Pass-the-illustration and an hour of Swedish Progg. It's time for Things!

2 October 2017
Reading Time
6 minute read

It’s officially the start of a new month which means it’s time for our roundup of the best goodies we’ve received in the post: Things! Last month, as always, the postman did not disappoint delivering us a host of exciting things including a game of pass-the-illustration, the first fully customisable watch, an hour long mixtape of Swedish Progg and an ode to all your favourite greasy foods.

Tobias Frere-Jones: Fifty Type Specimens

Type Specimens are odd things…books filled with words that have no real context or necessity beyond the typeface they are demonstrating. Type designer Tobias Frere-Jones has been an avid collector of said specimen books for about twenty-five years and is fascinated by the narratives that exist in the letters as opposed to the words. Fifty Type Specimens is a collection of postcards, created by Tobias, featuring images of typography from his mammoth collection of over 300 specimen books. The cards feature classic letterforms and pages from specimen books to be used for display, inspiration or as actual postcards. The cards come in a neat little box and are categorised into four geographical groups: American, British, French and German.

Scriberia: How to Draw Anything

How to Draw Anything is a book made by Kings Cross-based illustration agency Scriberia which sets out to repair our “broken relationship with drawing”. It aims to reignite our childlike love of drawing and equip readers with new means to solve problems, share ideas and tell stories. It takes drawing out of the art world and puts it “into your world,” introducing it as a practical tool for everyday life that will “change the way you work, think and communicate.” The book is split into five chapters breaking down the agency’s top tips for incorporating drawing into your life and features the charming illustrations of Dan Porter and Chris Wilson who make up Scriberia.

Andrew Bell: Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux is Glasgow based designer, Andrew Bell’s tongue-in-cheek “ode to grease, salt, sugar and lager.” It explores the “greasy highs and the sugar crashing lows” that excess consumption brings. The publication features Bell’s humorous internal dialogue of his relationship with various items of food, drink and other objects that are equal parts intriguing, revolting and, sadly, relatable. Oh, and it comes with a free pack of Rennie, of course!

Modern Toss: Shit for Brains

Jon Link and Mick Bunnage are back with their tenth issue of Modern Toss. After the release of last year’s Fucking Arseholes Anonymous, this issue Shit for Brains is a collection of single panel cartoons interrogating “the fragile state of the world". Each cartoon has short, witty title that sets the scene and gives context to conversations being had below by a host of grumpy illustrated people. Personal favourites include architecture, toy shop and flower show.


Clubhouse is an ongoing collaborative project which started in 2016 at Colorama, a publishing house and risograph print-studio in Berlin. It’s a collection of posters and comics from 30 illustrators and artists and was drawn, printed and assembled collaboratively over a week-long period with a print run of 250. Hosted by Johanna Maierski and Aisha Franz, Clubhouse Week provides a platform for artists to work in a shared space and encourages them to also share their practices and processes. The result is a colourful book featuring a host of interesting work that all responds to each other, creating an organic narrative bursting with youthful energy. Imagine what a giant game of pass-the-illustration would look like. This is it!

Bicep Debut Studio Album

Next up is London-duo Bicep’s debut studio album with visuals designed by Royal Studio. The design features layers of texture and colour that mimic marbling and paint splatters in a sporadic collage. This concept of layering is developed via an interactive website that lets you click on the letters of the word “bicep”. When each letter is clicked a layer of visuals appears or disappears and an element of the song is turned on or off. The album itself is an “electronic record founded on the blueprint of classic house, techno, electro and Italo disco, but flipped and morphed into a fresh design bearing the unique Bicep sonic signature.” You can check out the website and listen to some of their music here.

Cloak Watches

Above is the new watch by Cloak. A self-confessed “anti-smartwatch,” it is the first watch to feature fully interchangeable materials for all of its elements: the face, bezel (outer ring), body and strap. Cloak features an innovative and exposed watch face that acts as the hour hand, turned by a magnetic system within the watch itself. You can preorder the unisex watches via their Kickstarter or check out more of their personalisation options here.

Tom Kavannagh: YTYKWYA

An acronym for when you think you know where you are, YTYKWYA is a photographic series by Tom Kavannagh exploring the notion of being lost – whether that be mentally or physically. It’s a collection of calm and still images that resemble a walk with no real direction. The combination of empty interiors and random observations portray a real sense of serenity, leading the viewing through surreal dream-like narrative. The book itself was designed by Ciaran O’Shea of Discordo Studio and has 104 pages consisting of 52 photographs. It also features an accompanying soundtrack by Jimmy Lee of Trailer Trash Tracys and a poem by Luke Norton.

Oi Polloi: Swedish Progg Box Set

We were sent this little collection of items by Manchester-based Oi Polloi who worked with professional record-hunter Andy Votel to create this homage to Swedish Progg – not prog, there’s a subtle difference, apparently! The package includes a t-shirt featuring an image of a bottle of Swedish paint stripper spilling onto the shirt and spelling out the words ‘Jag älskar Swedish Progg,’ in other words ‘I love Swedish Progg’. It also includes a cassette-tape featuring an hour’s worth of pivotal tracks from this often overlooked genre. Just a heads up – Progg was a left-wing, anti-commercial musical movement that began in Sweden in the 1960s and 70s.

They also sent us the twelfth issue of Pica Post which is a 36 page publication/fanzine/magazine “thing”. Even they describe in their editor’s letter how they’ve been making these things for a few years now and are “still not really sure what it is.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s a colourful collection of recipes (including tap water sandwiches), articles, interviews and editorials.

Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien: I Want to Be in a Scary Story

Last but by no means least is I Want to Be in a Scary Story by award-winning author Sean Taylor, illustrated by It’s Nice That fave Jean Jullien. The book tells the story of a little monster who wants to be in a scary story, featuring a back and forth dialogue between the narrator and the loveable main character, Jullien’s illustrations as always add a whimsical and endearing quality to the pages. The release of I Want to Be in a Scary Story is the pair’s second collaboration – they previously worked on Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise together which went on to be a huge success.

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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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