“Posters are delicate things,” writes Aaron Draplin. So what is a poster-maker to do when misprinted, damaged, and test prints begin to pile up in the workshop? For Draplin, the creator of Field Notes, the answer couldn’t have been too difficult: use these ‘dead prints’ to make pocket-sized memo books.
So, in October of 2015, limited edition “Dead Print Field Notes” were made for three poster-producing companies: Draplin Design Co., Mondo, and Landland. Between all three companies, only 3,000 3-packs were made, and with images of these notebooks sporadically popping up on Instagram and Twitter, these Dead Print Field Notes became somewhat of a craze.
Although the notebooks contain basic 50# blank paper, the unique covers, made from assorted posters, spurred on the collectors. Getting my hands on all three was no easy task. I’ve seen sealed 3-packs occasionally sell for over a hundred dollars on eBay (much, much more than I’m willing to spend), but with a bit of patience, I found them all individually for reasonable prices.
The DDC Dead Prints were initially only sold at a pop-up shop run by Aaron Draplin in Portland, but eventually a handful were sold through his website. There I was able to grab a couple 3-packs before they sold out. Similarly, the LandLand Dead Prints were briefly available on their website, but many of the shipments were lost in the mail, including mine. Fortunately, the good folks at LandLand were able to ship out replacements a couple months later.
The Mondo Dead Prints were trickier. They were initially distributed only at MondoCon, the company’s convention, but some extras were sold online. These became sold out lightning-fast, well before I was able to add a pack to the shopping cart. But, after months of scouring eBay, I eventually found a single Mondo notebook for a relatively low price (never mind that it’s mostly just a white notebook).
After some use, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that these Dead Print Field Notes are one of my favorite editions. Aside from the special cover-paper, there’s no difference between this and a standard Field Notes notebook. However, with their wild designs and the gold-foil used for the cover text, I’ve received more comments/compliments on these notebooks than I have while carrying around any other Field Notes edition. It’s really a shame that these notebooks are so rare, but maybe, if we’re lucky, Draplin, LandLand, and Mondo will continue to damage enough posters in order to justify another run.
- The Mondo Dead Prints have no “Practical Applications” list, but a musician/artist roster for their convention instead. Both the DDC and Landland books, however, do have “Practical Applications” lists. My favorites: “02. Thick Lines Tinkerings” (DDC) and “16. Hashtag Plans” (LandLand).
- Even the belly-bands seem to be made of inside-out posters.
- And speaking of Aaron Draplin, I wrote a review of his book. I liked it. It’s worth checking out if you like those DDC Dead Print designs.