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.

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    I get the same feeling receiving the zip file from weekly Bookshelf contributors as I did when I used to babysit as a teenager and casually rifle through people’s drawers (by the way, don’t do that). Witnessing the telling spines residing on people’s shelves will always be intriguing, and Holly’s top five is no exception. The editor in chief of i-D has an absolute terasure trove of some of the glossiest, coffee table-worthy tomes money can buy. What’s brilliant about her selection is just how telling it is of her true passion for the world she has been submerged in since beginning as an intern there many moons ago, and of why i-D is so consistently brilliant with her at the helm.

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    The amount of times we’ve checked out new work from Joe Cruz at It’s Nice That and just sat around with our heads in our hands, gobsmacked at how simple and effortlessly beautiful his work is. Not just that, but his style is probably one of the most easily recognised of the editorial illustrators we chat about here. We love him so much that we even asked him to illustrate a piece in our own magazine, Printed Pages. Here’s Joe on the artists, books and African fashion that have influenced his work over the years. Take it away, Joe!

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    Louise Benson from POST Magazine has curated a selection of books from her bookshelf for us! Since we first wrote about POST in 2011, the digital magazine dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge creativity has spectacularly grown, and has become a very intriguing and forward-thinking online platform. The site explores the blurring boundaries between art, fashion, science and technology, and in the past they have published iPad editions of their magazines. For an afternoon, Associate Editor Louise pulled herself out of the digital realm and spent some time with her physical bookshelf. On to Louise for her list of all time favourites.

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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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    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we like to dip our timid toes into the world of fashion, and what better way to do so than to approach a big dog at one of the best online fashion resources known to mankind? Leon St-Amour is the Creative Director of Mr Porter, the luxury menswear site that – much like us – likes to make people happy each and every day. Where we do it with featuring people’s work, Mr Porter do it with a very special knack for delivering their goods in the most luxurious and hand-clappingly exciting way possible, usually involving a very beautiful white shopping bag being hand-delivered to sartorially-minded folk all over the globe.

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    Wahey! We love booze and books in equal measures here at It’s Nice That, so it’s our pleasure to introduce Simon Lyle and his five favourite books to you today. Simon is the editor of Hot Rum Cow, the printed publication containing the hottest news on all things booze – from cocktails to beers and from bartenders to barflies, this magazine’s got it all. Here he is on which publications have inspired him along the way to becoming editor of Hot Rum Cow

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    Our weekly Bookshelf feature must be fairly nerve-wracking stuff for book artists like Owen Gildersleeve, whose recurring presence on the walls of It’s Nice That is about as unquestioned as the changing of the seasons. How do you represent your own book collection when half of your practice is about creating images for new ones? Fortunately Owen’s passed our test with flying colours, a 10 out of 10 for his five publications that have not only informed and educated him, but make excellent eye candy for us book-lovers too. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a very exciting new one all of his own, due to hit bookshelves very soon…

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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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    If you’ve been dying to know which publications inspire a fashion photographer as prolific as Matthew Donaldson then your prayers have been answered. He’s very kindly told us about five books from his rather beautiful shelves that have informed his work over the years. And what work! Matthew’s photographed for the likes of luxurious big dogs Vogue, Wallpaper*, W and GQ and has also shot slick and witty advertising campaigns for many clients including Sony, Harvey Nichols, Skoda, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, Harrods, Missoni, Kvadrat and Marks and Spencer. Ever wonder what a man like Matthew carries around in his blazer pocket? Read on to find out…

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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.

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    Despite sharing his surname with one of literature’s most dastardly characters, Paul is actually a really nice guy. He’s a well-known, London-based artist and illustrator and is also the creative director of Human After All and the former creative director of Little White Lies magazine. So yeah, pretty talented really. He’s given us a very, very concise peek into his bookshelf today and my oh my does he have some gems! A book of Chinese apothecary packaging design? Yes please.

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    Never before have we had someone on the Bookshelf feature who has admitted to stealing a book because it was so engrossing. Okay so it was accidental theft, but it still counts, right? Today we have brilliant Canadian director Jonathan Van Tulleken whose directorial work includes that of Misfits and Top Boy. He was keen to show us his books, and you can totally see why – he bloody loves them! If you’re not logged on to Amazon by the end of reading this article, I’ll eat my hat. Take it away Jonathan.

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    Carol Montpart is a Spanish graphic designer working from the Fraser Muggeridge studio in London. For five years she specialised in printing and publishing at Folch Studio, before moving to London to work for the Frieze Art Fair and on the redesign of ArtReview magazine, as well as starting The Plant with two colleagues. And with a CV like that, she’s something of a safe bet for having a stunning collection of tomes on her bookshelf.

