Field Notes

Field News · Field Notes In Action:

Incidental Entomology

July 6th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell


This guy snuck into FIELD NOTES’ Midwest HQ today on Michele’s back. After a brief photo shoot, we released him back into Chicago’s verdant West Side. Anyone with fewer than eight legs is welcome to stop by anytime!

Update: FIELD NOTES fan Kelly R. wrote in to let us know that our little friend is a Red Milkweed Beetle.


Your Dad Called.
He Wants One.

June 3rd, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

summer 2015

Our 27th seasonal release for summer is the limited-edition WORKSHOP COMPANION. It’s a special boxed set and it’s available individually and by subscription right now. BTW: Father’s Day is June 21st.

Colors · Partners:

A French Toast

June 2nd, 2015 by Bryan Bedell


Designers know and love French Paper. We love their range of colors and weights. We love their consistent quality. We love their website. We love their whole CSA-directed aesthetic, their 140-year history, and their long-time commitment to the environment and hydroelectric power.


Everyone has a job to do in this world, and some of our jobs are more glamorous than others. Paper manufacturing is not glamorous. It’s messy, dark, often smelly. It would have been easy for Big Ed, or Jerry, or Brian, or Kim French to say “Paper is boring. Paper is not for me,” and go off and try to make a fortune doing something more interesting, but they all threw themselves into their family business 100% and made it interesting, made it fun. They’ve brought more color, more creativity to paper, and bigger companies are still trying to catch up.

We’ve been using French’s 80-lb “Dur-O-Tone Packing Brown Wrap” covers for our kraft memo books since the beginning of FIELD NOTES. And the majority of our COLORS editions feature French paper covers. I ditched my family for a day while visiting Michigan to tour the French paper plant in Niles back in 2009, and it was the highlight of my summer. Brian told me a Notre Dame design student asked to hold her wedding there, and they actually looked into it, but health/safety issues ruled it out.

Do you get excited when a salesperson visits you at work? When Jerry, Brian, or Kim come to our office, it’s like Christmas. And once in a while, the unthinkable happens: they present you with an all-new swatch book. Except this time, it was even better than that. We’ve been lucky enough to get to know French pretty well over the years, and they were kind enough to give us an advance heads-up on their new Kraft-Tone line. We had a headstart on the design of the FIELD NOTES Workshop Companion and our memo books were on press before anyone had even seen the swatch books. When we used up their whole batch of “Standard White” body paper before it was even announced, Brian and Jerry put all hands on deck to make more and get it to us in time. Totally clutch. Thanks to everyone at French, from top to bottom, not only for this Workshop Companion edition, but also for helping our Great Lakes neighbors, the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, with Two Rivers, and for everything else they’ve done for us, all the way back.

Field News:

Summer Hours

May 29th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

IMG_6443If you’re picking up an order or coming to visit our Midwest HQ (in Chicago), please remember we close at 1pm on Fridays through the summer.

Our website is open 24/7, so order online or check our Retail Locations page for other Chicago-area retailers! Enjoy your summer!

Colors · Field News · Field Trip:

Stacked Type

May 26th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

spring 065

Graphic designers generally frown upon text that reads vertically from top to bottom, but here’s one example of ‘stacked type’ we could look at all day. Sadly, this 100-year-old smokestack in Two Rivers, WI is all that remains of the former Hamilton Manufacturing Co. wood type factory, and it will be blasted with dynamite at 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2015.

The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum will be closed Sunday, but museum staff ask you to join them at the site to watch the demolition. If you can’t make it in person, show your support on Facebook, and be sure to pick up our Spring COLORS edition, “Two Rivers,” while supplies last (which won’t be long!). $2 from each 3-pack support the museum. If you love the museum as much as we do, please chip in a few more bucks at checkout, or donate directly to the museum.

Field Notes In Action:

Support Your Local Weirdo!

May 21st, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

anotherweirdoOur old friend Mr. Walters over at Nerfect carries FIELD NOTES with him to all of Berwyn, Illinois’ finest thrift stores and coffee shops. He’s always sketching and collecting ideas for his paintings and “Artistic Novelties” featuring Diabolical Hot Dog, the “Pug Pack,” and such. After filling more than 40 FIELD NOTES, Mr. W decided to compile a few dozen of his favorite spreads into a limited-edition book; Support Your Local Weirdo!. He only made 40 books and there are only a few left, but if you miss out, be sure to follow Nerfect on Instagram to see what he’s up to, including lots of works in progress and more FIELD NOTES than you can shake a stick at. (Please never shake a stick at FIELD NOTES.)

Field Notes In Action:

Avalanche Notes at Everest Base Camp

May 20th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

An email from journalist Svati Kirsten Narula:


I took these pictures of my memo book while at Everest Base Camp several weeks ago, thinking they’d be good to send you guys since the back of the memo book actually has a note saying “Tell us how you use your Field Notes”!

I’m happy to report that this memo book survived the awful avalanche that swept through camp on April 25… And that it’s now an invaluable resource for me as I recollect my experiences. It was invaluable always, actually; I’m a journalist and was taking a bunch of notes in this and other notebooks every day while in Nepal. Thanks for making a fantastic product!

Thanks, Svati, we look forward to your report on the avalanche! We love hearing how folks use FIELD NOTES, whether they’re at the Earth’s extremes, or at the local grocery store. Please send stories and photos to


New COLORS: Spring in Two Rivers

March 11th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

FNC26_tworivers24“Two Rivers” is our newest COLORS limited edition, and it’s available now! It was an absolute joy to work with the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum and we’re thrilled to support their important mission with this edition. We’ve randomly mixed four French Paper Co. covers, three inks, and a variety of hand-set wood type designs to create more than a thousand different covers.

Learn more about “Two Rivers” here, including lots more photos and three videos about the edition, and be sure to check out Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum director Jim Moran’s blog post about the production of the books.

Only 25,000 packs were made, with $2 per pack going to support the museum. Order now, these won’t be available for long, and if you love American history, printing, and design as much as we do, please consider an additional donation to the museum when you check out.


The Conversation

March 10th, 2015 by Jim Coudal

Aaron Draplin sat down with Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum director Jim Moran to talk about how the museum works and how they approached and completed the job of printing the covers for our new “Two Rivers” Edition.

Field Notes Brand Books:

Think Summer

February 27th, 2015 by Jim Coudal


With Spring Training getting started, it seems a good time to remind fathers, sons, wives and daughters about Kevin Guilfoile’s splendid memoir about his Dad, Roberto Clemente, and a mysterious bat. A Drive into the Gap, from Field Notes Books is a short, delightful, touching story that deserves a place on any ball fan’s shelf. Check out an excerpt and a short film, and then pick up a copy or two.