Autumn is looming, the last of the warm weather is hanging by a thread; people on the tube have started wearing hats and scarves. Fortunately, this month’s compilation of Things is brightening up the looming darkness with vibrant and colourful design. A series of bespoke stamps, some beautiful publications and a series of scratch-cards having a dig at social, political and class issues feature on this October’s round-up!
Ever-grateful to the kind contributors that send us their valued work, please keep sending in your submissions for next month’s Things to this address.
Jon McNaught: Kingdom
Nobrow Press’ latest publication is an immaculately executed comic by the Bristol-based illustrator. Kingdom follows the story of a family’s summer holiday along the British coast in an immersive graphic novel. Following a traditional comic layout, the book’s large format allows a detailed view into the intricately crafted scenes Jon has illustrated. The simple and consistent colour palette seen throughout the comic creates a uniform atmosphere that explores themes of beauty and boredom on a summer holiday. Not to mention the layers of intense, block colours elevate the digital drawings to feel more like handprinted linocuts.
Jay Cover: Manx Folk Traditions
Illustrator Jay Cover has designed a set of six novelty stamps for the Isle of Man collection highlighting “a selection of the Island’s traditional folk customs that still form a part of the lives of the Manx today”. The full collection is available from 8 October, offering a glimpse of Manx culture through Jay’s quirky illustrations. The stamps feature tangible links to Isle of Man’s history such as the island’s folklore and beliefs influenced by migration roots stretching back to “a unique blend of Celtic, Norse, Scottish and English celebrations”.
Issue five of Funhouse sees the literary magazine injected with vibrancy from illustrator Guy Field, as well as design and art direction from Guy’s brother, Leo Field. Purely by accident, the entire issue is created by four West Midlands people including the brothers, the editor Oliver Zarandi and printed by Birmingham-based Risograph studio, Holodeck. In discussing the overall aesthetic of issue five, Guy explains “we decided on a rough DIY feel, irregular layouts and ugly typefaces to match the content. We went crazy with the layout and artwork, no rules”. Its design is packed with a variety of styles to differentiate the articles which are all then unified through the Risograph process, meaning Funhouse is a considered and energetic magazine.
Michael Arnold: Politicalotto
Politicalotto is a series of scratch-cards having a dig at social, financial, political and class issues. Art directed by Michael Arnold and illustrated by Derek Wycoff, Lan Truong and Sharmila Banerjee, the four scratch cards are a satirical take on current social issues. Playing to the whimsical, Vegas-like design of a gambling scratch card, Woman’s Touch is a game that comments on the inequality of gender pay as the game dictates it highly unlikely to win as the female player. Stairway to Haven involves finding the petrol-tycoon Shell’s logo in every column of the game for tax fraud while Despot Dash reflects on Putin’s globalised tyranny.
Otto Splotch: Jerry Mindfelt
Jumbo is a small Risograph press in south-east London with intentions to bring great art from creatives like Otto Splotch to the UK. The publication optimises on the benefits of risograph printing, using a variety of intensities to create different effects across the two-colour spreads. Some spreads are subtle and provide muted tonal shadows to the fun illustrations, while some spreads maximise on the eye-catching fluorescent pink ink. Otto’s illustrations feature imaginative and expressive characters set against backdrops rich in a combination of soft textures and rigid geometry.
New-York based photographer Daniel Spector, photographs people, spaces and the relationship between them in his latest publication of observational photographs. Spanning an impressive range of places and themes, the publication is tastefully designed, giving light to the feeling and emotion of the images. From fashion to product photography, Daniel showcases his versatility as a photographer, capturing the personality and feeling of a place through the beautiful imagery.
Ashley D’Arcy: Popular Mysticism on the Internet
Popular Mysticism on the Internet is a truly unique publication grounded in academic philosophical ideas and executed in contemporary, minimalist graphic design. A two-colour Risograph printed publication in metallic gold and fluorescent pink, Popular Mysticism merges academic theory with internet culture in an accessible format through the clean and simple design from Luiza Dale. Ashley introduces ideas from key intellectuals such as Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity and theoretical physicist Ernst Pauli, matching these ideas alongside images from social media to effectively analogise Ashley’s project. For instance, Ashley analyses Instagram’s algorithms, demonstrated by a post about how “everything is a dildo if you’re brave enough”. Using this example, Ashley examines power dynamics between humans and technology, successfully communicated through Luiza’s graphic design.
Desired Landscapes is a Greek publication exploring a sense of place through “a collection of person-to-place bonds, urban observations and poetic snapshots. Every issue acts as a city guide and captures the urban experience through candid photography. The magazine is “attracted to metropolises of glorious pasts, present banalities and hypothetic futures, it is ardent for contradictions, ephemera and the vernacular”. Encompassing the joys of wandering around a new city, the magazine documents the unexpected surprises that travelling can bring.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.