Activity books, underground culture and space dogs: it's the June edition of Things!

5 June 2019

We’re back with our monthly list of publications to add to that ever-growing pile of things to read and peruse. June has us marvelling at the work of Marion Bataille, sobbing over a children’s story of feeling different, poring over the pages of an underground culture magazine, connecting with accounts of mental health, geeking out over logo and design histories, chuckling at Martin Parr’s bizarrely specific and extensive collection of Soviet space dog memorabilia, and doodling in an interactive graphic design activity book!

Unidentified Paper Object

Now in its third issue, the bilingual art and design publication by Éditions Non Standard presents work by Marion Bataille. Each issue of UPO uses a basic large book format as an arena for experimentation with materials, type and design. With exposed sewn binding and Fedrigoni paper, this edition is designed by Studio Rejane Dal Bello and features the typeface Venus SB.

Goliath: The Boy Who Was Different

“Ever since I was born, I knew I was different.” Ximo Abadía’s illustrated children’s book tells the story of Goliath, a not-so-little little boy who towers over his peers. Goliath’s sense of alienation drives him to leave home and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Published by Little Gestalten, the book is filled with beautiful illustrations in bright primary colours. All us weirdos at It’s Nice That have certainly felt different at some point in our lives, and we’re sure you have too!

Cult Classic

The third instalment from Portland-based collective and magazine Cult Classic continues the mission of previous issues to document and uphold the art of underground culture. The publication, which features alternating matte and gloss textures, is dedicated to “chronicling the people shaping the cultural landscape”, and includes a lesson in modern mysticism from The Hoodwitch.


Psyche is a collaborative, Risograph-printed magazine focusing on mental health. Created by Lucy Grainge and Juliette Fitzgerald Duffy, the publication aims to provide a platform, discussion, reflection and connection with others through storytelling. Issue two looks at the theme of “confrontations”, and includes insights from writers, actors, social workers, fashion designers and an environmental collective.

Logo-A-Gogo: Branding Pop Culture

In a gargantuan publication of over 5,000 images, designer Rian Hughes breaks down his creation of brand identities and logos for some of the most iconic names in the comic, gaming and entertainment industries, such as DC, Marvel, Hasbro and the Cartoon Network. Essential reading and viewing, not just for designers, but for all contemporary culture enthusiasts.

Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design

Theo Inglis presents a comprehensive and detailed review of the graphic, illustrative and typographical aesthetic landscape of the mid-century, post-war period. The book encompasses advertising, magazines, book covers and record sleeve designs, and touches on influential designers of the period such as Corita Kent, Ray Eames, Helen Borten, Alvin Lustig and Saul Bass.

Graphic Design Playbook

Consisting of exercises and instruction in typography, posters, signs and identity, the Graphic Design Playbook is aimed at all ages and all levels to encourage intuitive thinking and playful exploration in the world of visual communication. A new English translation of the 2015 Livret d’initiation ou graphisme, the publication includes a glossary of graphic design terminology and a removable “toolbox” of stencils, stickers and paper.

Space Dogs: The Story of the Celebrated Canine Cosmonauts

This book by Martin Parr and Richard Hollingham is dedicated to the phenomenon of the Soviet space dogs that were brought in as participants in the 1950s space race between the USA and the USSR. With illustrations from Martin Parr’s own collection of space dog ephemera, the publication considers the figure of the space dog in 1950s Soviet culture – such as the original “canine cosmonaut”, Laika, whose image was proliferated on stamps and souvenirs.

Meantime: A Collection of Love Stories from Singapore’s Past

With its seminal issue, Meantime collates a selection of family photographs, written and visual personal memories and keepsakes that revolve around the central theme of love in all its many iterations. Meantime is a publication about looking back on the past and making something eternal out of the ephemeral.

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About the Author

Rebecca Irvin

Becky joined It’s Nice That in the summer of 2019 as an editorial assistant. She wrote many fantastic stories for us, mainly on hugely talented artists and photographers.

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