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From Factory to Field (Notes): A Consumer Paper Products Story

field notes consumer paper products

This is the first in a two-part series about Domtar’s consumer paper products relationship with Field Notes®.

Field Notes memo books are some of the most recognizable consumer paper products available. Did you know that some editions are made using Domtar’s Lynx® or Cougar® paper?

Field Notes and Domtar make a great pair because we both care about the paper and the creative details.

The iconic brand’s journey to becoming a cult-favorite for creators of all kinds started humbly in 2006 when graphic designer and eventual Field Notes cofounder Aaron Draplin took inspiration from his collection of farmers’ pocket notebooks to create memo books for his friends.

Draplin made 100 copies that first run, and the company now prints thousands of each edition, including quarterly limited editions of these iconic consumer paper products.

The company is known for their creative covers and interior papers that are easy to write on.

“The general design has been pretty much locked down since Draplin’s original design in 2007, and that allows us to focus more on colors, materials and process,” says Bryan Bedell, Field Notes design director. “We’re reinventing our product over and over without changing the design much, which is a big reason why Field Notes stand out.”

Domtar is one of a few preferred suppliers for body (interior) paper for Field Notes memo books. The currently available 5E Gaming Journals and previous “Mile Marker” seasonal edition (Spring 2019) include interior pages printed on Lynx. Field Notes also uses Lynx in special collaborations.

Today, a quick look at the details of their recent Hatch Show Print edition reveals that the brightly-colored cover of the Fall 2022 quarterly edition is printed on Domtar’s Cougar® 100-pound white cover stock.

In the latest edition of Paper Matters® Magazine, Lake County Press Senior Vice President Tom Meitzler vouched for the passion of the Field Notes team. “The Field Notes team is obsessive about paper,” he says. “They test multiple pens on the paper to ensure the writability.”

The Field Notes team selects suppliers that reflect Field Notes’ mission and values, and they like to know who is behind their consumer paper products.

In 2019, the team, along with Meitzler, visited Domtar’s Rothschild Mill, where Domtar manufactures Lynx and Cougar brand papers.

“I have been to many mills, but the passion of the employees at Rothschild really stood out to me,” Meitzler says.

Sam Ankony, merchant sales account manager at Domtar, says, “The creative team at Field Notes is great to work with. They take their projects seriously but have fun while doing it. They are also very interested in understanding their vendors and learning more about them.”

In addition to being obsessive about paper, like Domtar, Field Notes cares deeply about sustainability. Field Notes is dedicated to using papers made in the United States (generally within the Great Lakes region) and printing as near as possible to their Chicago headquarters.

All body paper suppliers, including Domtar, and most cover paper suppliers, have received Forest Stewardship Council® certification for their products.

All Field Notes products — including those that include Domtar paper — are easily recyclable.

“I know Lynx is a good choice for our body paper. It handles all the different writing implements our customers throw at it, and it’s the right quality and consistency at the right price,” says Bedell. “When we print on white uncoated cover stock, we go with Cougar because we’ve seen that it takes ink well, holds color well, and our printers like working with it.”

Get more details about Field Notes in the latest edition of Domtar’s Paper Matters magazine, available online now.

In next week’s installment about these popular consumer paper products, we’ll explore the process at the Rothschild and Johnsonburg Mills to produce Lynx paper for Field Notes.