Anyone that knows me in the Erasable Podcast group knows two things about me: I love Casemate Neons (and all things neon) and I love me a good yellow school pencil. I have a deep nostalgia for school supplies. The smell of fresh pencil shavings, the cracking sound of the binding on a new composition notebook, and the limitless potential that lay before me on that pristine white-paper. It gets me every time. When I found out Baron Fig's latest limited edition release for the Archer and Vanguard would be school themed, I was thrilled. This is all I have dreamed for. I could not wait to tear open the package and put pencil to paper. Would the pangs of nostalgia resurface? Would I be immediately inspired by the fresh pages before me? Or would I be left longing for something more? Well, let's find out:
At first glance both the Archer and Vanguard are beautiful. The composition-styled Vanguards come with three different colored covers: black, yellow, and green. These covers match the design of the pencil which also has those three colors. The pencil actually reminds of of a Ticonderoga down to the font style on the barrel. As I always do, lets go with aesthetics first. The Archers are a classic, school pencil yellow with a green-dipped tip and green printed writing on the side. Everything-- from the print to the finish is clean and without fault. The Vanguard follows suit with a nice clean stitched binding and special consideration paid to the inside covers of the books. In the front, you have a space to write your name, address, phone number, and email and inside the back cover, there is "useful information" that includes common measurements, parts of speech, and punctuation. The paper inside is ruled with a double-lined left margin-- a detail that I find quite pleasing.
When using both the Archer and Vanguard together, the experience is close to perfect. Baron Fig really did a good job putting together a pencil/paper combo that works well. The toothiness of the paper combined with the hardness of the pencil really makes both the Archer and Vanguard shine. I am not a huge fan of the Archer when it comes to the lines it lays down, but that is not fault of the Archer as I prefer a softer, darker graphite. What I will say about this iteration of the Archer is that the core seems more consistent than other offerings. Not sure if that was just me, but I noticed that it was not as scratchy has other Archers have been. The paper in the Vanguard as just enough tooth to make your writing experience a tactile one, but not too much tooth that you notice it in the lines you are making. Erasing is also not a problem as each mark is removed easily with just a little bit of pressure (I was using a Hinodewashi, so YMMV).
Overall, the Back to School editions of both the Vanguard and Archer are a grand slam. Aesthetics and performance are both on point (see what I did there) and the pricing is very reasonable at $26 for the set. I'd head over to Baron Fig soon because I can see these selling out very quickly. **Note: I was provided both the Archer and Vanguard at no charge by Baron Fig. My options are my very own and in no way influenced by said free items.**