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    Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Bookshelf

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: Book designer Coralie Bickford-Smith shows us her top five publications

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Coralie Bickford-Smith’s designs for clothbound classics are responsible for putting legendary literature back into the paws of the British public, luring them in with beautiful design that anyone would want in pride of place on their bookshelves. From foil-blocked editions of F.Scott Fitzgerald to illustrative, patterned sets of Dickens, every novel Coralie redesigns turns into something extraordinarily pick up-able. This is precisely why we let her get away with picking six books for us rather than five – it’s such a treat to see which tomes directly inspire the work she does today. Here she is…

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    Ad. and M. P. Verneuil: Abstract Art, Patterns and Designs

Ad. and M. P. Verneuil: Abstract Art, Patterns and Designs

Containing 40 colour plates of beauty, this book is a source of garish yet stunning colour palettes. I was scared of the boldness of this book for quite a while, but recently a project came up that needed this exact kick-start with colour choice. I like to think my colour work might be turning a corner and I have embraced the fear. The incredible thing is that these fresh designs and abstractions are the result not of the early career of the Verneuils which you might think, but after a quarter of a century of exploration and artistic endeavours.  

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    S.v.Weech and C.H.Gecks: Wie Zeichneich Geometrische Muster and Freie Muster

S.v.Weech and C.H.Gecks: Wie Zeichneich Geometrische Muster and Freie Muster

I got these on a whim from Present & Correct. I can’t read German but the insides are pattern-rich, monotone and graphically delicious to my eyes. They get lost in my bookcase as they are smaller than the average book that lives there, but every time I rediscover them it makes me stop and revisit, invariably gleaning some new visual spark.

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    Richard Bach: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Richard Bach: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Many years ago I once met a random person who I never met again. They insisted I read this book and I bought it only to discover that cover was embedded firmly in my memory from the bookshelves of my childhood. I remembered I had only ever looked at the pictures and not read the words. I am glad Jonathan Livingston Seagull came back into my life so I could read the words this time. It echoes my own life perfectly and reminds me to return to my roots to get the good stuff out of it.

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    Ruari Mclean: Victorian Publishers’ Bookbindings

Ruari Mclean: Victorian Publishers’ Bookbindings

When I got my hands on this and saw that it was described as a picture book I thought there couldn’t possibly be a better book than this. Ruari McLean has played a big part in my career as a designer – finding another soul who was as interested in Victorian bindings as myself and who had left a lot of material to study was an inspiration to me as a fledgling designer. His books first appeared on my university reading list and have been a part of my life ever since.

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    Alan Bartram: Fascia, Fascia Lettering in the British Isles

Alan Bartram: Fascia, Fascia Lettering in the British Isles

“If a sensitive piece of lettering is covered up by a tasteless formica and plastic banality, theres a little death in mankind: all of us are poorer.”

I unearthed this book in a bookshop in Southport. Sadly I think a typographer had passed away as there was an great collection of typography books that blew my mind. I never found such a great haul of books again. It is full of old black and white images of shop fronts with typographic signs full of personality. For me its important that Alan Bartram has documented these signs before they disappeared behind the plastic banality of many shop signs we know today. 

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    Blake’s Water Colours for the Poems of Thomas Gray

Blake’s Water Colours for the Poems of Thomas Gray

This book was a Christmas present from my partner’s father who is also a big Blake fan. He advised I explore the Night Thoughts of William Blake and this is another bunch of Blake’s work I had not come across. I like that fact that in the introduction it says that Blake had one of his first visions whilst walking through Peckham Rye, which is where I now live. It brings me much joy to know I’m so close to the history of a man I so greatly admire.

  • Bookshelf

    Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Bookshelf

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Reel off a list of highly-publicised albums recently and chances are that their artwork was designed by creative director and artist, Leif Podhajsky. From Bonobo to Mount Kimbie and Kelis to Tame Impala, Leif’s psychedelic-inspired designs turn these albums from listenable into incredibly desirable in a matter of seconds. Drawing inspiration from the mystic, the kaleidoscopic, the mysterious and the wild, Leif’s site and blog are a treasure trove of beautiful, technicolour work to marvel at. You can almost smell the sandalwood. Here he is on his top five most inspirational tomes, check out that National Geographic collection!

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    Can you believe Mr Bingo has never done a Bookshelf for us? We’ve been posting about his work, reading his vulgar Tweets and laughing at his books for years and never thought to ask him. Well, maybe we did ask him and he said no – that sounds more like it. In between Tweeting at Alexa Chung, writing alarmingly insulting hate mail and illustrating for big companies, Bingo is a seemingly avid collector of weird-as-shit books. Are titles such as Dancing with Cats and Self Defence for Women up your street? Then read on dear friend…

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    We’ve long been enormous fans of Ally Capellino, for the timeless bags and vessels she creates that seem to adhere to and stand up to everyday problems of a “doing” person who rides bicycles, carries a lot of books, or just needs a sturdy bag as a tool rather than something to show off. Saying that, everyone I know who’s got an Ally Capellino bag definitely shows it off, and it’s normally so beautiful that no one really minds anyway.

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    This week’s beautiful bookshelf selection comes from Jasmine Raznahan, editor-in-chief and creative director of Noon magazine, a stunning new publication which we wrote about a little while back and whose spellbinding pages have held our concentration through many lunch breaks. Jasmine’s brilliant bookshelf contains all sorts of beautifully bound publications, including a lovely looking book about an old lady and her cat, and a very striking study of geometric shapes. Jasmine is also the Director of ARPA, and her impeccable graphic designer’s eye certainly shines through in her choices. Here she on some of her absolute favourite books…

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    People who champion the smaller, artier, cuter, brighter, funnier publications there are flopping around all over the world are our kinds of people. Katja Chernova is one of those, so who better to ask to recommend us some publications for our weekly Bookshelf feature? Katja is the founder of Ti Pi Tin, a small but powerful art book shop in London’s weird cousin, Dalston. Ti Pi Tin stocks small publications, zines, and basically anything printed and bound and sometimes unnecessary that you inexplicably just really, really want to own. Here she is on her personal top five reads…

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    I knew the Bookshelf of Present & Correct would be beautiful, but I was in no way prepared for this. Each of Neal’s books makes me so jealous that I’m working out a way to break into his house and raid his shelves for more beauties. From rare Ken Garland books to old publications dedicated to stitching typography, Neal’s got it all, and it’s beautifully photographed too. Wait a minute, who exactly is Neal? He told us in his own words.