Mono Kultur

Posted by Jeremy Leslie,

Printed magazines appeal most readily to the senses of sight and touch, sound can play a minor role according to the crispness and weight of the paper, and tasting the pages is generally best avoided, however mouth-watering the photography. Until now, though, smell has been rather overlooked.

Yes, uncoated paper can absorb large amounts of ink that give a new magazine a heavy smell that appeals to some, including me, and the scent samples in women’s titles lend them a coarse over-sweet smell. But these are incidental.

Every issue of Berlin-based mono.kultur carries an interview with and samples of one person’s art or design work, and each time the form of the magazine changes. Their latest issue, out this month, carries the work of Norwegian smell artist Sissel Tolaas.

She has used inks impregnated with odours throughout the magazine to make it literally stink – rub the pages and the smells she has created are released. I haven’t had my nose on a copy yet but the publisher warns the smells won’t be pleasant, meaning something a little stronger than a fragrance sample I assume.

Posted by Jeremy Leslie

Most Recent: Publication View Archive

  1. Its-nice-that-list-nips-headmaster_no7_silano2_web

    A large, veiny golden phallus and a very cheeky title made Headmaster a magazine sure to get our attention. And boys, boys, boys it did; mixing art, illustration, innovative copy and a smart curatorial eye, the mag is more than a smutty pun. It’s now in its seventh issue, so we had a chat with co-founder Matthew Lawrence about the print publication billed as “the biannual print magazine for the sophisticated man-lover”.

  2. Mannnu_itsnicethat_list

    Mannnu AKA Manu Rodriguez’s website is simple and considered with only a handful of projects included, but it’s ample opportunity to get a sense of how this art director and designer works. Based in Barcelona, the two projects created in collaboration with Spanish photographer Jose Perroche caught our eye.

  3. List-eric-hu-talk-magazine-its-nice-that-

    We’re longtime, long-distance admirers of the work of Eric Hu, so the news that he’s recently launched a new magazine, Talk, is pretty damn exciting. And from what we’ve seen of the spreads, young Eric’s not disappointed us. The mag is the product of a collaboration with art director and writer Harry Gassel, former art director at The Fader, and is described as “a style-driven magazine on design focused on emerging culture.” And style-driven it damn well is: we’re digging the cover typeface, which seems to be formed of gloomy balloons, while the spreads show some innovative approaches to layout and image size. The first issue features the likes of David Brandon Geeting, Maxime Harvey, Simon Whybray and Raf Rennie, and we’re keen to see how Talk’s dialogue continues in future issues.

  4. Canyon-itsnicethat-list

    What do you get when you send two mates, one a photographer with camera in hand, and the other a journalist with an eye for a weird story, to LA to hang out for a week? In the case of Dan Wilton and Josh Jones, the answer is a book. More specifically, a book about the spectacularly weird collection of people you can find at the top of Runyon Canyon.

  5. Gourmand_covers_it's_nice_that_list

    Yesterday everyone’s favourite food and culture journal unveiled twin covers for its latest issue. In a surreal collaboration between photographer Jenny van Sommers and set designer Rachel Thomas, the ketchup-themed covers (and back covers) for issue six of The Gourmand are taken from a feature paying homage to the humble but ever versatile condiment. “I would love to tell you that it was a calculated strategy but in fact it was a bit more organic,” said co-founder and creative director David Lane of the publication’s first ever dual covers. They simply couldn’t decide between the oversized chip smothered in PVC ketchup and the floating hamburger sandwiched between two cloches, and luckily “they are ideally suited for a split cover.”

  6. Ni-hao-kiti-itsnicethat-list

    Fine, so she’s not a cat, she’s a girl called Kitty White – but even so, Hello Kitty is my favourite of all the brands that have survived globalisation. The sweet anthropomorphic kitten was first designed by Yuko Shimizu in 1974, produced by Japanese company Sanrio, and since her inception she has risen to the status of a global megastar. So much so that photographer Antonia Henschel saw fit to document her presence across Asia – Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul are all included – and turn the series into a book. Published as part of Frankfurt-based press Trademark Publishing’s Picnic series, the sweet collection documents Kitty’s feline presence in the form of balloons, cakes, flowers with whiskers, fancy dress costumes, teddy bears and signage, and it’s a loving and chaotic ode to her enduring presence. Long may she reign.

