Since appearing on the scene two years ago with their "Confidant" notebook, Baron Fig has continued to grow, first expanding into the softcover pocket notebook space with the "Apprentice" series of standard and limited editions, then moving into the pen world with their excellent "Squire" rollerball pen. I was a Kickstarter backer for both the Confidant and the Squire, and have been more than satisfied with both products. Recently, Baron Fig announced that they were expanding their softcover notebook line to include larger-format notebooks, with the entire line to be renamed the "Vanguard". The "Apprentice" would be retired.
The Vanguard is a nice-looking set of notebooks. Available sizes include the "Pocket", which is the equivalent of the Apprentice, and a bit smaller than your average 48-page pocket notebook at 3.5 x 5 inches; the "Flagship" (5.4 x 7.7 inches, 77 pages); and the "Plus", which is a large-format softcover notebook (7 x 10 inches, 104 pages) and the one I am perhaps most excited about. In my early days of notebook/pen addiction, I was a fan of the large and mid-size Moleskine Cahier softcover notebooks, but once I moved into fountain pens for most of my writing those fell by the wayside.
I'm a fan of the textured cover of the Vanguard, which, like the Apprentice, has a nice, tactile quality to it. The color scheme is the same as the standard Confidant, and comes in either Flagship Gray or Charcoal. As with the Apprentice, the binding is stitched with yellow thread. It remains to be seen whether or not Baron Fig will continue with their special edition pocket notebooks, the most recent of which was the Apprentice "Explorer" Edition and apparently is still available.
Finally, the paper is the same great paper used in the Confidant and the Apprentice, with blank, ruled, and dot grid options.
In the limited time I've had to play around with these notebooks, I'm impressed. As soon as I finish up the notebook that I currently have going, I'm going to break one of these out for an extended run, though I expect it will be the same great experience that I had with both the Confidant and the Apprentice. Baron Fig uses some of my favorite all-purpose notebook paper. This isn't Tomoe River paper, however, so if you're looking for a notebook that will let you run wild with your widest and wettest fountain pen nibs, look elsewhere. If you're an avid pencil user, it doesn't get much better than writing on Baron Fig paper.
The Vanguard is available for purchase directly from Baron Fig. The pocket notebooks are priced at $9, the "flagship" at $12, and the "plus" at $15, which is reasonable. It's a touch cheaper than the Moleskine Cahiers (via Amazon, 5x8 size), which I've found to be much less versatile notebooks in terms of the type of pens and ink you can use in them.
For another perspectives on the Baron Fig Vanguard line, please check out Ana's review at the Well-Appointed desk, which looks at the Vanguard from the perspective of using it as a sketchbook.
DISCLAIMER: Thanks to James at Baron Fig for sending me these notebooks free of charge, for review purposes. This post may also contain affiliate links.