Design inspiration from around the world.

What the FFF?

Founded in 2007 by an ever growing group of designers, illustrators, coders and makers eager to collect and share the best design work they came across, FormFiftyFive soon became an international showcase of creative work.

We scour the world’s best creative talent to keep FormFiftyFive a foremost collection of current design from both the young upstarts and well known masters. We’re constantly on the look out for new features that dig even deeper into what’s happening in the design community, so get in touch if there’s something you’ld like to see on here.

Have a look round, if you see something you love or hate be sure to comment, and drop us a line if there’s a juicy bit of creative gold you’d like to see on here.

Keep it real, the FFF team.

The FFF team

Glenn Garriock — 1576 posts
Graphic designer – Uetze, Germany

Jack Daly — 1191 posts
Graphic designer & Illustrator – Glasgow,…

Lois Daly — 45 posts
Lois Daly – Graphic Designer, Glasgow

Alex Nelson — 80 posts
Designer/coder – Leeds/London/Melbourne

Guy Moorhouse — 46 posts
Independent designer and technologist — London,…

Gil Cocker — 321 posts
Designer & Maker – London, UK

Barry van Dijck — 125 posts
Designer & Illustrator – Breda, The Netherlands

Gui Seiz — 135 posts
Graphic Designer – London, UK

Chris J
Chris Jackson — 72 posts
Graphic Designer – Leeds, UK

Tom Vining
Tom Vining — 12 posts
Graphic Designer – London, UK

Tommy Borgen
Tommy Borgen — 15 posts
Graphic Designer – Oslo, Norway

Clinton Duncan — 24 posts
Creative director – Sydney, Australia

Amanda Jones — 27 posts
Graphic Designer – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Gabriela Salinas — 21 posts
Graphic designer – Monterrey, México.

Felicia Aurora Eriksson
Felicia Aurora Eriksson — 6 posts
Graphic Designer – Melbourne, Australia

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Categories rowsEverything Interviews Books Events Jobs



Unit Editions: FHK Henrion

You might have seen, like I did, the sound bites publicising Unit Editions recent tome FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer and wondered if they’d got the right chap –

“The designer FHK Henrion has no equal in British graphic design history. No UK designer – then or now – can match his sheer depth of accomplishments and range of abilities.”

– Quite a claim, but one you learn is totally justified as you slowly soak in the wealth of information provided by Adrian Shaughnessy in the substantial front section of this monograph. Henrion surely is the most underrated graphic designer of the latter part of the 20th century! If you don’t believe me, read the book – it is only through reading it I realise just how little I knew about FHK and his incredible life. Not only are Unit Editions putting out some incredible books, they’re offering an education few other publishers or even educational courses can match. Thanks to titles such as this, unsung masters like Henrion and Schrofer might now rightly feature in ‘all-time-greats’ roll-calls alongside the more familiar names of Rand, Bass, Vignelli, Aicher, Olins, Lubalin, Dorfsman, Crouwel, Brownjohn, Fletcher etc..

Steven Heller describes the book as “a tour de force of design, writing and editing, representing the designer as entrepreneur principle at its best” and in the same interview on Shaughnessy explains that it took about 14 months of solid work to complete – and it shows (Check out that interview). The effort that goes into researching and cataloguing a body of work such as Henrion’s is huge, but it makes for a book you will want to return to again and again. Much of the content feels very contemporary / modern, a reflection of the quality and timelessness of FHK’s output. Just as the UE Herb Lubalin title of last summer was my pick of the year (previewed here) this edges it for me in 2013. The production values are of course predictably extravagant – the 544 page hardback housed in a foiled slipcase, complete with protected corners – feels as good in your hands as it looks on the shelf.

If the FHK title is beyond your budget however there’s still more good news from Unit Editions… The huge Lubalin monograph proved so popular it totally sold out in a matter of months, but it has just been reissued in a new compact format, at less than half the price of the original! If there is a designer in your life who wasn’t fortunate enough to get the oversized version (or a space on your bookshelf), this is not a book to miss out on. All book orders made on the Unit Editions website before Friday 20 December will include a Christmas gift: a free copy of Projekt: The Polish journal for art and design. With at least 6 new titles on the cards for 2014, including one I know you’re all going to go crazy for, it looks like things (thankfully) show no signs of slowing down at UE.


The Modern Magazine

‘The Modern Magazine’ is the name of both the recent book by magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie, and the one-day conference that took place at Central Saint Martin’s Platform Theatre, London. There’s a great comprehensive overview of the event here on the magCulture blog. I had the pleasure of attending, and found it absolutely lived up to its aspirations to be “a celebration of the best of current editorial creativity”.

