Bookshelf

Every week we invite someone from the creative industries to share a rundown of their five favourite books in the whole ruddy world, which have inspired, excited or educated them.

  1. Blair_thomson_bookshelf_list

    Creative director Blair Thomson founded brand design agency Believe In back in 1996, and since then he and his team have worked hard to deliver provocative and engaging work. But there’s another string to Blair’s creative bow, which is his passion for stamps. Having developed a love for them at a young age Blair has set up the aptly named Graphilately, a beautifully curated Instagram account that houses his personal collection, which he told us all about back in April.

  2. Come-de-bouchony-itsnicethat-pienkowski-list

    We’re pretty big fans of French graphic designer Côme de Bouchony in the It’s Nice That studio – we’ve covered his work again and again and again on the site. So it comes as no great surprise that underneath all of that sharp, reference-laden work lies a Bookshelf bulging with first-rate printed matter. The ten most influential people in magazine design, illustrator Jan Pieńkowski and one very long Italian sausage all have their place. Roll up, roll up!

  3. David-luraschi-bookshelf-coveritsnicethat-list

    Paris-based photographer David Luraschi is as adept at photographing undulating hills as he is sprawling nudes, and he brings his unique perspective to both. You might know him best for his series of photographs of people spotted on the streets of Paris photographed from behind – a project that started on his Instagram and has since been splashed about all over the internet.

  4. Charlotte-mei-list

    Now I’m not saying that the Bookshelf feature should act as a barometer of how much we want to be friends with the people we feature, but if you can’t identify niche interests in a kindred spirit by way of their favourite publications, when the bloody hell can you?

  5. Parterre_de_rois_list

    Biannual magazine Paterre de Rois seamlessly weaves contemporary culture with relevant masterpieces from the past. The latest instalment, titled Rebellion, is a hot mix of punchy, full-bleed images, engaging copy and an assortment of paper textures. Editors Molly Molloy (fashion designer for Marni womenswear) and Gianni Tozzi (creative director for FutureBrand Milan) are passionate about print, and here Molly selects five books that proudly sit on their bookshelf. Informing their work past and present, these publications have provided guidance, inspiration and visual delight in one form or another for the pair.

  6. Studio-toogood-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    From furniture design and a fashion line to a series of installations, Faye Toogood is a material aficionado. Her interior and environmental design work is founded in artisanship and “the irregularity of the chosen material,” meaning that no corner of the creative industries has been left untouched by her influence. We caught up with Faye to find out which five books hold the greatest sway on her bookshelf, and her inspirations – from Yohji Yamamoto to Barbara Hepworth – are evident throughout her expansive practice.

  7. Sh_books-itsnicethat-list-2

    From googly-eyed palm trees oozing California cool to a cheeky yellow thumbs up sign against a backdrop of a bright American flag, artist and designer Steven Harrington has been wafting LA sunshine our way via his cartoonish characters for years now. His work is a staple reference for anybody making Americana-influenced illustration, and spans huge hand-screened prints to limited-edition skateboards, all of which is doused in his sunny, funny style.

  8. Laurabradley-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    There are few corners of the internet which remain sacred nowadays, but anothermag.com, the online counterpart to Dazed ’s sister publication AnOther Magazine, feels something like a tiny jewel-bedecked cave in the midst of a vast wasteland. Hosting a curated collection of insights into the lives of legendary artists and craftspeople, alongside photographic series, handwritten letters and aspects of the fashion world which might otherwise go unnoticed, the site is a rare gem, and at its helm is editor Laura Bradley.

  9. Ng_inside_2bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    London-based fashion brand Eley Kishimoto was founded in 1992 by Japanese-born Wakako Kishimoto and her Welsh husband Mark Eley, and has since earned a global reputation for bold print design and collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander. We were lucky enough to pin down co-founder Wakako to find out which publications have most inspired and influenced her on her trajectory thus far. Her response? A beautiful old Japanese/English dictionary, a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac-clad Snoopy, and an old old issue of the National Geographic and all of the treasures inside it.

  10. Alex-tieghi-walker-itsnicethat-list

    When we invited Alex Tieghi-Walker to contribute to the Bookshelf feature we didn’t realise he was in possession of what basically constitutes a library. A looming wall of books, teeming with colour, insight and inspiration. Look at it! It’s enormous!

  11. Book-shelf-list

    If you’ve been for a walk in Hoxton, east London recently there’s a good chance you’ve come across One Good Deed Today, a recently-opened shop selling a curated collection of lifestyle and homeware objects. The objects on sale are lovely, but the approach taken by the owners Romain and Alev is even more so – the products are chosen based on how and where they are made, making it a very responsible collection, and five percent of all proceeds from the store are donated to a charity chosen by the customer at the time of purchase. Nice, huh?