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    Sarah’s the first Bookshelf contributor (to my knowledge) that has used the phrase “yum” when describing a publication. And why not when the book is as lovely as the tomes Sarah has picked from her evidently weighty shelves? Only last week we were gushing about how spectacular she is at drawing but we just couldn’t resist peeking into her bookcase. What did we find? A bunch of beautiful short stories and some truly delightful art books, naturally. Here she is…

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    A very beautifully put-together Bookshelf this week from Duncan Campbell, a writer and creative director know predominantly for his work with the Acne Paper. After spending a few years helping brands such as Bulgari, Hermès, Penfolds, Rizzoli and Veuve Clicquot look better, he has now the creative director and co-founder of Campbell-Rey – a new agency “specialising in cultural and visual storytelling for lifestyle and heritage brands.” You might guess that Duncan has a pretty stylish bookshelf, and you’d be absolutely right. It’s visibly creaking with weighty, beautiful and intelligent tomes, which makes it even kinder of Duncan to take time to pick his top five for us today. Here he is…

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    What a treat we have in store for you this week in the form of Chris Haughton’s weighty bookshelf. Chris is a designer and children’s book illustrator who has been creating friendly, funny publications for little nippers for the last 12 years. Looking for a book that’ll make your child fall asleep (in a good way) at night? Then look no further than his books A Bit Lost and Oh No George! which are as beautifully illustrated as they are written. He’s kindly told us a little about which of the children’s books that dominate his shelves today please and inspire him on the regular. Take it away, Chris!

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    Not to build 6 Decades up too much, but I came across it when I was researching “the best bookshops in the world.” Based in New York, this little building houses some of the most fascinating artistic tomes to grace the planet. Jeremy Sanders, the shop’s curator, says that “6 Decades is dedicated to artists’ books, the history of the book as an artistic medium, and to documenting the essential role these books have played in the development of contemporary art.” Here he is after choosing just five books from the whole shop, something which you can imagine was incredibly difficult. If you’re in the area, check out their site for updates on fun, book-related events they hold on the premises.

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    There’s nothing better than having a nosey around someone’s bookshelf as it tells you such an enormous amount about them. In the case of a creative studio, the contents of the bookshelf are a direct inspiration to conversation around the work and the finished results. Popular UK is a multidisciplinary studio whose work offers fresh solutions to clients in the music, fashion retail and publishing sectors. For me, their bookshelf holds the stuff of dreams, which seems to translate directly to their very interesting portfolio.

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    Good books deserve to be well-photographed, and there’s no one better to do this job than small publication fanatic Claire Cottrell. As well as being a photographer, film director, creative director, and editor, Claire is also the Los Angeles editor of Berlin-based Freunde von Freunden and founder of LA’s best art book shop, Book Stand. The shop specialises in “unique art books, independently published magazines, films and vintage publications,” things that Claire absolutely lives for.

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    Sometimes animators are a mysterious little sector of the creative world, no one seems to really understand how they weave the magic that they do, and so it remains rather a wonderful mystery. The Animated Review are a bunch of animation-fiends who have set out to spread the word and curate the best animation from all over the world on their site and in a very nice little printed publication. Want to know which books inspire some moving image and cartoon fanatics? Onwards, dear reader…

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    Hayden Woolley’s pastime is our obsession. As well as being an English teacher and a writer for Drowned in Sound, Hayden moonlights as becoming a pre-teen boy from the 90s. His Twitter feed TweetsFrom98 is an all too familiar glance back into the nylon angst of the mid to late 90s. References to The Animals of Farthing Wood, walkmen batteries, hair curtains and The Big Breakfast are rife, so much so that we’re willing to say it’s the best thing on Twitter. If you haven’t had the pleasure I suggest you have a look immediately, then check out the exceptional selection of books he’s kindly chosen for us from his shelf below.

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    You should never judge a book by its cover, and equally you should never judge a man by his bookshelf. WRONG! You can totally do both, I do it all the time. In the case of wonderful illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie, one look at his creaking bookshelf held in pride of place over his computer, tells you all you need to know. A closer peek into the actual contents of these shelves reveals oodles about the artist’s value of research, his love for fine draughtsmanship and his passion for the designs in nature. Take it away Bjorn…

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    Just one look at the books this Spanish design duo have picked and you know they mean business. Their choice of exhibition catalogues and functional typographic bibles reveal a lot about how Córdova – Canillas work. They themselves declare that their studio’s approach is “defined by a collaborative network that allows them to integrate graphic design, art direction, photography, communication and strategy to develop projects for commercial and institutional clients focused in contemporary culture.” Wowzah! Read on to get very inspired, very quickly.

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    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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    What better person to pick their top five books than Elinor Jansz? She’s half the brains behind Four Corners Books who have reproduced some of the most beautifully made publications of the last decade. Four Corners are responsible for publishing such treasures as an impeccably designed, over-sized copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray and a candy pink copy of Vanity fair illustrated by Donald Urqhart among many, many others. Go over to their site and plan all the birthday presents you need to buy, ever. Before that, though, have a look at Elinor’s favourite books, she’s picked some absolute corkers.

