As I sit in this coffee house, listening to coffee house music and watching trendy coffee house patrons read their newspapers and trendy magazines, sipping their trendy coffee drinks, like my grande, extra shot, blonde flat white, and having trendy conversations, I see a tendency towards a simpler life style. In reality, it seems a bit forced and most of the younger generations cannot pull it off as easily as the generation that actually grew up doing it. Whether it’s just a fad to be different or this generation actually finds it useful, the old archetypes of this “new” movement have found a place in the future.
Personally, I still like the old, yet, there was a time when I fervently pursued technology, only to experience a disconnect with the tasks one executes with them. Yes, I am writing this post on a computer, but most of the time, these posts start off on paper. Paper is not the only thing I’ve fallen back on; pipe smoking, manual focus, shooting film (or at least, trying to), french press coffee, moka espresso machines, writing with pencil, etc. I still work with technology. You have to, if you interact with the world, but when you’re doing something for yourself, the old brings tranquility, a sense of connection.
I’ve been writing on Moleskine notebooks since 2007, starting with their hard cover pocket notebooks. There’s something ergonomically sound about them; their paper is a pleasure to write on, whether you’re using rollerball (my favorite), gel, fountain pen, or even pencil (I don’t “do” ballpoint). The pages hold up and don’t leak through. Moleskine was a niche product. I got my supply from bookstores. Recently, Moleskine (the company) has expanded their product line to include writing tools, bags and other accessories. It’s become a household name. This popularity has brought attention to competition, some of which have been in existence as long or even longer than Moleskine, yet they were unknown until the notebook trend surged.
This post is about a new notebook called the Confidant and it’s by Baron Fig. It’s hard-cover and comes in three sizes: Pocket (3.5″x5″), Flagship (5.4″x7.7″), and Plus (7″x10″). These correspond to the Moleskine sizes. They come in two colors: Charcoal and Light Gray. My copy is a Charcoal Flagship. The Confidant comes in a presentation box which has the name of the product and the paper layout chosen (blank, dot, or lined pages). Besides the notebook, there is a pamphlet with a bit of marketing regarding how the owner of the notebook is amongst the most creative crowd, and how the Confidant is designed for creatives and thinkers.
The Confidant is supposed to lay flat opened, but it requires a bit of coaxing to get it do so. The line rule is wider than the Moleskine, by 1mm making it a medium ruled (college ruled), while the Moleskine is narrow ruled. Thought the difference is small on paper (no pun), the difference is very obvious when you look at it. Personally, I prefer the narrow rule even though I tend to write my capital letters in a drop-cap fashion, even with a medium point rollerball. The Confidant is better suited to my writing though. As with the Moleskine, there are no margins on the page, but unlike the Moleskine, the Confidant does not have a pocket on the inside of the back cover nor an elastic band to keep the notebook shut, and the covering is a textured cloth-like material, which feels very nice when you carry it. The glossy Moleskine coverings can get a bit slippery if your hands are sweaty. This is not the case with the Confidant.
The pages of the Confidant are not as buttery smooth and pliable as the Moleskine’s, but they do feel heavy. The front and back end-pages are very heavy stock and they are textured. The front end-page has a blank rectangle possibly for the owner to put a bookplate, stamp or simply to write their information, like on the Moleskine. It also has twelve perforated pages at the end, like the Moleskine Cahier Journal.
Writing in the Confidant is a pleasure. I tested its pages with a Pilot G2 fine point gel (in a Grafton pen), a fine point Montegrappa Parola rollerball, a Visconti Rembrandt rollerball, and the elusive Rhodia HB pencil. The Visconti, with its ceramic tip was the smoothest (which is the point of the ceramic tip), without smudging. I am going to assume that this is also a fountain-friendly notebook. The pencil marks are nice and dark (unlike on the Rhodia Webnotebook, which I’ll review later).
To me, the Confidant’s strength lies in the paper quality. The aesthetics do not inspire creativity and its use as a keeper of all things important and precious to me, as does the Moleskine, but its practicality encourages its use as a go-to notebook for ideas, journaling, notetaking, sketching, and research. Though its sleek, modern minimalistic look would cater to those with the “less is more” attitude. To me, it’s an emotional difference. it’s printing my artwork on museum-quality photo paper and printing my vacation photos on consumer photo paper.