  12. Spuren_cover_00-int-list

    Brighten the Corners (the name comes from the Pavement album!) is a design studio split in two – it’s made up of Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou and based in both London and Odenwald, Germany – so it makes sense that it has two bookshelves to show for it, too. The studio’s portfolio of work includes some very impressive stuff for the likes of Anish Kapoor, Frieze, the British Council and the Department of Education, and with fingers in such diverse pies we were keen to see the books Billy and Frank were drawing on for inspiration. So here they are!

  13. Allbook_spines-teal-triggs-int

    What a treat we have for you today! The one and only Teal Triggs, professor at London’s Royal College of Art and all-knowing figure in everything concerned with print, graphic design history, self-publishing and feminism, has spent some time digging five of the most influential and inspiring books she owns out of her bottomless collection to share with us.

  14. Laserigraphie_cover-int-list

    If you aren’t already familiar with Atelier Bingo then I can’t think of any better way to introduce their joyous work than to have them present five of their favourite publications, in their own words. The atelier consists of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, a creative couple living in an impossibly beautiful barn in the French countryside where they experiment with illustration, graphic design, surface and textile design on a daily basis to create an endless array of utterly unique and distinctive works for clients including Vogue, The Plant, Wanderlust and Wrap magazine. But also just for fun, because why wouldn’t they?

  15. Main-books

    Guys it’s World Book Day! One of the only “days” of the year that people should really give a shit about (yeah I’m looking at you “National Play your Ukulele Day”). People all over the world are encouraging kids and adults to get their hands on a brand new book, or just glance at the spines of your well-thumbed publications on your dusty shelf that perhaps changed your life at some stage or another. In honour of this sacred day, we book-lovers at It’s Nice That have decided to pay homage to our own favourite tomes by listing them here for you today in our very own It’s Nice That Bookshelf. So in no particular order, here are the It’s Nice That editorial team’s favourite ever books. Tweet in yours too!

  16. Just_kids_cover-list-int

    How best to describe the enduring and ubiquitous influence of COS? The brand has become almost cult-like in its appeal since it was founded a mere eight years ago, creating designs which are somehow timeless and classic and simultaneously innovative.

  17. Dominic-wilcox-bookshelf-list-int

    There aren’t many designers out there who can count a pair of shoes with GPS tracking, a race against a 3D printer and a stained glass driverless car among their recent projects, but Dominic Wilcox isn’t just any old designer. In fact, the job title “inventor” seems to be more appropriate, given that he spends his days identifying gaps in the objects we use, and experimenting with materials to develop new and intriguing ways to fill them.

  18. 4_int_bookshelf_americasfav2-list

    Brooklyn-based graphic designer Elana Schlenker is not only the creator of “occasional pamphlet of typographic smut” Gratuituous Type, she’s also a freelancer with a magnificent array of colourful projects on her (frankly quite beautiful) website, a very good speaker, an exhibitor at exhibitions in Edinburgh and at London’s own KK Outlet. And she’s won a bunch of awards, too. Her aesthetic is pastel coloured without being sickly, innovative without feeling audacious and involves the kinds of books which just seem to make life nicer.

  19. Stevie-gee-rumble-fish-list

    Illustrator and art director Stevie Gee has a pretty solid place in our hearts; his work is a glorious collection of iconic retro elements, moustachioed men, skateboarding and surfing know-how and the occasional dollop of sleaze for good measure. His Bookshelf, however, secures him in It’s Nice That history forevermore; never before have a classic skateboard, several pairs of silken panties, such a delightful collection of textiles and a cat called Olive featured. His book collection is pretty good too, jumping from vintage erotic comic books to 70s psychedelia is one fell swoop. All hail Stevie Gee!

  20. Gourmand-list-int

    If you’ve passed an independent magazine stand or stepped into a newsagents of late then without a doubt you’ll have some idea of what The Gourmand is. The biannual journal focuses on food in all its guises, and it’s invariably too enticing not to pick up. Founded by David Lane and Marina Tweed, the magazine is something of a pulsating hub for cultural references, with every page bearing the kind of striking imagery that challenges accepted patterns of independent publishing, urging the whole industry forward. You can see why we decided to grab co-founder and creative director David Lane to run us through his five favourite inspirational books from the studio Bookshelf.

  21. Teoconnor-bookshelf-list-int

    If you’ve laid your eyes on a poster for one of Somerset House’s exhibitions recently then you’ve more than likely been looking at the work of Teo Connor’s eponymous east London design agency. Teo, who previously co-founded No Days Off, has since worked on a bunch of chic campaigns for the cultural institution, not to mention projects for Tate, Nike and the V&A. She’s also co-founder of The W Project, which champions women in the creative industries through a series of events and exhibitions, which means she basically ticks every box. Brilliant woman.

