The humble composition book. Available at stores far and wide for little more than the change in your pocket. We’ve all used them at one time or another for school notes or journaling, or as the gateway to the notebook addiction we still live with today. Through thick and thin, the Composition Notebook has been a staple in the stationery world for at least a generation. Well, Baron Fig has seen fit to play with my nostalgia with this new release, so let’s take a look at the set, and see where it stands with its predecessors.
The School Set limited edition release combines the Vanguard notebooks and Archer pencils into a matching collection inspired by the school tools we’re all familiar with. The new Archers are colored yellow with a green top just like the standard Ticonderoga #2 pencil. They are cored with HB graphite, so the write smooth and hold a point very well. In keeping with Baron Fig’s design, the edition does not have an eraser. Since I almost exclusively write in ink I don’t miss having the eraser on the end, but it is a consideration for the product in general.
The School Set ships with three Vanguard softcover notebooks designed to replicate the grade-school standard marble-pattern Composition Book and includes three colors; Black, Green, and Yellow. Each Vanguard measures 5.4 by 7.7 inches, and is filled with 72 pages of lined acid-free paper. The inside front cover has a printed section to fill in your name and contact info, should you leave your JanSport in homeroom (that’s still a thing, right?), and the back interior has helpful guides and conversion tables for reference across several subjects.
This was my first hands-on experience with Baron Fig’s Vanguard line, and I was very impressed with the overall build quality as well as the paper performance with my range of currently inked and daily carry pens. Just as with the latest Confidant editions I’ve had the privilege to examine, the paper held up just as well with Private Reserve ink with a Stub Nib as it did to Diamine ink with an Extra Fine Nib. Even the incredibly inky Baron Fig Squire(more on that in an upcoming review) had no trouble on this paper.
This probably goes without saying, but the similarities between the School Set Vanguard to any of the dozens of commercially available Composition Books really begin and end with the visual design. While the composition books are mass produced to be cheap and accessible for students all over the world, the School Set is a premium product. As such, it is priced accordingly at $26 for the three notebooks and 12 pencils. Or to put it another way, if you’re shopping for one, you won’t really need to consider the other.
That said, Baron Fig did a great job capturing the look of the contents of my high school backpack. These books are very comfortable and versatile to write with, and I fully intend to mark up the covers with hand-sketched band logos and rocket ships. If you suddenly find yourself in need of both notebooks AND pencils, the School Set is a great combo to restock your personal supply drawer. If you just need a few high quality soft cover notebooks, the standard Vanguard is also a great solid at $12 per pack. Check out this great limited edition set at BaronFig.com, and get yours while they last.
Disclaimer: Baron Fig provided this product to The Poor Penman blog free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions stated are those of the author.
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Something for the Suggestion Box
Hindsight being 20/20, I have a couple ideas for tweaks to the School Set, maybe for a V2.0 set next semester. While I’m happy with the overall quality of the School Set, I think these additions would have made it really stand out.
The first idea is a simple one, and it’s a little surprising that it wasn’t part of the launch; Since the set includes three books with different color covers, the three should have different interiors. One ruled, one dot-grid, and one blank. I think that would have really reinforced the school theme to cover a wider range of subjects for which these could be useful.
The second idea is more of an add-on, and something that Baron Fig actually carries a version of already; A simple, pink, Baron Fig branded eraser. Yes, they do sell the Archer Accessory Pack for $6, but a color-matched set to match the School Set theme would have been great. Again, the absence of an extra like this takes nothing away from the quality of the released product, but it would have been a cool addition.