Baron Fig recently added to their Mastermind product collection with the Mastermind Mini. It’s the same basic idea as the Mastermind Desk Pad, but scaled down to a smaller footprint. As I mentioned in my review of the original, I’m a fan of the desk pad for its open format and usability for creative work and brainstorming. When the mini was released, I had one of those moments where you don’t know how much you need something until you have it in your hands. More on that later. For now, let’s check out the basics of Baron Fig’s latest desk accessory.
The Compact Desk Pad
While the original Mastermind offers a huge landscape for all of your creative seeds to sprout, it demands a substantial amount of desk space at 12 by 8 inches. The Mini splits the original right down the middle, measuring in at 6 by 8 inches. This makes for an excellent fit when placed next to the keyboard, above the mouse pad, or turned horizontally and placed below the keyboard.
Personally, I have found this pad incredibly useful for quick notes when placed between my mouse and keyboard. It also travels well and functions fine as a top-bound notepad in meetings or training sessions. The open format and absence of a top banner (like a Rhodia dot pad, for example) also makes the transition to horizontal positioning comfortable. I’m not an artist by any means, but when I need to mock up a rough sketch of an idea, the Mastermind Mini has the perfect size and feel to get the job done.
One thing missing from the desk pad, and this is the same on the original Mastermind, is a backer card at the end. Although that feature of the design is worth noting, the only time I can imagine it becoming an issue is when you get down to the last few sheets and try to write with the pad in your hand or on a soft surface. So, for it’s designed purpose, this is a non-issue.
Nothing new to report here. The Mastermind Mini uses the same paper that can be found in the rest of the Baron Fig product line. It’s tough enough to handle fountain pen ink, and provides a smooth and comfortable writing experience. Pencils, gel pens, rollerballs, and ballpoints all perform very well on Baron Fig paper. The dot grit is dark enough to be present while writing, but light enough to fade into the background. The pads are PVA/glue bound so sheets tear away with ease, just like the original.
The Mastermind Desk Pad Mini comes in at $9, and ships with two pads of 35 dot grid sheets each. There are similar products on the market, like the Rhodia Dot Pad, or any number of a5-ish size top-bound notepad, that are available in a pretty broad price range. At $9, this isn’t the cheapest product in the category, but it does check a few extra boxes in therms of quality, usefulness, and versatility when compared to lower cost items.
As I mentioned before, the Mastermind Mini was a product I didn’t know I needed until I had it. My go-to for this type of pad has been the a5 Rhodia dot pad. While Rhodia is great for fountain pens, I’ve had some struggles with inconsistency while using rollerball pens, particularly with the Schmidt P8126 refill.
Although the price point is higher than similarly sized products, the quality makes this stand out. If you need a scratch pad on your desk that will take whatever writing instrument you have at arm’s reach, the Baron Fig Mastermind Mini is a great fit!
If you enjoyed this review, and want to check out the Baron Fig Mastermind Mini for yourself, use this affiliate link to get a $10 discount on your order of $20 or more. Using that code will also directly assist me in bringing more products in for review.
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.