“I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”
Inspired by the vanishing sub-genre of agricultural memo books, ornate pocket ledgers and the simple, unassuming beauty of a well-crafted grocery list, the Draplin Design Company of Portland and Coudal Partners, a Chicago creative firm, have created FIELD NOTES BRAND, a collection of smartly-designed, vintage-styled pocket notebooks, calendars, and various office accoutrements. In 2006, Aaron Draplin, a well-known designer and collector of American ephemera, decided to create an homage to the utilitarian pocket notebooks found in the first half of the 20th century at full-service gas stations, midwestern feed stores, and all points in between.
He called the hundred or so books he’d printed, “FIELD NOTES“, and sent them out as gifts to friends, including Jim Coudal. The day that first book arrived in Chicago, Jim called Aaron. In less than a week, a company was born. Beginning with packages of three, graph-ruled booklets wrapped with a thick “kraft” brown cover, Field Notes has since printed dozens of variations and introduced wildly popular limited editions, exploring new colors, papers, printing processes, and special packaging. From the very beginning, every FIELD NOTES paper product has been manufactured in the U.S.A.
From the paper, sourced from some of the finest mills in the Midwest, to even the inks used, the production of FIELD NOTES has never required travel on a cargo ship or plane; just the roads crisscrossing the country. FIELD NOTES are available online and at over 1000 shops worldwide, from London’s Design Museum to Red’s Classic Barber Shop in Indianapolis. This diverse lineup include boutiques, stationers, camera shops, galleries, museums and international retailers. FIELD NOTES has also created exclusive special editions for companies like Levi’s, J. Crew, and Microsoft. The road continues in 2014 with Draplin and Coudal Partners gearing up for new varieties of these useful little books and new FIELD NOTES branded products, all in hopes of offering, “An honest memo book, worth fillin’ up with good information.”