Things: the inspiring post that got us through the long hot summer nights of August

19 August 2016

Sifting through the mountainous cache of postal delights this month made for very sweaty work, with the hot summer sun lingering long into the day. It was an absolute delight to kick back in the shade of the studio and enjoy the host of creative, printed delights you sent us.

This month was an especially strong showing for handmade, self-initiated projects and burgeoning talent, with such a wide, weird and wonderful selection to choose from. Of the pieces that made the final cut many have an insightful cultural focus, including a number of creative-lead magazines offering a fresh voice on editorial from a diverse, cosmopolitan coterie of contributors. Thanks to everyone who sent something to us, we remain eternally grateful.

Josh Burgess: Stargazing

Josh Burgess sent us this beguiling, handmade concertina book fascinated with stargazing. The illustrations in white and black on a field of deep blue blends into one mass, upon which constellation of stars, waves and stargazers shine. Overleaf, the concertina design reveals a beautifully illustrated cross-section of the lighthouse.

“Stargazing is a small edition book themed around a lighthouse keeper and the constellations they might see while looking out into the lonely night sky. I love working with handmade print so the book is made using a mixture of screen print and lithography, then cut and bound by hand,” says Josh.

The piece is filled with hidden little details, in illustration and design, such as removing the dust jacket to revealing a printed astrological map bearing the phrase “to be a sailor of the world bound for all ports.” An illustration student going into his final year at UWE, he is one to keep an eye on.


Counterpoint is a deliciously designed, independent, risographically printed journal of creative commentary created by Sam Bradley and creatively directed by Bethany Thompson. Each issue focuses on one topic, approached from both insightful and whimsical angles by a host of fresh, talented contributors.

The Holiday Issue, the tenth and latest volume of the Edinburgh-based journal, fascinates itself with all things wanderlust, including: jet-set nostalgia for the past, the demise of the British seaside glitz and glamour, the looming spectre of homophobia on holiday, lusting over obscure currencies and the tribulations of living in a city besieged by tourists. All printed in three, gorgeous risographic colours.

Girls / Club

Girls / Club is a zine made by and for self-identifying women, spearheaded by founding editor Georgia Murray. The third issue deals with the decidedly postmodern notion of “the quarter life crisis.” Through a series of insightful and inciting illustrated, photographic and written editorials, the zine moves to reclaim the disparaging moniker of “millennial,” reappropriating it as a definition for the talented and astute team of contributors and designers that give this publication its voice.

Aleesha Nandhra: Visit Mars Postcards

From the envelope alone we knew were going to feature this one. Aleesha Nandhra, the illustrator and sometime printmaker responsible, sent us these four classy, nostalgia-inducing duotone prints. As travel adverts for interplanetary travel, they are filled with tonnes of whimsy. Their expertly executed retrofuturistic aesthetic brought more than a few smiles in the studio.

Mariagloria Posani: A Queer Culture Illustrated Guide

Mariagloria Posani has produced this lighthearted and informative compendium for queer culture, illustrating key terminology, slang and idiosyncrasies. Written in English and Italian throughout, the zine serves to illuminate queer culture for the lay reader and amuse those more well-versed in the lingo. It broaches the subject of stereotypes with a sardonic wit, illustrating a plethora of the well-known archetypes of gay-man (twink, weasel, bear) and lesbian (femme, chapstick, butch) and plotting them on a graph.

These infographic-style characters establish the many dualities and dispel preconceptions by showing just how ridiculous and unfounded they are.

Double Dot

Double Dot is a biannual exploration of sisters cities, bringing together some of the keenest photographers, illustrators, designers and writers to share their cultural and cosmopolitan observations.

Issue eight twins cities Paris and Seoul and carries interviews with graphic artist Na Kim, Raphael Garnier and indie musician Hyukoh (who graces the cover in a beguiling alluring underwater shot), as well as illustration from Shin Morae and prepossessing photography from the likes of Momomi and Rala Choi. Its content ruminates on such cultural phenomenon as the French distain of improper grammar and language, earthernware pots used for home cooking and the storage of food in Korea, and the controversial banning of the hijab in public spaces in France.

Ella Frances Sanders Speaking in Tongues: Curious Expressions from Around the World

Illustrator and author Ella Frances Sanders put together this charmingly illustrated, expertly researched and hilariously written collection of strange idioms, adages and philosophies from around the world. The book highlights just how culturally specific language can be, with many of the nuances seemingly muddled, bemusing or lost in translation. The illustrations imagines these metaphors as literal scenarios, making for some weird and wonderful scenes full or wit, while accompanying commentary serves to unravel these cultural conundrums.


Frowning is a free magazine that forgoes overriding copyright to leave the content in the hands of its creative voices.

Created and edited by Douglas Greenwood, the magazine features engaging interviews with some of the best up-and-coming musicians, filmmakers and artists alongside photography series, and editorial think pieces. Volume two features Billie Eilish, Mura Masa, Marit Österberg The Big Moon and Kevin Smith, alongside Glasgow School of Art student Lucy Grainge’s dissection of the relationship between art and mental health.

Creative director Laura Glennie gives the whole thing a gloriously lo-fi feel, delivering its strong visuals, purposefully offset typography and graphic layouts on newsprint.

Rory Blakemore: The Comment Section

The comments section of any internet article, video or thread is a dark, worrisome and hilarious place. Graphic designer Rory Blakemore curates and illustrates a selection of the best and most obscure online rantings he’s stumbled across over the years.

Taken out of context and placed on the page, Rory’s pointedly simplistic illustrations, collages and graphic layouts of the comments elevates their preposterousness to an art form.

F37 Bolton

F37 Bolton is the third typeface created by Rick Banks at F37 Foundry in the UK. Inspired by Günter Gerhard Lange, the typeface is a strong showing of horizontal ascenders and descenders throughout, and comes with a plethora of ligatures and non-standard Latin letters for use across European languages. The typeface is thoughtfully presented here in this blue and white booklet, making use of infographics, compositions and the coordinates to the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton to showcase its attractive and effective communication.

Owen Mathers: Man Crush and On the Line

Owen Mathers sent us a lovely bundle of his recent printed work just in the knick of time to be included this month, and we decided to pick two of the best pieces to feature.

Man Crush really made us chuckle. The premise is hilarious itself: “You know the type, the strong silent type, the ones who get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the day…They are the men you look up to, the best dressed, the coolest, toughest and baddest. Every man has one – a man crush.” James Gandolfi, the don of all tough men, graces the bright yellow cover rendered in ink. Always a statement.

On the Line is a diary of doodles and drawings observing commuters on the underground, from weird wonders, change sightings and reliable regulars like sleepy passengers sleeping past their stop. The collection earns its place especially for the illustration on the back — which again had us cooing with laughter — a simple line drawing carrying the perfect title, Pigeon With Two Stumps Outside Waterloo.

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About the Author

Jamie Green

Jamie joined It’s Nice That back in May 2016 as an editorial assistant. And, after a seven-year sojourn away planning advertising campaigns for the likes of The LEGO Group and Converse, he came back to look after New Business & Partnerships here at It’s Nice That. Get in touch with him to discuss new business opportunities, and how we can work together on creative partnerships, insights, experiences or advertising.

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