Graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge talks to us about his favourite books

26 October 2016

As both a practitioner and tutor of graphic design, Fraser Muggeridge has numerous projects under his belt that often try to place graphic design in a new context or stretch its capabilities, whether that’s through identities, exhibitions, catalogues or posters. Fraser is the founder of his namesake studio based in London, working with fellow designers Luke Hall, Jules Estèves, Rachel Treliving, Elena Papassissa and Samuel White. The designer also runs Typography Summer School in both London and New York, which provides a space for design graduates to learn more about typography.

Earlier this year Fraser gave an impassioned talk at Nicer Tuesdays about how being a good designer is like being a “private detective”. So we figured his bookshelf must play a big role in his “investigations” and asked him to share some of the tomes that have inspired him along the way. From a well laid out cookbook to a compilation of fan mail envelopes, it’s one to get your teeth into.

Janet Ross and Michael Waterfield: Leaves from our Tuscan Kitchen

This vegetarian cookbook from the 70s uses an innovative approach to the layout of cookery titles in that the ingredients are not simply listed next to the instructions, but actually fall in place when they are needed. The system of inserting them chronologically into the cooking instructions allows the layout of the text to generate and formulate itself, a genius idea.

Jaspert, Berry and Johnson: The Encyclopaedia of Type Faces

First published in 1953, this book is the only book I have read from cover to cover and it’s a wonderful story: for research, pre-digitalisation, idiosyncrasies and access to the real thing.

Paul Grushkin: Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail

In the 1970s, the Grateful Dead would reward their most creative fan mail with tickets to their shows. This led to a large amount of hippie, psychedelic, colourful post landing on their doorstep. Their archive in California includes more than 15,000 decorated envelopes. It’s wonderfulness is due to its freestyle, amateurish, outsider approach, resulting in totally raw, unpolished and honest creations.

Karl-Heinz Hering and Ferdinand Kriwet: Kriwet

Ferdinand Kriwet (born 1942) is a German artist and writer, who uses sliced text to create imagery. This exhibition catalogue comes with a micro-fiche film of the entire book, very much harnessing Kriwet’s multi-media vision of the time.

Watford School of Art: bRIAN

The German printer, artist and publisher Hansjörg Mayer (born 1943) taught at Watford School of Art in the 60s and 70s. The son of a Stuttgart printer, Mayer strived to push the limits of printing processes and embraced the notion of chance.

Together with his students, he produced bRIAN in an edition of a 100 copies, consisting of printing experiments with offset lithography. Each cover is unique; comprised of an aluminium printing plate used during the printing of the book. By swapping uppercase and lowercase characters throughout, the typography became ‘anti’, challenging established conventions of language.

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.

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