As Leslie puts it: “The magazine industry has continually been written off in recent years, yet magazines continue to be published and read. Despite fewer big launches and smaller budgets, magazine makers have risen to the challenging times and we are witnessing one of the most exciting creative eras in editorial thinking and innovation. A golden age of creativity.”

The line up of contemporary magazine makers was indeed impressive, such as Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Turley and Monocle’s Tyler Brule, who are redefining magazines for our age (not to mention; Omar Sosa, (Apartamento), Rosa Park, (Cereal), Simon Esterson, (Eye), Justine Picardie, (Harper’s Bazaar),  Liz Ann Bennett (Oh Comely), Debbi Evans (Libertine), Penny Martin (The Gentlewoman), Davey Spens, (Boat), Patrick Waterhouse, (Colors), Cathy Olmedillas, (Anorak), Paul Barnes, (Commercial Type), David Jacobs, (29th Street), Scott King, (Sink Vogue). There was also a series of panel discussions, one about independent publishing and one about ‘women’s magazines’. The indie-publishing panel was chaired by all round good-guy Steve Watson from the brilliant STACK, his comprehensive write-up of the day can be found here.

The book is also a huge success. It carries a byline ‘Visual Journalism in the Digital Era’ and across its 240 pages it presents an overview of current editorial design trends, drawing on publications from the past ten years (since the first MagCulture book was released) to show how printed magazines have responded to the new digital channels.

Leslie explains the structure of the book: The book works on three levels. First, it’s a visual record of the graphic trends and visual quirks that have marked the past ten years. Most of its 750 images were photographed as real objects and have been carefully juxtaposed to provide a page-by-page guide to design trends and themes (handwritten text, illustration, lists, infographics etc). A four-chapter structure sits over this, each opening with an essay (Rethinking the Magazine, Reinventing Genres, Design x Content and Print x Digital). And each of these chapters have case studies based on interviews with key creative figures chosen to emphasise the need for a shared vision between content and design in contemporary magazines.

With enthusiastic folk like Jeremy championing the medium of magazines, communities and events springing up (not to mention other great online resources such as Magpile) it does indeed feel like we’re experiencing a new golden age of magazines. A great addition to the conference-calendar, let’s hope it becomes an annual event…

Treat yourself to a copy for the discounted price of £25. 750 illustrations | 240 pages | 280 x 216 mm


Counter-Print: Animal Logo

Counter-Print’s have just released their latest publication Animal Logo.

The book is a collection of categorised animal logos and symbols from around the globe. Containing 266 logos from some of the world’s greatest designers and companies including; Total Identity, Lance Wyman, Build, Stockholm Design Lab, Minale Tattersfield, Stefan Kanchev, Kari Piippo Oy and many more.

Available directly at Counter-print for only £7.50. Get it bought!


Everyday is Play.

If you back one Kickstarter project this month it should be Everyday is Play – A Celebration of the Video Game, a book project by Matthew Kenyon.

The book will showcase the works of designers, musicians, artists, writers and developers that have taken inspiration from the art that we grew up with. Through a series of features and interviews, covering everything from fan art to game modifications, it should provide not only a beautiful book but a wealth of inspiration.

For more information on the book and how to help make it happen visit the Kickstarter page.


Mash Creative: 15/115

Mark Bloom is about to release the second book for Mash Creative entitled 15/115, featuring 115 projects spanning his 15 year career to date.

Beautifully printed by Screaming Colour on a tactile mix of GFSmith papers, the book features a white foiled cover with thread sewn spine for lay-flat spreads. Printed full colour throughout with fluorescent orange ink and logo throw out page.

It’s available to pre-order now at the discounted rate of £17.50. We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy. Full review in out Book section coming soon.


Build—Works (01)

Build has reprinted its Build—Works (01) book, and is now available via (by)Build Shop. The book is a collection of the studio’s projects from 2005 to 2010, and interleaved with a selection of arresting images of the Build sphynx cats Brockmann & Betty photographed by Jason Tozer. Previously only available to prospective clients, and briefly as part of Build’s Blood, Sweat & 11 Years exhibition in September last year, the demand for a reprint has been high.

Like the company it represents, Build—Works (01) is small (165 x 240 mm) but perfectly formed – and as with all Build print it has been lovingly created. Generation Press have printed it on their lovely new B2 press, and it features an enticing mixture of papers. It’s great to handle and sits perfectly alongside the 11 Years Show Catalogue – it’s easy to forget how much great work Build have under their belts and flicking through this book is a great reminder. In a world of constantly changing websites this book is a worthy and fitting addition to any designers book collection.

