I have heard and read a lot of great things about the Baron Fig Confidant so I was honoured when the guys who created Baron Fig sent me one to review. It is a well known notebook amongst stationery enthusiasts and is held in high regard and loved by many.
I first really decided that Baron Fig was a company I’d like to give my money too when I heard a podcast featuring Adam and Joey speaking to the guys on my favourite podcast… The Erasable Podcast (listen to episode 62) I think the guys did a very good job of conveying their love and determination to create truly great products to inspire individuals. In episode 62 which I’ve linked too above they mainly talk about the new Archer pencil which I bought not long after listening 🙂 but this is about the Confidant sooo
Lets jump in with the specs…
Baron Fig Confidant Specs:
- Cover Material: Cloth
- Colour: Light Grey or Charcoal
- Paper layout: Blank, Ruled or Dot Grid
- Paper weight: 90GSM acid free fine grain
- Paper Colour: Off White
- Open flat: Yes
- Pages: 192
- Sizes and Dimensions:
- Pocket – 3.5″ x 5″ (89mm x 127mm)
- Flagship – 5.4″ x 7.7″ (137mm x 196mm)
- Plus – 7″ x 10″ (178mm x 254mm)
- Bookmark Ribbon: Yes
- Numbered Pages: No
- Perforated pages: Yes 12 pages at rear of notebook
- Inner Back Pocket: No
- Price: (there’s a discount for a bulk purchase)
- Pocket: Around £10 or$12
- Flagship: Around £15 or $18
- Plus: Around £18 or $22
- Where to buy: BaronFig.com
My first thoughts on the Baron Fig Confidant.
Initially when I heard and read about this notebook I will admit I was slightly put off by its grandeur and never thought it would be a notebook I would enjoy to use. It looks too nice, too precious. I wasn’t sure it would be able to cope with the rigours of everyday life.
Even the packaging is an event in itself, the presentation of the box and its contents really make you think this is more than a notebook, it’s an occasion, a blank slate to allow you to do your best work.
Anyway after staring at how lovely it looks I finally decided to dive right in and give it a try. You are met with a number of neat presentational features before you even get to the book, which is a very nice touch. The Confidant fits snuggly in its box, now when I say snug, I don’t mean it’s too tight, it has been expertly and accurately measured. At his point I ran my hand across the cover to feel the material, also to see if there is any give but it has been fitted very well.
I pulled the notebook out by the ribbon which was sticking up and got a real sense of what all the hype is about. It is very comfortable to hold thanks to that cloth cover and its smaller dimensions which differ to that of a standard medium notebook.
I opened it up to test the paper and was extremely impressed by the quality. At a thick 90gsm it is heavy duty stuff and also quite ‘toothy’ so I’m intrigued to see how long a pencil point lasts grinding away on it.
Baron Fig Confidant unique features
– Cloth cover
This notebook has a cloth cover which is strange to me. It’s nothing I’ve seen on a notebook before or at least when shopping (destroying my bank account) for one, or a few. As I said above the cloth cover really did worry me as I didn’t think it would hold up to some rough and tumble but as I have found out it actually handles with it quite well. It is very securely attached to the inside of the cover and I found no evidence of any ‘give’ or movement of the cloth.
One of the things I don’t like is the spine of the confidant, it is very uneven and lumpy which lets the presentation of the notebook down. This may be because of the cloth but I’m not sure.
It is very comfortable to hold and feels nice but it does get mucky easily depending on where I keep it. Mine tends to stay on my desk or in my bag and has picked up a few smears of graphite from my fingers or pencil shavings I’ve missed. All things considered it is a very nice feature which holds up well.
I love things well packaged and this certainly is. It comes in a lovely maroon box with some inspiring notions to kickstart your creativity. When you lift off the lid the first thing you’re met with is a nice little insert which gives you a little insight into the Confidants’ features and introduces itself as the “Book for ideas”. It explains briefly the journey the Baron Fig guys went through when designing and creating this notebook.
Baron Fig Confidant: Design
There has clearly been a lot of blood sweat and tears gone in to the design of the Confidant. It is a gorgeous thing to look at. And that yellow ribbon really sets it off quite nicely.