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    The It’s Nice That Bookshelf is widely regarded to be the best feature on any website in the history of the internet. I like to think of it as a cheerful consolation prize for people that aren’t famous enough to go on Desert Island Discs yet. Here we look back at five of the most interesting shelves we’ve had this year. Get your pens out, you’re going to want to write some of these down.

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    Who better than to give us a well-curated selection of some of the finest books around than KARMA books, one of New York’s most well-respected art bookstores. Founded by Brendan Dugan of An Art Service this little Aladdin’s cave of knowledge and aesthetic fudge collates some of the most difficult-to-find books in the world and publishes those that must exist. Their selection is, unsurprisingly, informative and beautiful in equal measure. Check out their site to get your hands on some of these publications for yourself.

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    Oh my Goodness what a treat! A bookshelf from friendly and fun artist Misaki Kawai. Misaki has been making us go warm and fuzzy and feel silly for years with her utterly unique paintings, illustrations and designs. As well as designing some of the most loveable characters ever created by an artist, Misaki is also responsible for making some of the best and most inventive merchandise you can imagine. Unsurprisingly her five most inspirational books are a cosmic medley of some of the strangest tomes I’ve ever seen, accompanied by some of the most hilarious captions we’ve ever been sent. Enjoy!

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    When we look back in years to come we’ll all slap our hands to our foreheads and realise that in his crass, Beano-ish drawings Kyle Platts was actually the Pied Piper of an enormous movement in illustration. His meticulous, often hilarious work spills out of his head, past his eyes, and on to the page at such an alarming rate that it’s genuinely hard to keep up. So what books inspire a man who is fast becoming one of the most well-known illustrators in London? Read on to find out.

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    We have Sonya Dyakova to thank for some of the most pleasurable, well-designed books and magazines (including frieze) that have graced our site in the last few years. Her work is feminine without being cliched – it’s strong and humble, always allowing the work of the artists that adorn the pages she designs to shine brightly while she takes a demure step back. Unsurprisingly her bookshelf is packed with a concise selection of intelligent, classical tomes that suggest her true love for art in all of its forms. Here she is…

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    Patrick tried to pick some novels to show us, but it didn’t last long. His enormous bookshelf is made up of nearly 100% zines, comics and reference books and he’s not ashamed. But then again why would be be with a collection as magnificent as this? The best thing about this selection is the undeniable fact that Patrick’s collection of publications is a clear nod to his wonderful, weird illustration – just how we like it. Here he is…

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    Tom is the creative director of Drawn and Quarterly, and as someone who provides the world with some of the spectacular graphic novels and comics you can only imagine what a treasure trove his bookshelf is. From typographic books found in thrift stores that he has “borrowed” lettering from, to a Sears catalogue from the 60s, Tom shows us which books have inspired him along the way. CHALLENGE: See if you can get to the end without eBay-searching at least one of these books.

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    Director and animator Abbie Stephens came to our attention when she directed a spectacularly psychedelic, glam rock-inspired music video for the latest Temples single. She’s also made animations for Primal Scream and some spectacular short, personal films. Trained in design, Abbie has an eye for what looks just right, which perhaps is part of the reason why she’s been able to take some of the coolest photos of her book collection we’ve ever seen on this feature. Without further ado, here she is…

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    What an honour it is to have friendly illustration whizz Matt The Horse do a Bookshelf for us. He was so keen to perform the task that he did a tour of Leeds to all the best bookshops to find his favourite tomes as his are all locked away. I’ll let him explain: “I’ve don’t have many books in my life right now. They’re in my Grandad’s garage near Preston. I just moved into my friends basement so had to audit my belongings. Some precious books came with me, but most are in garage limbo until I get some more space. As a result, I’ve pieced together my selection by visiting the bookshops and shelves of Leeds. I miss my books. Thanks Leeds.”

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    Illustrator and graphic design student Jan Buchczik has been one of our favourites since we stumbled across his work a couple a months ago, so it only made sense for us to pick his brains and find out what his five most inspirational books are. Read on to discover why Spiegelman’s Maus means so much to him, which old cassette tape he loved the most as a child and why he can’t quite bring himself to throw his Warhammer collection away.

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    There are plenty of New York-based creatives whose bookshelves we long to have a nosy around – digging out their gems, admiring their knick-knacks and generally basking in the well thumbed pages of their favourite tomes – and Tim Lahan, one of the busiest chaps in illustration is certainly one of them. It’s a good job that we have a feature whose sole purpose is to allow us to do just that then, isn’t it? Hurrah!

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    We love illustrator Lewis Stringer because he’s unashamedly LOVES fast food. Lewis loves food so much that nearly all of his work is inspired by it, but it’s not really boring food like porridge or potatoes, it’s fun, exciting, greasy food like burgers, hotdogs, pineapples pizzas and steaks. So what does such an artist hold on his shelves apart from Mcdonald’s toys and singing Coke cans? We’re about to find out.