The ever-affable MCP was kind enough to answer my questions…

Michael, i’ve been chasing a copy of this for ages – what made you decide to do the re-print, and why now? what’s different about the book this time around?

As you know we originally made the book only available for prospective clients but we had so many people trying to get hold of a copy we decided to reprint it. We also have our online shop now ( so we have an outlet for it. As a studio we want as many people to see our work as possible, and in some ways the book acts as a printed archive of some of our work as some of the projects are not on our site anymore. I’ve always loved the permanence of printed objects so Build—Works (01) does that too, it’s a selection of our work committed to paper forever.

The book is slightly different this time, its the same format, same number of pages, it still has the poster slip-cover, the back pages aren’t french-folded, and we don’t have the single Lilac Colorplan tip in like edition 1 did. But Scrub/Generation Press reliably informs me that the print is a far better quality in this edition. In his own words “We’ve learned a lot since then, and the new press is really performing brilliantly”. We’ve been sent copies of the slip-cover and the quality is amazing. It feels really good to be getting the reprint done, it seems like a good time to do it.

We’ve discussed in the past the ideas you have for the (by)Build shop – particularly the printed publication side of things – how are plans coming along for that? Anything exciting in the works?

We are currently working on a few projects for our collaborative G/B/P publishing imprint which will hopefully see the light of day by the end of the year. It’s definitely something we want to push but it’s difficult to schedule when we have client work to do. The (by)Build Shop is doing really well, the shop team are doing a really great job, we are working hard to make sure the customer experience is tip-top. The recently launched print-on-demand section is doing well and we plan on expanding that with more prints. We spent a lot of time with Chambers Judd getting the shop site right and it seems to be paying off.

Like many of your projects the book was a collaborative production involving Generation Press, Jason Tozer etc…who’d be on your wish list to get involved with the inevitable Build—Works (02)?

We have a simple ethos of working with the best of the best, and Generation Press are exactly that. They never cease to amaze us, they get what we do and the level of craft, thoughtfulness and attention to detail is second to none. Jason shot the pics of our sphynx cats Brockmann & Betty specially for edition one of Build—Works which in itself was amazing. The shoot was hilarious, Brockmann wasn’t interested at all and wanted to get off the table as soon as possible. Whereas Betty was much more interested! We absolutely loved the results of the shoot and people still to this day mention the cats (‘Oh the book with the cats’).

Build—Works (02) is something we are currently looking at, maybe getting it out by the end of this year. The format will probably remain the same, but the design will change to reflect our current thinking. We will definitely be doing a new shoot for the cover/section dividers. Not sure yet who we will be doing that with yet, but would like to work with someone like Daniel Stier. We had some shots of our studio done recently by György Korössy which we will definitely be using in Works (02).

To celebrate the public release of Build—Works (01) Build will be opening their studio for a ‘pop-up’ (by)Build Shop on Thursday 9 May from 5-10pm. You will be able to buy selected prints and print-on-demand posters, custom built acrylic frames, Build—Works (01) and complimentary drinks for customers.

The book now retails at £25 but Build have kindly offered FFF readers the chance to pick it up at its pre-order price of £20 – just quote promo code ‘FFF2013’ when ordering. This offer expires on Wed 8th May so act quick!


RIT Press: Vignelli Transit Maps

Vignelli Transit Maps by Peter B. Lloyd & Mark Ovenden is the first in-depth study of Vignelli’s contribution to transit maps, which examines in detail both the creation of the original 1972 map, and its re-creation in 2008 and 2011. The book also covers Vignelli’s designs for the maps of the Metro in Washington, DC, and the RER in Paris. It includes previously unpublished materials from the Vignelli Archives including a first glimpse at original, early development sketches of the famed map and of its recent successors.

“For a long time New York communication culture has been afflicted by a fragmentation disease, where verbal rather than visual information has had the priority. When I had the assignment of designing the New York subway map, that was the situation: fragmentation. In any case the map was done and it turned out to be beautiful but nevertheless short-lived. In 1979 it was replaced, and this book investigates its history, revealing interesting details about its demise. This book is also an opportunity to celebrate the work done a long time ago by my collaborators at Unimark and that done by my associates more recently.” – Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Associates

This book is the first instalment of a multi-volume history of the New York City subway map – one of a planned seven! If you’re a Vignelli fan or interested in cartography I recommend you pick up a copy. Peter kindly shared with me the history of the project, how the process of producing the book worked (above is one of Massimo’s scamps for proposed layouts) and the answer to the question many of us would have – what is Massimo really like.

