Things: the best bits that came through the letterbox this July

21 July 2016

Throughout July we were sent a mass of incredible work to keep us busy and cheerful through this whirlwind of weather we appear to be having. This month we whittled it down to our ten favourites including a stack of incredibly intricate zines, catalogues of furniture, children’s books that can be appreciated by all, and some hilariously topical illustration…

Sarah Tanat Jones: Make America Hate Again

What’s more fun than a fabulously crafted illustration bashing Donald Trump, you say? That same illustration on a t-shirt, that’s what. Sarah Tanat Jones sent us this incredible work of pop art, we’re already fighting over who gets to wear it in the studio. She even threw in a pin-badge with the same design for good measure. Twice the fun, and perfect to show off your allegiance during those chilly November days when you’ve got your coat all wrapped up concealing the t-shirt as the election finally comes to fruition in the United States. She wrote us a lovely postcard too, so we thought we’d show off her great depictions of New York’s architectural icons too.

Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley: Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature

Not only are the illustrations in this compendium of nature and the animal kingdom stunningly shaped and rendered with deep and muted colours, but the information in it is throughly interesting for both child and adult alike. Gems range from social structures and animal made architectural feats, to how animals have adapted to camouflage themselves in the natural world. The book is simply stunning. Plus, its dust jacket even folds out to become an adorable and informative poster about penguins and other birds species! Penguins!

Aino-Maija Metsola: First Words

One of the many, many lovely things about sifting through work sent to us is seeing pieces by artists you begin to recognise, this was the case for Aino-Maija Metsola’s new work, First Words. Aino-Maija’s illustrative style may be familiar due to her work with Finnish furnishings company Marimekko, but more recently she has turned her very talented hand to children’s illustration. The result is some of the finest, most uplifting illustration work we’ve seen. This bold book published by Wide Eyed allows children to learn their first 100 words using rich and spirited prints of various objects from hedgehogs to helicopters. The first ten pages of the book are additionally pull out posters each split up into attentively drawn sections including, transport, african animals and opposites.

Aika Hirano: Garden

This delicate new zine, Garden, by Japanese designer, Aika Hirano is a delight to flick through this summer. Published by Commune Press Garden, is a varied collection of illustrations which features graceful ink drawings and intricate amusing sketches of eggs and avocados. Aika’s ability to curate her range of paintings, drawings and prints is a rare talent, this zine establishes the diverse talent of Aika and we look forward to seeing what many directions she is going to go in.

Margherita Urbani: Tokyo Diary

Margherita Urbani took her first trip to Tokyo between April 20 and May 2 2015, documenting all the sights, sounds and idiosyncrasies she encountered during her time in this wonderful little line drawing journal. Part sketchbook and part diary of curiosity, each page is filled edge to edge with little musings, adorable creatures and tasty delicacies from the special cities of Shimokitazawa, Shibuya, Harajuku, Katsushika, Daikanyama, Ginza, Tsukiji, Roppongi, Kenji, Omotesando, Aoyama, Shinjuku which make up the Tokyo Metropolis.

Luke Best & Laura Carlin: It’s Alright

Yet another fantastic zine posted to us from Commune press this month was It’s Alright by Luke Best & Laura Carlin, and for the record, it’s more than alright. Luke & Laura have individually made their own imprints in the design and illustration world, Luke creating work with artist collective Peepshow who’s clients include The New York Times, MTV and Nike, whereas Laura has received a considerable handful of awards for her illustration work including the Quentin Blake Award, Uniqlo Fashion Illustration Award and D&AD. However, their separate talents are perfectly combined in this adorable but sophisticated zine featuring a range of intricate collages to ink drawings of a kingdom of cats. Each page alternates between full colour prints to black and white sketches and prints and although it appears small, It’s Alright is full to the brim of joyous work.

Amanda Berglund & Erik Kirtley: All My Pals Are Plants

During this insane heatwave we’ve been having in London over the past few days All My Pals Are Plants a new zine by Amanda Berglund and Erik Kirtley was a breath of fresh air. This new zine printed at Peow! Studio in Stockholm is a clever little collection of typographic illustrations and drawings by an assortment of gifted people including work from Edwin Beauchamp, Karl-Joel Lrsn and Lucy Sherston to name a few. Amanda and Erik’s decision to collate these talented designers but design them in a pattern of neon pink and a calming blue risoprints is inspired. Each page is unique but part of it’s own family, quite like plants really. We were particularly fond of the appreciative description of plants on the opening page, “The kind of pal who drink a lot, but we never have to throw out of the house”. This duo’s last zine Rainy Days is now completely sold out so grab a copy of their latest while you can.

Thomas Raat: Archetypes and Residues

Archetypes and Residues is a new catalogue exhibiting the work of Dutch via Norfolk artist, Thomas Raat. Published by Onomatopee, this carefully designed book is a lesson to us all in how to showcase simplicity at it’s best.

Thomas himself is a sculptor who’s work repurposes everyday objects from chairs, doors, mirrors and table frames. This publication highlights the remarkable form of Thomas’ work in 2D as well as 3D. Thomas’ work consistently uses colours of teal, red, white and black, as documented on the cover. However, within Archetypes and Residues the initial works are documented in black and white in a catalogue style on newsprint. You would believe that this would take away from the work but it only highlights the slick design applied by Thomas and makes the full colour works in the second half of the publication even more remarkable.

Running alongside Thomas’ work is Unprecedented Surface an adaptation of The Real Thing by Henry James from 1892. This piece by Dutch poet, Maria Barnes which is the ideal companion to Thomas’ work.

Ian Caulkett from Two of Us: B-Sides

B-Sides is a personal journal documenting Ian Caulkett’s time as a designer living and working in Brighton, collecting together a series of prepossessing photographs taken on his commutes and ambles through the city. Each is simply, yet effectively laid out, capturing the essence of what he calls, “the unremarkable detail, the graphic qualities of found typography, shapes, linked, colour and shadows.” Printed and presented large-scale on newsprint the colours are beautifully muted, capturing a dreamlike sense of memory.


476 Paris were kind enough to send across this beauteous heap of resplendent risograph printed materials, from a variety of artists under their umbrella. Set up by art directors Etienne Robial and Maxime Barbier, the Paris based studio prints some the most pristine and

Of the lovely stuff they sent in to us, all pristinely packaged and labelled, Etienne Robial’s own printed Alphabet Normaal is an absolute stand out. Brilliant in blue, two rogue red ’A’s loom large-scale behind turning the typographic showcase into an effective composition in its own right. He sent in two bold impressions of the Canal+ logomark and the Swiss flag too.

Next up, Camille de Cussac’s redites-moi des choses tendres, repetition portraits evocative of the pomp of the 19th century captured in bold and expressive lines of blue and red.

Bénédicte Muller’s ballet dancers made a real impression in the studio, their simple alignment allowing for each movement to flow with ease as the eye moves across the page. They look fluid, despite their stillness, helped of course by the risographic tones.

Louise Duneton’s work was in itself quite the cache, with Six Collections showcasing a variety of cheeky body parts.

Thomas Hedger remains one of our favourite illustrators, and he doesn’t let us down here, with two disparate tied together by his bold style. The muted colours come into their own, capturing the winsomeness of the portrait and sky scene.

François René and Georges round out the work, each with their own collections the former of the a subtle animal based typeface and the latter of people tiny scaling massive rocks, and finally Otto Din’s great big poster celebrating Dada.

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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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