Well, Baron Fig did it, for all you doubters out there who met the company's announcement of multiple simultaneous subscription services for as many as four different product lines with skepticism that they could maintain their creative edge. I'm still not sure what, exactly, they're going to be doing with all those limited editions, but the newest version, Askew, makes it clear that it probably won't be boring.
Askew, a collaboration with graphic designer Debbie Millman, is entirely hand drawn, from the inside cover pages to the ruling on the paper itself. Spoiler alert (not really): the hand-drawn lines aren't straight, and on a handful of pages they even cross or devolve into scribbles. Obviously, you're not going to be able to use these pages as you would a typical notebook, but that's clearly not what Ms. Millman and Baron Fig were going for here. The goal of this particular edition is to foster creativity by encouraging people to think "outside the lines." Personally, I really like it, and can see myself using this book as an offbeat journal or for brainstorming sessions.
Everyone has focused on the "usability" of Askew, and whether it was wise for Baron Fig to include this unusual notebook as part of Baron Fig's subscription service. That's a fair question, and one that I've addressed before in my review of the "Black Box" Vanguard notebook. Those who were considering a Confidant subscription, thinking that they would definitely get a standard notebook each quarter - as in, one they can use to take notes at work - may now have to reconsider whether they want to subscribe or purchase on a "wait & see" basis. Of course, Baron Fig could always avoid the issue by doing what Field Notes does - offer subscribers the opportunity to exchange the Limited Edition notebook for a standard Confidant of their choice, if they so choose.
What's more interesting to me here is the collaboration aspect of this edition, and what it says about Baron Fig's prospects. Debbie Millman is a big deal in the design community: She hosts the wildly popular "Design Matters" podcast, and has been a guest on many other well-known podcasts, including the Tim Ferriss Show. That Baron Fig is attracting collaborators like Ms. Millman bodes well for the future, and I'm excited to see what else they have lined up.
Where to Buy
You can buy the Askew Limited Edition via Baron Fig's website for $20. If you're interested in subscribing to the Confidant quarterly subscription service (or one of the others that Baron Fig offers), you can do so here.
Disclaimer: Baron Fig sent me this product for review purposes at no charge.