On what he learnt about Vignelli & Unimark –

One thing I learnt was Massimo’s extraordinary humility. He has somehow acquired a reputation of having a great ego, but in fact my observations point in the opposite direction. The transition – if one may put it that way – of the map stewardship from Massimo to Yoshiki and Beatriz (within Vignelli Associates) is being made possible by Massimo’s willingness to let go of a design that he regards as one of his best creations. Of course, he is still involved in the new map, but he has allowed the young blood a serious degree of freedom in re-imagining the Vignelli map. I know that, in private, he is still attached to certain aspects of the formal beauty of his 1972 map, but in public he always acclaims the new map as the best New York City subway map ever.

Massimo does have an enormous passion for good design, and he regards bad design as contemptible. Possibly people have misinterpreted this as ego. Not so. For example, when he failed to win the contract for the Washington Metro map, he effusively praised the map that Wyman and Cannan designed. What matters primarily is that the public should have well-designed artefacts. There is an idealism that Massimo has sustained throughout his half-century of work: he genuinely believes that good design makes the world a better place, and – although he does not use such elevated language – this seems to be like a spiritual aspiration for him. Design is not just a job for Massimo Vignelli. It is a calling.

Vignelli: Transit Maps by Peter B. Lloyd, in collaboration with Mark Ovenden Published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press 128 pp, 9″x12″, richly illustrated in colour


Unit Editions – Jurriaan Schrofer

Jurriaan Schrofer, restless typographer. I have to confess my ignorance of Dutchman & Total Designer Schrofer before this beautiful book landed on my desk. As a fan of Unit Editions (Run by Adrian Shaughnessy and Spin’s Tony Brook) I had seen the previews and pre-release press, but I was still clueless. In the essay included, design writer Frederike Huygen (writer of the sold out monograph Wim Crouwel: Mode en Module) refers to him as ‘a computer-designer before the computer’ and its easy to see why. Typographic perspective and grid structure are pushed to dizzying limits – all the more impressive in a pre-Adobe age.

Designed by Spin, the book brings together a series of commercial and experimental projects alongside corporate identities, editorial projects and magazine design (for architecture mag Forum). As with previous printed Unit Editions (retrospective of Ken Garland & the mammoth Herb Lubalin tribute) the book is a stunner – 144 pages of tactile and luxurious print – complete with fluro spot Pantone, textured papers and a truly lovely stripped printed spine. If only more books would make use of lay-flat binding, the world would be a better place.

I recently saw Schrofer’s creations described as dated but I’d suggest it’s the opposite – flicking through the book you get a sense of the modernity of his work – and as a new generation of designers rediscover the work of past masters Crouwel et al this book will help Schrofer take his rightful place amongst them.

Juriaan Schrofer (1926-90) – Restless Typographer, edited by Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy, is published by Unit Editions, priced at £25.


Irene van Nes – Dynamic Identities

Irene van Nes is a Graphic Designer based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In October 2012 BIS Publishers put out her first book Dynamic Identities. How to create a living brand. She kindly sent over a copy and answered a few questions about how the book came to be. You can read a generous 48 page preview on Issu here – and join the book/topics facebook community here.

I see the project lives on with your Facebook community…what lead you to produce a physical book rather than just curate something online? (Some of our readers might have a project in mind but not consider publishing an option!)

In the beginning I debated with myself whether a static format of a book would fit the subject, but pretty soon it was clear for me that next to my Facebook page where I share my research and insights with a growing community, I wanted to produce a physical printed book. First of all because there was none, but more importantly because it is gives an overview of what has been done/invented up-to-now. Bundled together with an essay, the book is time reference, a snapshot, of where we are at on the topic of Dynamic Identities. I hope, as my research lives on, perhaps a second book could show the evolution of dynamic identities.

How did you find the process of producing the book? (was it easy to sell to a publisher, how long did the process take etc..)

Finding a publisher was actually a lot easier than I thought. I created a pdf presentation on the subject, and sent that to different publishers with an email with my motivation and reason why I think the book should be published. I believe the because of the lack of a book with so many cases ONLY on this topic bundled together, and the currentness of the topic, it was picked up well, and pretty soon BIS Publishers and I came to a an agreement.

