Baron Fig, makers of fine notebooks and writing instruments, recently started offering limited editions of their popular notebooks. They've also mentioned plans for limited editions of their entire product line, but that's neither here or now. The current limited edition is called The Black Box, and it's a mystery set of Vanguards that comes in a (can you guess?) black box.
This is the first limited edition Vanguard, and it comes in the "flagship" size (5.4" by 7.7") only. This works great for me since it's my favorite size by far out of their 3 offerings. Unlike the normal line of notebooks, you aren't able to choose the paper type. Instead, this notebook ships with dot grid paper only. If you happen to enjoy or prefer dot grid, that's fantastic. I do! But, I can imagine this might put off some buyers if you prefer a different paper type.
Since this is the same Vanguard that we know and love, the main difference here is the packaging and the notebook covers. Personally, I'm in love with the covers and think they're definitely worth buying.
First off, the box is a dark black with a smattering of little symbols and glyphs that hint at what's inside. Apart from that, there's minimal branding. Upon opening the box, there's a paper insert that describes the mystery edition, and then there are three Vanguard notebooks beneath.
All three notebooks feature the same color cover. To me, it's a dark chocolate brown that looks great. Now, on to the fun part. Each notebooks adopts a unique color and theme of symbols. The yellow symbols point toward the Bermuda Triangle, the orange/red symbols imply aliens or UFOs, and the green notebook hints at the legend of Bigfoot. The symbology and colors they've used in these covers is really fun, and I've been enjoying it immensely.
The yellow notebook (Bermuda Triangle) has a lighthouse, anchor, compass, airplane, boat, and radar screen on the cover. At the center of the cover, there's a triangle symbol that offers the biggest hint as to the mystery it's alluding to.
The red/orange notebook (UFOs and aliens) has similar symbols, such as a cactus, telescope, Saturn, a picture of an alien head, and a jet fighter. At the center of this cover is a UFO. Again, the design of these icons is fun and well-done.
Finally, the green notebook (Bigfoot!) features a collection of mountain ranges, maps, binoculars, tents, lanterns, a giant footprint, and finally a set of trees in the center.
These symbols are fun because you can't just look at one of them and determine what the theme of the cover is. You have to consider all of the symbols before you can name the mystery, and that's what makes it fun and delightful.
Apart from the covers, these are standard Vanguard notebooks. Same paper, same specs, same number of pages, etc. Some people have complained about the lack of "special edition-ness," but I really enjoyed this set. I'm not sure I'm ready to sign up for a subscription yet (I have too many notebooks already), but it's definitely something I will keep my eye on as Baron Fig continue to roll out more limited edition products.
The paper quality hasn't changed since other reviews, which is a good thing. When I reviewed the original Confidant, I noted that the paper was a great quality with some serious tooth. The Vanguard has smoother paper, but it still has that signature tooth. The dot grid pattern is a very light gray and gets out of your way if necessary. This paper will handle anything you throw at it. Gel pens, ballpoints, brush pens, fountain pens, and even some water colors.
This is a fun limited edition of a great product. I really enjoy the design of the covers, and I'll enjoy using these notebooks over the next few months. Since the insides are the same as the standard line, you know exactly what you're getting! If you enjoy good iconography and good notebooks, this is a match made in heaven. Grab a set before they're all gone!
Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.
Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!