“I have no discipline when it comes to collecting books,” Liza Enebeis, creative director at Studio Dumbar tells us. “I have considered stopping several times, especially when I needed to move but that didn’t last very long.”
Liza first started collecting books when she 11, and cites being taken to the bookshop by her parents as one of her earliest memories.
“Collecting books is a way for me to clear my mind and focus without distraction. My collection spans from the expected to complete randomness,” she continues. As a result, she own books about “graphic design, typography, symbols and systems, photography, illustration, fashion, pocket bibles, Snoopy paperbacks, sci-fi, space travel, outsider art, collecting, James Bond, artists’ monographs, city guides, flower arranging books, Miffy, architecture, Stedelijk museum catalogues, and medical catalogues…”
Her wide-ranging interests mean visiting bookshops is easy she tells us, but Liza also spends plenty of time seeking out specific titles and adding to her ever-growing wishlist. “Most books I buy are second hand. There are some books that have taken me up to six or seven years to find. Of course, almost everything is available online but a lot of the times they tend to be overpriced – I love the search and waiting out till you get what you want. You have to be consistent and focused and for sure you will find what you want and at the price you want. The search is the most addictive and thrilling part.”
So, without further ado, here are the five titles this certified book worm (“we had a school library and I even received the book worm of the year award”) rates among her favourites.
Playboy magazine the Braille edition, 1976
I read an article about this edition a few years ago. The paradox of a very visual magazine that has a Braille edition is brilliant. The Playboy magazine in the 60s and 70s was also known for publishing the work of great authors such as Henry Miller, Truman Capote and Anais Nin – so I am sure this edition is a very good read. Apart from its content, the cover is brilliant – straight to the point with the bunny classic. I have looked for this edition for five years but it’s almost impossible to find. One month ago, a very close friend of mine Jane Pluer found it for me. I owe her one.
Stedelijk museum catalogues designed by Wim Crouwel
Not a surprising collection, living in the Netherlands they are quite easy to find. I started collecting them recently – I love to look through them – an entire body of work – how it evolved through time and experience. I learned so much from these by looking and looking.
I love the work of Miro and his freedom of expression, I have looked through this book so many times. I used to go to sleep with the book on my head in hope that osmosis could work and I’d absorb all of his imagination. It didn’t really work…
I worked at Pentagram for several years for David Hillman. He gave me the set as a goodbye present. Only four issues were published and designed by Herb Lubalin. Without question, it’s classic Herb Lubalin. But what makes this an exceptional set is what the magazine stood for. Ralph Ginzburg was the editor and publisher and he pushed the boundaries of censorship, freedom of speech and encouraged the sexual revolution. We still have a long way to go but Ralph Ginzburg is an inspiration to me in pushing the boundaries.
ANWB Manual, 1986
The ANWB is the Dutch automobile association, the manual was designed by Studio Dumbar (Michel de Boer), and the logotype was designed by Total Design. There are only 500 copies made and the one and only Studio Dumbar copy is in the possession of Gert Dumbar. One year ago I found it on a Dutch auction site – hardly anyone was interested and I won the bid!
This is probably the craziest manual I have ever seen, in both production and design. It has a metal cover, silk-screened plastic dividers, perforated pages, illustrations everywhere, it’s a complete clash of modernism vs Memphis style. I love how extreme this is. It makes me proud to be part of Dumbar when I see this.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.