Tag Archives: fun

First Look: Baron Fig LE Vanguard Train of Thought

When BF sent out the “do you want this for review” email I almost said no. The exterior of the books looked really childish. Then I thought my nephew would really dig the trains on the exterior. So I asked them to kindly send me a reviewer set. Let me start this out by saying that in the interior of this notebook set sports BF’s lovely fountain pen and pencil friendly cream paper with a light gray dot grid ruling. I really love BF’s paper because it works so well with all my favorite writing tools. The stitching is done really well with white thread and is well centered and tight on my books.  The cover stock is lightly textured and feels nice in hand. The printing on these is matte finished. The exterior of these book features trains and clouds. They are childlike and playful with a dreamlike quality. The interior of the covers are the weird side of dreamlike and remind me of 80s era riffs on psychedelic imagery. The train and cloud theme runs throughout but with planets, aliens, and emojis. If these were done in neons we could call these, “That Day Lisa Frank Dropped Acid.” While they have that trippy quality I’m glad they didn’t go with neon shades and instead chose sedate groupings of analogous colors. This turns a bizarre illustration to the realm of fun without being too jarring to the senses. In a practical sense, these aren’t going to be something you bring with you to the boardroom or for professional meetings. One look at the poop emoji next to two aliens holding hands is going to raise the eyebrow of even the most lenient boss. These are strictly “for fun” notebooks. In that sense I love them. I always need more little notebooks for around the desk here at home and frankly if I were in school I’d love to use these, despite the odd looks some of my sedate professors might toss my way.

The Flagship Vanguards run $14 for a set of 3. You can get them over here at Baron Fig.

Here is where i”m going to go tangential on you. There is something really fresh and fun with all the things BF has been doing lately. Train of Thought is just one example where BF is shaking up the bring monotony of the stationery world. There are a hundred places where you can get a black grey, or white pocket notebook; hell even BF offers their notebooks in standard colors of black and grey. No I can’t take these into a stodgy board meeting but is that the target audience of these notebooks, or even the New School set? I don’t think so. I think Baron Fig is going after their core audience of younger professionals who might not be so concerned with what is considered “professional” in the traditional sense. I suspect a lot of people are going to loathe this set while many more are going to enjoy Lisa Frank on acid. I am in the camp who loves the idea of these despite working in an environment where my boss might tell me I can’t use them. Continue reading

Review: Tombow IPPO!

The Tombow IPPO! is a Japanese pencil targeted toward kids for working on their handwriting. The pencils have bright attractive colors with one of their six sides white. It makes for a really neat looking pencil. The end is capped  off and neatly banded with a bright silver foil. The grade of the pencil is marked on  2 sides with the company name and dragonfly image on a third. I find these to be tidy and sharp (heh) looking pencils. That single white stripe reminds me of wide racing stripes on cars. Tough and serviceable but bright and fun. There are three different colors in each 12-pack. Mine had a bright lime green, a light blue, and dark blue. The pencils arrive in a nice hard plastic case that is reusable as a pencil case. It doesn’t clasp shut but overlap, so would need a rubber band to hold it shut, but is a great way to protect your pencils on the go.IPPO!Inside, the soft B core is well centered in an unknown wood that sharpens with ease. I tested out a variety of sharpeners and was happy with all results, from long points to stubby points. Point retention with this B pencil was good but not great. It is a B pencil, so it is soft, but it’s also not the softest B pencils I’ve tried. It’s delightfully dark without using undue pressure, and is smooth. It’s not the silky smooth experience of a Pearl but has a touch more feedback. It’s fantastic.IPPO!IPPO!

I really enjoy this pencil for written journaling. My words are nice and dark, and it doesn’t smudge too much, but will. For sketching it does well, but for deep dark areas another pencil in a softer grade will be needed.

These were purchased from Jetpens. They ring in around $1 each. The bright colors are fantastic and are eye catching. I can’t help but to have one of each color sharpened and ready for use.