  7. Ines-cox-kwintessens-its-nice-that-list

    We’ve long been a fan of the work of Antwerp-based graphic designer Ines Cox, who founded her own eponymous practice back in March. The latest project to emerge from her considered stable of great designs is for Kwintessens, a quarterly design and fashion magazine published by Design Flanders in cooperation with Flanders Fashion Institute. Since its launch in 1992, each issue of the magazine has been designed by a different creative, and Ines’ look for the latest issue, dedicated to the theme “from birth to death,” uses a grave-like grey cover and stark black lettering. For all its dark exterior, though, the pages show a deft eye for the power of negative space, letting colourful text and beautiful imagery speak through a careful grid system. From the typeface to the colourways to the commissioning, Kwintessens is a beautifully designed, inspirational piece of print.

  8. Offways-marius-burgmann-and-mike-magduschewski-its-nice-that-list

    Marius Burgmann and Mike Magduschewski not only sound like a buddy movie duo, but are also rather industrious and talented designers. The pair recently got in touch with news of their great new venture Offways, a brilliantly-designed biannual magazine that they not only design, but edit and publish, too. Based in Dortmund, Germany, the magazine looks to champion the work of creative types who make something because they love it, and to put it simply, they couldn’t not create it. It uses Grillitype’s GT Sectra and GT Cinetype, with a screen-printed cover and a hand-made illustration slotted into each copy.

  9. Yard-press-22-new-york-polaroids-its-nice-that-list

    If Polaroid pictures, New York City, Andy Warhol and attractive naked girls don’t make for a heady aesthetic mix, we don’t know what does. Brace yourselves then for this lovely book, New York Polaroids 1976–1989, showcasing images by Swiss photographer and director Edo Bertoglio. While it’s all well and good that the images narrate his time hanging out with the likes of Madonna, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and the aforementioned Mr Warhol, they also manage to capture time and place in the way only Polaroids and true party people can. Edo arrived in New York with Maripol, his artist, filmmaker and stylist wife, and he explains in the book the exact moment he realised he was utterly in love with the city. “Everything started between 5th and 34th Street, on a clear and cold afternoon… All of a sudden we hugged, with tears in our eyes, terrified by the metropolis, by our own loneliness and the lack of stable work,” he says.

  10. Hexus-itsnicethat-list

    Experimental literature publications arguably have a pretty raw deal of it when it comes to first impressions. Too often they’re immediately written off as a slew of black text crammed unthinkingly into a zine format, when in fact the very genre lends itself to something a little more thoughtful. Hexus journal takes the latter form. The first issue, subtitled The New Black, was designed by Christopher Gray, who has set out a selection of experimental texts – short stories, poems and the like – in a pared-back but concise format, with bold headers interspersed with tailor-made imagery to set the mood, with chunky black borders to differentiate between sections. The journal is almost Tristram Shandy-esque in its employment of solid black pages, broken paragraphs and the occasional music stave, resulting in a publication which demands not only to be picked up, but also to be read. Cover to cover. Potentially more than once.

  11. Linder-sterling-its-nice-that-list

    I can honestly say that Linder Sterling is one of the reasons I became interested in graphic design. As a teenager who wanted to look cool and interesting, I picked up The Buzzcocks’ Orgasm Addict record: not necessarily because they appeared on all the punk anthology CDs I was borrowing from a small, fusty library near Guildford, but because of Linder’s image on the Malcolm Garrett-designed cover. There’s something about that image – a woman with an iron for a head from an Argos catalogue, on the body of a porn model – that really blew my mind. It still does. While many have imitated her style, Linder’s still resonates as the most caustic and evocative, placing flowers over porn-ready genitals and catalogue cutouts where you’d least expect them.

  12. Defective_carrots_it's_nice_that_list

    People often talk about the crippling beauty standards of the fashion or film industries but apparently our food undergoes the same scrutiny. Our produce aisles, it turns out, are far more curated than you may think. You might recall Marcel’s Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign that won the Design Museum’s graphics category for Design of the Year last month (it was also championed in our 2014 It’s Nice That Annual and picked up a D&AD Yellow Pencil). In a similar vein, Tim Smyth’s bright orange book Defective Carrots is an alternative encyclopaedia of farmers’ market misfits and looks at 56 ugly, unwanted carrots that didn’t make the food industry cut. Some are grotesque, some are strangely endearing, and some are outright phallic but many are only vaguely irregular and beg the question: are we just too picky?

  13. Charlotte_heal_itsnicethat_list

    Any fans of MasterChef series seven will remember winner Tim Anderson, the eccentric American whose final plates of food were, in his words, “a global extravaganza.” Following the dream of amateur cook to big-time chef, Tim’s got a successful cookbook out and it’s been designed by Charlotte Heal, one of our Here 2015 speakers.