks than for function. The Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar looks great and I am excited to use it at my desk.