Baron Fig have chosen a combination of thick toothy paper and a cloth cover which I feel it does give a premium feel although the lumpy spine does detract from that slightly. And to be honest I could do without the cloth. It does collect dirt which takes away from its good looks, I prefer the cover on my Leuchtturm which collects dints, I love the random dints it picks up from knocks etc. But I do like the smaller size of the Confidant when compared to standard medium notebooks. It is smaller in both height and width than a Leuchtturm1917 for example which means it is lighter and arguably easier to carry.
I love the yellow ribbon page marker in this thing. It has been given a lot of stick in previous reviews about the ribbon fraying but I feel since then the Baron Fig guys have listened and fixed the issue. I have experienced no fraying what so ever from my ribbon and I’ve been using this notebook solid for the past few weeks. The only thing I dislike about the ribbon is how it gets creased in the book when closed. This is down to the width of the ribbon. As it is so wide, it folds up when you close the book leaving a very creased and untidy ribbon. The same thing happens in a Leuchtturm1917 or Moleskine but the ribbons are not as wide so the crease is barely noticeable.
Baron Fig Confidant: Performance
Now when buying a notebook one of the key areas to inspect is the paper quality. Let me tell you it is excellent paper, it is quite thick at 90GSM and is described as being ‘toothy’ so if you do prefer a smoother writing experience this might not be for you. Because of the tooth and the fact I write 80% of the time in pencil it does grind the lead down slightly quicker than what I’m used to in my Leuchtturm1917. This certainly isn’t a big issue and it kind of makes it a notebook/sketchbook hybrid, which I like.
Which is why I will not use this as a notebook but as a sketchbook. With the paper in the Confidant being so thick I decided to try out a few sketches which I must say, for me, this is where it really excels. The Confidant I’ve been using has plain pages perfect for drawing so I gave it a go with great success. It works really well with both wooden and mechanical pencils so this is definitely the function of this book for me. Here’s a couple of my sketches…
It does seem to cope well with the pens I’ve tried and I actually really like the way it appears to slow me down when writing, especially with my fountain pen as I tend to write quite fast. I feel this aids my handwriting which isn’t the best to begin with.
This brings me on nicely to a test which we all do to see how paper deals with inks. We check for bleeding and ghosting. So let it be known that from hence forth, this test shall be known as…
‘The Blegho Test’
(The blegho test is something I will refer to in all future notebook reviews)
As mentioned above it deals with inks very well except of course the Sharpie Marker I tried. There is some mild ghosting from the pens but it’s really not bad and barely noticeable when you write on the reverse. I’m very happy with the results of the first ‘Blegho Test’.
So far the Confidant has stayed strong despite my bashing, chucking and heavy use for the past 3/4 weeks. I’ve seen no tears in the cloth or down the spine and the ribbon has not frayed, not even a little. It has even survived a few scrapes with my 2 year old daughter who I actually caught trying to feed it to my dog. This is a testament to the overall quality of this notebook.
– Does it lay flat?
Well it kind of does but it doesn’t do the best job if I’m honest. The Moleskine performs much better here but I’m going to say it may be partly down to the paper thickness. Near the beginning or end of the book it does a decent job of laying flat but the closer you get to the middle the pages flick up on one side which bugs me.
Something worth mentioning here as well is that once the book has been opened, it will not close flat. Guys please sort this out. I often leave my pen/pencil on top of a notebook but as the cover doesn’t close they roll off. It’s not a huge issue but a mere annoyance. I just need to place my writing tool horizontally.
Baron Fig Confidant: Pros / Cons
- Nice packaging
- Great looking
- Excellent paper
- Sturdy build
- Decent price
- Cloth cover gets real mucky
- Ribbon crease
- It doesn’t really lay flat
- The spine is down right fugly
The Baron Fig Confidant is also known as ‘Ever Evolving’. Which, as the website explains, means that the Baron Fig team listen to feedback and iterate its design. “The community shapes the product”.
This is what I’d change or would like to see… (if i were to use this as a notebook)
- I’d love a smaller ribbon and more of them, maybe 3
- Numbered pages
- A pocket in the back cover
- Make the cover lay flat when the book is closed
I’d also love to see yellow stitching in the book, I think it would look great.
For the price it is a solid notebook from a progressive and well ran company led by Joey Cofone and Adam Kornfield. I am more than happy to recommend the Confidant to anyone. I also will be getting a new one, in charcoal which will become a book bound sketchbook.
You can pick one up for yourself by visiting baronfig.com
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