Christmas comes but twice a year when the Things stocking has been left to fatten for a few weeks. What an inspiring haul this is! We’ve got school scribbles, golden MJ, failure with aplomb, type anatomy and an innovative letterpress-loving portfolio. It’ll be a thriller…
Calm & Collected: Learn
First up it’s a spectacular school-themed zine by the “anonymous assembly of individuals”, Calm & Collected. Excellently designed to keep the excitement and freshness of a secret after-school art-class collage without becoming overwhelming, almost every page is gold star worthy. There are diagrams explaining how aerosols work, warnings about head injuries and photos of sinks. For most, school is a dry time, but Calm & Collected show that with some perspective it can be pretty fruitful too.
Pie Paper Issue #4: Failure
Failure first hits the winners amongst us at school, so we’ll move on next to a celebration of screwing up and falling short. Simon Oosterdijk and Markus Hofko have taken the epic theme of failure and succeeded in editing, designing and illustrating an incredibly impressive, beautiful and fascinating book with a whole host of terrific contributions. With titles ranging from “flop pseudonyms” to “morose delectation”, the spreads are educational and a pleasure to peruse. As the editors remind us in their introduction: “Failure is an intrinsic part of experimentation, creativity and, inconveniently, life.” Well, here it’s been a catalyst for something utterly wonderful.
The Stanley James Press Periodical I
Instead of an online portfolio, the innovative Stanley James Press, who pride themselves on creating “physical things you can hold in your hands”, have produced a beautiful hand-bound book to showcase their recent work. Projects include punch card invites, knitwear tags, photographs of a taxidermy curator’s day and an iphone paper prototype that pulls out from the page. Printed on quality paper with a restrained palette and a spacious design, this is a stunning example of practicing what you preach.
Stephen Coles: The Geometry of Type: The Anatomy of 100 Essential Typefaces (Published by Thames & Hudson)
One can never have enough books on typography. This recent offering dissects the intricate details of 100 typefaces, both old favourites and newbies. For those not totally au fait with splayed legs, curved strokes, round glyphs and ball terminals, this is an excellent place to learn what in an ideal world everyone should know.
Lemon Five: King of Pop
Dead or alive, Michael Jackson oozes extraordinary things. This lavish, golden book includes an interview with MJ by a Tennessee medium, a series of impersonator Kings of Pop doing their thing on golf courses and in the dairy section of the supermarket, surreal comic strips of other artists’ songs and, best of all, six untitled pages apparently charting the changing colours of the icon’s face. In short it is very weird and also amazing.