I’ve had my eye on Baron Fig for a long time. After learning about their products from Jenny’s blog, The Finer Point (one of my favorite stationery writers!), I was really intrigued and wanted to try out their products, but the price point was just high enough that I never could bring myself to place an order. Silly, I know, especially as their quality seems to be top-notch, their witty illustrations are adorable, and the way they write about their products on the website are full of passion and definitely speak my language (“tools for thinkers”! they use customer feedback to iterate products!).
So I was thrilled to see an email announcing their first in-person pop-up store in New York City in late April! Sometimes it’s really tough to justify living here (so expensive, no space, so many people, the smells) but when things like this happen, New York is pure magic. I snuck out of work early to catch the tail end of their first day at the pop-up and, of course, picked up a few products to try.
I bought both the Clear Habit Journal and the Grow Daily Journal, the subject of this review. I’ve tested it out for about a month now so I can definitely give a pretty honest take on using this journal. Let’s walk through it together!
First, the cover. This sturdy linen-style fabric cover is a signature of Baron Fig’s notebook line, and I love the grey color with the yellow accent. The embossed icons are subtle and classy. I love picking up this journal in the morning to write in it because it’s just so lovely to look at and hold. The clothbound cover is very similar to Archer & Olive notebooks.
Inside, the book is divided into three sections: a Quick Start Guide, the bulk of the journal pages, and an in-depth How to Use section at the end with tons of advice and ideas on how to start a daily journal practice.
The idea is to create a journaling practice through this book, by writing just one page a day. They make it super easy for you – eight prompts (with more explanation, quotes, and specific ideas to respond to in the back), metadata, space to write, and that’s it! There’s also some research listed in the back about the benefits of daily/regular journaling.
I’m a stickler for details and good design, and I knew before even putting pen to paper in this journal that the thoughtfulness of this product is out of this world. Each page is like a dashboard, with icons you can circle or highlight to show which prompt you chose, a title area, and metadata at the bottom.
The metadata sections includes date, time, location, mood, and weather. The lines and text are printed in a medium gray, which makes your writing stand out beautifully against the cream colored paper.
The paper is slightly toothy: not nearly as smooth as the Maruman Mnemnosyne notebooks, but nothing that would make your fine-tip gel pen scratchy. The pens move comfortably across the paper, not a glide exactly, but definitely allow the thoughts to keep flowing.
The paper might be hit or miss for you for that reason, though I do really enjoy it, and much more than I expected given that I usually go for a smoother texture. I found one pen I love journaling with and kept using that one in this book, so apologies I don’t have more pen tests here, though I do know they are fountain pen friendly.
As I wrote in the journal entry in the photo, I used to really hate journaling before I started morning pages (whose 3 pages often felt really challenging at the beginning). I’ve grown to love morning pages and this daily journal for different reasons, but I think if I had started with this journal instead, I might have drunk the journaling koolaid a lot sooner!
Like all of Baron Fig’s “standard” size notebook, this is close to an A5, but not quite there. It’s a little smaller, and feels nice to hold in the hands – not too heavy, but not light, either. The pages do lay flat as you write, which is also great. I’ve used the journal or a little over a month now. These photos were taken earlier in the month, but the cover, pages, and ribbon all look brand new still. That said, I’ve used it mainly at home and not traveling around, so your mileage may vary, but everything still seems very sturdy and crisp to me!
I think there are only a few cons to the notebook, and none of them are insurmountable, moreso things to think about before you buy to make sure this is the right fit for you.
I think the biggest con for me personally is that each entry is only a page. Perhaps it’s because I started out doing morning pages, or because I’m a naturally verbose person, but I really want a two page entry spread! I know, I know, I could absolutely use this design as is and just go onto the next page, but something about that gorgeous design makes it hard for me not to follow its well-thought-out instructions. If you’re not as long-winded as I am, or you’re just starting your journaling practice, you shouldn’t find this an issue. Clearly, I just need to go rogue in the book, OR use the entries as a low-pressure exercise in being more concise! (Easier said than done if you’ve read any blog post on this site!)
Addressing the price, at first glance, the journal might seem expensive at $24, but for what you get – a guided journaling practice, beautiful design, and great quality materials – I don’t think that’s a steep price to pay. After all, a dot grid journal with no bells and whistles can cost between $20-25 – and this has a lot of great extras!
If you don’t need the extras in your journaling practice, this might not be the particular notebook for you – the guides and icons might annoy you, for example, if you like a freer journaling experience – but if you’re a beginner starting your practice, or you’re giving this as a gift, it’s a great choice. It comes packed in a lovely box that you can use to store the book in, or pens and other office supplies. If you want to try a Baron Fig product that’s less “guided”, this size, cover, and similar minimal design can be found in the Confidant notebook, their star product.
Materials wise, a few things to note. As I said earlier, there is an ever-so-slightly toothy paper texture that isn’t a pro or a con, but merely to taste! In addition, there was a faint amount of ghosting, as you can see in the photo above. It’s not major (nothing like Leuchtturms, for example), but it is there, so if that’s important to you, take note. I didn’t mind at all: it makes this polished journal feel a bit more “in use” and loved.
TL;DR / Baron Fig Grow Daily Journal
|• Seriously beautiful, minimal design||• Paper texture might not be to everyone’s taste|
|• Friendly, accessible prompts to help you learn to journal every day||• 1-page limit to each entry, based on design (you might find this a “pro”!)|
|• Quality is extremely high|
|• Well-researched, concise background information on the science of reflection and journaling|
To finish up, I have to share that one of the coolest things about the pop up was that as I was checking out, the staffer let me know that she wrote the content for this book. How cool is that!? She also (in true Baron Fig fashion) invited me to email them what I thought of the products, which I thought was great too — exciting to see that they really live their values as a company.
In short, this is a wonderful journal and a great gateway into starting or growing your journaling practice. And even if you aren’t at the beginning, but maybe just need some new inspiration, structure, or want to try to be more concise like me, I absolutely recommend this journal. By the way, now I REALLY regret not getting one of their pens – although, considering I had just carried my weight in stationery and writing utensils back from my Japan trip a few days before, it was probably the prudent choice to hold myself back!
Would you be interested in more reviews on Baron Fig products? If so, which ones? Let me know below!