Responses by Jim Coudal, president, Field Notes.
Background: As our 50th set, Fifty is a gift for the thousands of people who subscribe to our quarterly limited edition series of notebooks. Subscribers form the very heart of Field Notes and, in many ways, their faith in us makes the entire enterprise possible.
Design thinking: We wanted to revisit the history of the series in a fun and surprising way, as well as provide a unique, useful ledger to our loyal subscribers.
Challenges: The die-cuts for the first section of the book needed to be very precise to achieve the effect we were after. We went through a series of die-cutting and binding tests to get it just right.
Favorite details: Personally, I dig the way the reverse of the final die-cut Y in the word fifty on the cover becomes the drop-cap to begin the essay section of the book.
Also, the By the Numbers section was a blast to write, edit and lay out. The whole company participated in that. Plus, the open binding is fun.
Visual influences: We tried to reference paper stocks, illustrations and copy points from all the quarterly editions of Field Notes that preceded this one. Although Fifty was unlike anything we had ever done before, we wanted it to feel like a natural Field Notes product both in terms of the visual approach as well as in the tone and voice of the copy: practical, useful and with a healthy dose of wisecracking.
Time constraints: We underestimated the scope of the whole thing and kept adding features along the way. As a result, we finished about a month late. But judging by the reaction to the release, it seems like just about everyone thinks Fifty was worth the wait.