  22. Fonshickmann-bookshelf-2

    It’s not very often we have a selection of vintage porn magazines masquerading as a book about the history of cinema on It’s Nice That, and for this special occasion we have Professor Fons Hickmann, founder of Berlin studio Fons Hickmann m23, to thank – he stumbled across the rare finding at a French flea market.

  23. List

    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

  24. New-omar-list_

    You know how, when going to the hair salon, you automatically and perhaps unfairly expect your hairdresser to be perfectly coiffed? We had a similar sense of anticipation when it came to admiring Omar Sosa’s favourite books – a kind of nervous hope that the man responsible for getting together with Nacho Alegre to co-found Apartamento, an eclectic and deftly-curated compilation of cool characters and the spaces they inhabit, has a similarly intriguing collection of books in his own home too.

  25. Lenka-list

    Artist Lenka Clayton has been a mainstay on It’s Nice That since way back in 2009, whether she’s doing very slow magic tricks, making drawings on a typewriter with friend and collaborator Michael Crowe, or making books about the 63 objects she has removed from her son’s mouth. With such a multidisciplinary practice we knew Lenka would have stacks of wonderful books tucked away, and we weren’t mistaken. “A few years ago I moved to America from England,” she explained, “so I have far fewer books at home than I used to, making this exercise quite easy. The books I chose are the ones that I sacrificed clothes space for in my suitcases.” It seems a good tactic, as these five are a wonderfully eclectic insight into Lenka’s work. Read on!

  26. Unnamed

    As co-founder of London-based studio 8vo, co-editor of Octavo, International Journal of Typography for all of its eight year-long life and now one half of typographic powerhouse MuirMcNeil, you’d imagine that Hamish Muir has built up a fairly comprehensive collection of design and typography-based publications over the 30 odd years he’s been working. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the legwork and gotten cold hard proof of it in the form of photographs of his top five, and it’s even better than we imagined.

  27. List

    Antenne Books is to independent art bookshops what cool kids are to playgrounds – generously exchanging the very best in Pokemon cards from their reserved spot on the climbing frame – except for the Pokemon cards are beautifully made books about art, photography, design and illustration, and the climbing frame is a neat website. They shared five of their favourite out-of-print publications, including some absolute bangers from Ari Marcopoulos and Ed Templeton, leaving us envious and awestruck in equal parts. For their full range, check out their website.

  28. List

    Last week Clive Martin from Vice called him “the David Bailey of grime” which sums up Ewen Spencer’s oeuvre beautifully, really. The documentary photographer has made British youth and subculture his bread and butter, photographing the UK garage scene in all of its gritty glory as well as working for the NME, photographing The White Stripes, making the very brilliant Brandy & Coke and producing a host of books and exhibitions as well. As far as perspectives on Britishness go, Ewen’s is basically unrivalled.

  29. List

    Yesterday marked the launch of the brand new issue of bi-annual hardback Twin magazine, the defiantly substantial glossy publication that clubs fashion, art and culture together through interviews and gorgeous imagery. This issue includes photographs by Petra Collins, an archive of childhood shots of Kate Bush taken by her older brother and an interview with the remarkable Neneh Cherry, so to celebrate we thought we’d have founder Becky Smith show us the five books which have inspired and influenced her. In the process, we learned who her favourite photographers are, whose rare books she’s lucky to have laid her hands on and the unlikely inspiration behind the name “Twin”. Read on!

  30. List

    When we get in touch with the people whose work we admire to ask if they’d like to be involved in the Bookshelf feature, we ask them to pick books which have been particularly inspiring or influential to them in their lives, and this brief might never been more closely followed than by Jessica Svendsen. Jessica is a graphic designer at Pentagram and teaches Typography at both Parsons and Pratt in New York, as well as working on a number of freelance projects which are as remarkable for the degree of research which informs them as for their bold, impactful imagery.

  31. Lisst

    Longtime fans of Toro Y Moi will already know Chaz Bundick to be a man with impeccable visual stylings, and a portfolio which stretches way beyond logos and album covers to include album launches turned art exhibitions, screen-printed posters and a heavy involvement with the concepts behind his music videos as well. Today marks the launch of Chaz’s debut album Michael under the name of his dancier side project Les Sins, which we decided made for an ample excuse to get a look at his Bookshelf. And my god it’s a good one.

  32. List-2

    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

  33. List

    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

  34. Main1

    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

  35. Main

    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

  36. List

    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

  37. List

    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

  38. Main1

    Want to know a surprising secret about self-proclaimed “book obsessive” and Dazed & Confused editor Isabella Burley? She can’t stand big coffee-table-sized fashion books. “I’ve always taken my references from art, pop culture, photography and sex zines rather than fashion,” she told us. “That’s really come to shape the way I approach our fashion content within Dazed.”

  39. List

    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

  40. List

    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.