The Coastal collection has two different sets, East and West. Each set has three notebooks, with different covers. The covers show a different part of each coastline, with topographical features stamped in foil. The photo above shows one notebook from the West Coast, on the left, and one from the East Coast, on the right.
Here are all six.
Though it looks in these photos like West and East feature different colors, in fact, they both are stamped with only blue and gold foils. It’s just that the foils reflect different colors as the light hits at different angles.
The foil color effect is really neat: a friend on Instagram compared it to ink that sheens.
I think the best way to appreciate the effect is to look at the same cover from different angles, so the next four photos do that. Here’s the first one.
At this angle, the gold foil at the very top looks pink. Note that the blue foil seems to change color in the lower third of the cover. That’s because the blue foil on this notebook was applied slightly differently there, on the lower third. I only see that on this particular notebook. It may be intentional, or may be a printing flaw, but it looks fine.
Now here’s the same notebook again.
From this angle, what used to be pink at the very top now looks more beige. All I did was edge over a bit, and take that shot from a slightly different angle.
Here’s a third angle.
Now the uppermost part is green, and the gold part below looks darker and less bright.
Finally, one more change of angle.
We’re back to pink on top, as in the first photo, but look how much more yellow there is now under the word Notes.
So the covers are fun. With the foil and the color change, Coastal reminds me of the Field Notes Black Ice edition from Winter 2016. Black Ice had a foil cover and orange binding, and the play of the light on foil made that cover change from black to silver. Coastal’s foil has same effect, though in much more dazzling colors.
The writing paper inside Coastal is marked with a “reticle grid” or plus signs. Some pages have green, some blue. This is the same motif used on the covers to show the oceans.
There are two things I don’t love about the Coastal grid marks.
The first is that each notebook contains both green and blue pages, which I find a little jarring, or at least, very noticeable when I turn the pages.
The second issue for me is that the reticle grid marks (the pluses) are fairly dark and prominent, especially in green. Here’s a comparison of a page of Coastal, on the left, with the lighter grid lines on a County Fair edition notebook.
I’m not sure I like having the paper’s markings be such a prominent design element when I’m writing.
Nor do I want to see the paper’s markings when I’m reading something back. Here’s what the Coastal looks like with writing on it.
So all in all, I’m not crazy about the Coastal’s reticle grid. It’s interesting that the same reticle grid marks are in the Lunacy edition, which is one of my favorites. But in Lunacy the colors are are relatively recessive — gray pluses on gray paper. Coastal’s color scheme of green and blue on white paper sticks out more.
That said, it’s probably also a matter of taste. Some might find the colorful reticle marks sprightly rather than distracting.
Coastal does have 60-pound writing paper, which should please those who write with regular fountain pens. I’ve tried fountain pens with fine and medium nibs on Coastal, and had zero issues with feathering, showthrough or bleedthrough. The Coastal paper is also very nice for other writing instruments, including pencils and rollerballs. I didn’t test the paper, however, with broad fountain pen nibs or thick markers.
In its other details, Coastal is the usual nicely-made Field Notes set. The gray and white color scheme seems a little dull to me on the inside covers, where there is no foil, but the Practical Applications are always nice.
Below is the Practical Applications from the West set, with reference to Portland, Oregon.
And here is the East, referencing Portland, Maine.
I am in the enviable position of having a ton of Field Notes, which makes me more picky than most. So I like these, but don’t love them. But I have the feeling that others might love them to bits. In that way, too, Coastal reminds me of Black Ice.
If I were only going to buy one set, I’d pick the East Coast. Just because I find those covers more visually interesting. Even the backs are nice on the East.