Informational Affairs is the ultimate blog for any page-turning book lover. After endless scrolling through its website we thought it was time to ask its curators to take a look back at Informational Affairs’ immense archive, choosing five gems for this week’s bookshelf.
Set up by Wesley Chou, Jon Gacnik and Takumi Akin, Informational Affairs “is an ever growing index of books collected by Folder Studio.” Set up in 2013, the Los Angeles-based studio are an example of the breadth that graphic design can cover. Its projects include creative direction, website design and development for the Red Bull Music Academy, book design for exhibitions, and the art direction and design of UCLA’s design media and arts lecture series. Informational Affairs is an opportunity to see the developmental influences of what keeps this studio driving, and definitely be inspired too.
Osamu Wkita: Perspective Drawing Series: Student Handbook
This drafting manual put out by Science Research Associates, a subsidiary of IBM, has one of our favourite typographic covers in our collection. We love the unexpected contrast between the bold, dense cover and the stark outlined drawings inside. Published well prior to the advent of computer-aided graphic design, it’s fascinating that type was stretched in this way in the pre-digital era.
Mário de Aguiar: Fada Do Lar
This was one of those truly unexpected finds. The unusual typography caught our eye at one of the small newsstand vendors selling tabloids along Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. It was a serendipitous moment discovering a Brazilian crochet magazine with Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, English, French, German and Japanese on the cover at a Mexican newsstand in Los Angeles.
James Bentley: Papua New Guinea Decimal Stamps 1966 – 1982, The Story Behind the Stamp
Although stamp collecting has fallen a bit out of fashion, this book really satisfies our collector’s urge, with no shortage of unique and cultural discoveries to nerd out about. Not only is it a great example of “inline” design and use of variable column widths, we really appreciate how the variety of this collection captures the abundance of interesting flora, fauna, and cultures indigenous to Papua New Guinea.
田中正明: *タイポグラフィデザインNow (Typography Design Now)
Typography Design Now is a catalog of Japanese newspaper clippings, ancient scrolls, and modern advertisements all of which are compositionally complicated featuring various type styles and orientations. We picked up Typography Design Now during our stay in Japan and have been referencing it for ways to handle complex writing systems ever since.
Zhu Li: Tibet: No Longer Medieval
A subtle piece of Chinese propaganda, Tibet: No Longer Medieval portrays an idyllic and cheery fiction of the time following the Chinese cultural revolution. We see the book very much as a painting and the fantasy it perpetuates is indeed gorgeous, full of dreamlike photographs of bountiful harvests, huge open landscapes, majestic mountains, roaring rivers, and the happiest of people.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.