Creating the book itself was a dream come true. Always wanted to make a book! The many aspects or making the book, from the research – contacting all the agencies – designing every page of the book – until the delivery to the printers, was a lot of fun!  From the beginning a tight planning and strict deadline kept the engine running. :) All in all the project has kept me busy for a year, with five months non stop full time dedication for the actual production.

Any more books on the horizon or other exciting projects?

Of course the research lives on. Perhaps, when I have gathered enough new project, a second ‘snapshot’ will appear. :) Other than that I am hoping to do some workshops with students on the topic in the near future, and hope to work on exciting dynamic identities!

This is an excellent book – as comprehensive as possible given the constantly changing subject – and at close to 200 pages it feels like more than just an intelligent snapshot of the state of dynamic identities. The lenticular cover is the cherry on the top, never has such a cover felt so justified. Each time I flick through the book I come across identity projects I’ve not seen covered on any of the blogs I regularly trawl, and each one has just the right balance of imagery to explain the flexibility of the brand without becoming wallpaper.

If you’re interested in branding and identity design, treat yourself! Dynamic Identities: How to Create a Living Brand


Unit Editions: Ken Garland

Described recently as “one of the most important designers to come out of England in the last 50 years” Ken Garland thoroughly deserves a comprehensive monograph befitting his contribution to British design. Thankfully one of our favourite publishers, Unit Editions, have managed to brilliantly scratch that itch with Unit 09: Ken Garland – Structure and Substance

It covers everything from student exercises in the 1950s to his self-published photography books of recent years, and touches on the many sides of Garland: the ethical and political designer; the writer; the teacher; the photographer. Produced with input from Garland the first 60 pages is a biographical essay, written by Adrian Shaughnessy and accompanied by rare personal photographs, underpinned by interviews with his contemporaries and peers.

The majority of the book is given over to showcasing a chronology of work – including posters for CND marches, the identity of Galt Toys, sleeves for RCA Records – boundary pushing graphic design the impact of which can still be seen today in much of what is considered “good” contemporary design.

Confession time… other than the 1964 First Things First Manifesto, I was woefully uneducated about the life and work of Ken Garland. No longer! This book is a great introduction to the impact of Mr Garland and its slightly more compact size (than the Lubalin unit) means its a beautiful piece to handle. One to treat yourself to especially if you’re suffering from the January blues and a worthy addition to any designers collection.


168x224mm 328 pages ISBN 978-0-9562071-9-7 £35

– Author: Adrian Shaughnessy Editors: Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy Design: Spin


The Democratic Lecture

Craig Oldham knows a thing or two about lecturing. Wanting to avoid falling into the well trodden path of design lectures he came up with the idea of The Democratic Lecture. Craig’s initiative is based around a website through which students he is soon going to lecture can vote for their favourite five topics out of a list of a possible 40. The audience get a bespoke lecture based on their collective interests and Craig gets to reconfigure and deliver his lecture accordingly. Win/win!

A book that collates all 40 Democratic Lecture topics is also available (alongside the above poster) which is the easiest way to benefit from this fantastic project (as access to the voting site is cunningly restricted for lecture-attendees only). For those who know Craig’s previous work (including the excellent 10-penneth) rest assured this is full of his trademark wit and honesty.

— 40pp on 1200mic Beermat board. — 36pp 120gsm Bright White Colourplan section. — Cloth-bound with Fluro-died glue. — Screen printed black and fluro throughout. — Foreword written by Craig’s mum

Fantastic to see the typeface Jean Luc by Atelier Carvalho-Bernau put to good use too.


Boat Magazine – Athens

The new issue of Boat Magazine is a corker, taking you to the heart of Athens. It features some stunning photography from the likes of Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton, Max Knight, Eirini Vourloumis, Alec Dudson, Jonathan Cherry and Will Robson-Scott.

Accompanying the magazine is Fast Friday – A short documentary by Sam Rowland.

Sam shot the secret cycling society Fast Fridays on one of their weekly night rides across Athens. Check out this short interview with Sam.

The first few hundred copies of the mag come wrapped in this beautiful fish-wrap paper. 

You can pick up a copy of the mag here.


Matt Willey

Matt Willey has established himself as one of the preeminent figures in modern editorial design. Following time at Frost (later becoming Creative Director) he co-founded the much loved Studio8 with Zoë Bather (they closed their doors in May 2012).

In 2011 Matt co-launched Port Magazine and he remains the co-Creative Director of the title (with Kuchar Swara). He recently launched a site showcasing his work – you can follow him on twitter if, like me, editorial design is your thing.

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Awesome work. Love the style texture and movement. Might need to buy a print or two!!

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