Regular Practice's Bookshelf helps inform its microscopic attention to type and print

16 January 2019
Reading Time
4 minute read

Regular Practice is a London-based design studio comprising of Tom Finn and Kristoffer Soelling. Having met at the Royal College of Art, the duo has produced project after project with beautiful graphics – and sound concepts to back them up. Including a self-populating work for the identity of their previous college, and an architectural journal for the University of Puerto Rico, a constant across the duo’s portfolio is microscopic attention to experimental type and printing techniques.

Below the pair talk us through some of the titles which have made it onto their studio bookshelf over the years and which help inform their practice. From Japanese graphics to beautiful illustrations of vegetables to old library books that cost them a quid, it’s a real treat for any print lover – enjoy!

Graphic-sha Publishing Company: Japan’s Trademarks & Logotypes in Full Color, Part 4 (1991)

KS: I picked this up over the summer while I was travelling. I saw the first one in a shop and sourced two more volumes online after realising it was a recurring series. They’ve each got about 20 Post-its in them because there’s just so much of note in every volume.

This book provides a kind of irreverent enthusiasm for graphics that is surprisingly refreshing in a contemporary media landscape. It’s packed to the brim with stuff in just about any style you could imagine, and the book is sectioned in a way where it presents both singular logotypes as well as more elaborate brand identity studies, but at a furious pace.

Tadashi Ōhashi: Vegetables, published by Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha (1991)

This book is Tadashi Ohashi’s illustration work for the soy sauce company Kikkoman, mostly watercolour illustrations of various vegetables and fruits. It’s really just an extremely beautiful book.

Indrek Sirkel: 37 Assignments, published by Veenman Publishers and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (2007) and John Barclay, Johanna Bayerlein, Clare McNally: Talks about Money, published by Veenman Publishers and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (2007)

I first saw these books when I was interning at a studio in Sweden – at this time I was also applying to the Rietveld Academie. The one partner had studied there and so had a copy of 37 Assignments on the studio shelf – reading the book I thought it sounded like a really quite strange but wonderful place.

The book reproduces 37 assignments given in the Rietveld graphic design department in the early 2000s – and is perhaps a kind of precursor to Taking a Line for a Walk: Assignments in design education, a much more extensive and wide-ranging book that came out in 2016. I particularly like the assignment that compels students to learn a foreign language and teach it to their tutor.

Talks About Money is a funny book because it treats something that’s really central in anything you do as an independent graphic designer, but not very often or with great enthusiasm shared or talked about. I appreciate the book because it gave some kind of way of thinking about remuneration and my future job when I was studying – as boring as it is I think any successful designer needs to be prepared for those kinds of conversations and situations.

Another book that we might have chosen to show instead of this one could be Unit Editions first book, Studio Culture – there’s less emphasis on money but instead more on the general way of organising yourself as a design studio. It was a book that we referred to a lot when we set up ourselves.

Mario Pompei: Centi Anni di Illustratori, published by capellini editore (1978)

This one cost us a pound from the Royal College of Art’s library. Really colourful, quite blocky illustrations paired with some interesting lettering work. We try to source our references from archival material or from outside the contemporary digital environment, and this particular book sometimes floats down onto the table from our shelf.

Editor, Masaru Katsumie: Graphic Design, A Quarterly Review for Graphic Design and Art Direction 1959-1986 (100 issues)

This aptly-titled publication Graphic Design is a beautiful quarterly which focused on Western and Japanese graphic design and art direction. It ran from 1959-1986 and was dual language (Japanese and English).

What we particularly like about these is that whilst looking at what was then contemporary, now classic graphic design, they also choose works that sit on the very edge of the field, and are sometimes quite obscure – articles range from “Design Problems in modern musical notes” to “technical development of Japanese cartography” and they hone in close on the technical and diagrammatic detail of the subject.

The books themselves are really beautifully made, they were supported by Takeo, a Japanese paper mill who are still around today, and in these two examples, they have at least four different coloured papers and some really nice special printing.

B78 La Biennale di Venezia. Materializzazione del linguaggio (1978)

This catalogue has been living in the studio on loan recently, it’s from a 1978 exhibition at the Venice Biennale entitled Materialisation of Language – an exhibition featuring works made by women that advanced the catchment of the field of “concrete poetry”. The catalogue is the foundation for the upcoming second issue of Tinted Window, examining the particular exhibition and the artists and works within it.

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

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.

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