Design inspiration from around the world.

What the FFF?

Founded in 2005 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 — 1530 posts
Graphic designer – Uetze, Germany

Jack Daly — 1184 posts
Graphic designer & Illustrator – Glasgow,…

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

Alex Nelson — 78 posts
Designer/coder – Leeds/London/Melbourne

Guy Moorhouse — 45 posts
Independent designer and technologist — London,…

Gil Cocker — 319 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 — 71 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 — 25 posts
Graphic Designer – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Gabriela Salinas — 17 posts
Graphic designer – Monterrey, México.

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

Got something for us?

If there’s a juicy bit of creative gold you’d like to see on FFF, or you’d just like to get in touch, email us on the address below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can also check out our guide to the perfect submission here.

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Categories rowsEverything Interviews Books Events Jobs



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.


Not On Sunday — 24/6

Design duo Michael Willows and Wayne Trevor Townsend AKA Not On Sunday, have launched their first publication – 24/6.

The 24/6 Project is all about giving one day back. They invited 24 designers, artists, typographers, and illustrators from the UK and Ghana to produce a poster based on the figures 24/6.

Featuring works from Ranch Design, typographer and author of Type Matters! Jim Williams, designer Paul Felton of Purpose, illustrator and surface pattern designer Hollie Brown and John Hudson, speaker at TYPO Berlin 2012 sustain, to name a few.

The book and limited edition screen prints are available to buy on their website. 100% of the profits from the sale of the book will go to the Olive Tree Praise Foundation to help spearhead a number of activities geared towards transforming the lives of children affected by various forms of conflicts and crisis including extreme poverty, hunger, illness, persecution or neglect in Africa and particularly Ghana.


Jesse Jacobs

There’s something about the work of Canadian cartoonist and illustrator Jesse Jacobs that I just can’t get enough of. His isometric style, attention to detail and sense of humour create a world that’s all unto it’s own. He has published two books: Even The Giants, published by AdHouse Books and By This Shall You Know Him, published by Koyama Press (featured below). Both are amazing stories to be read over and over again. Be sure to check them out!

Purchase this book here.

Purchase a deck or get prints.

Purchase this book here.

Don’t forget to visit Jesse’s site!


Mr Bingo — Hate Mail

When Mr Bingo flippantly announced on his twitter feed that he’d send an abusive message and drawing via the medium of vintage postcard for just £10, he was bombarded with requests. ‘Hate Mail‘ was born, a fluent stream of sharp, witty, and often silly abuse was sent to the recipient (and no doubt, the postman’s) amusement.

We caught up with the ‘Justin Bieber of drawing’ himself at his studio to chat about the launch of his book ‘Hate Mail‘.

What lead you to become an illustrator?

I think it was just something that I felt that I had to do, I felt like it was the only thing I could do. I always liked drawing, studied Graphic Design at University, specialised in Illustration, mainly because I couldn’t work out how to do Graphic Design, so I kind of defaulted to Illustration, ended up really getting into it and turning it into a career.

Right now you seem to really have a distinctive style and a voice of your own – how did you get to this stage?

A combination of being influenced by other illustrators such as Paul Davis, Andrew Rae and The Peep Show Collective, and comedy that I like, like Chris Morris, Monty Python and various other things and being influenced by them all, but finding my own thing. Which has taken years to work out, but I’d say the main thing that goes on in my illustrations that makes them mine is the personality and the humour, not really the style – you can sort of see that it looks like my work but it’s more of a feeling or a vibe, hopefully, when people see my work it makes them smirk or laugh or think – he’s fucking done that again hasn’t he…

You’ve worked with some really big names, such as The New York Times, the Guardian, Orange and Microsoft, etc… How does your having such a strong and distinctive voice work with bigger clients? Do you find that they come to you because of your alternative approach?

I think at first you need to make your voice known, and it takes clients a while to work out who you are, and what you could be good to do for them, and when you’ve gotten to a certain level I guess where you’ve become known for doing a certain thing and having such a strong voice – that’s the point that I’m at now, which is great, where clients will come to me. And that’s great cause I’m much more in charge than I was when I started out so I get to pull the strings a lot more and make more decisions, cause they know that this is the thing that I do. The best clients will come to you and say ‘do what you do, and we won’t try to change it too much, or influence or steer it too much’ – they’ll always get the best job out of you that way… Unless they’ve chosen the wrong person to begin with, which happens a lot as well! I have to be careful to say no to a lot of jobs, otherwise I know it’s going to end up being wrong.

Is there anyone who you would turn down?

There’s not many people I wouldn’t work for to be honest, I consider myself a fairly decent person in society, but I wouldn’t go so far as not working for banks or something like that – and if I did I’d want to rinse them for as much money as possible, I’d make sure that happens! [he laughs]

Maybe I wouldn’t work for cigarette advertising… If there was a company that was really known for fucking over a third world company I guess I would have to say no. The problem is I’m not really that much aware of current affairs and the news to know who’s been naughty and bad! I’m kind of wrapped up in a world of my own – I might end up working for a bad company by mistake! I think the main reason I turn down work isn’t for moral reasons, it’s because I don’t think I’m going to enjoy it.

We love your new project, Hate Mail. How did you come up with the idea?

It’s really simple – I was in my old studio one night, I was drunk, I went on twitter and said ‘the first person to reply to this tweet, I’ll send them an offensive message on a the back of a post card’. And straight away there was loads and loads of responses, a guy called Jonathan Hopkins won (it said fuck you Jonathan and fuck your shit legs) – sent him a post card, lots of people talked about it, so I thought I might as well do something with this, opened it as a service which was so cheap – £5, you send your name and address and I send you some hate mail.

It literally started as a joke, I didn’t ever think it was going to become the thing that it has. I thought, this is funny, and if anyone wants to pay to be insulted that’s fucking brilliant and that’s why I did it – to amuse myself.

Do you ever get any Hate Mail yourself? And if so, what is the best one you’ve received?

Yes I have. I’ve received a few things, one of them was from Oliver Jeffers, who was an integral part of me turning this into a book actually – he’s a famous children’s book illustrator who lives in Brooklyn and I was showing him some pictures on my phone in a pub, where all good thins happen, and he said – ‘this should be a book’ and put me in touch with people who ended up turning it into a book! Oliver Jeffers sent me some love mail, he did an illustration of some puppies in a basket and said ‘why do you have no love for anything?’ or something, that was funny.

I had something from some girls in Israel that said ‘go global you wanker’ on the back of an s-club 7 post-card, because I only offered the service in the UK, because I was lazy [he laughs]. The best thing I’ve received was a Swiss roll, with the word ‘fucker’ written on it, in a tube.

What was the process like speaking with Penguin about getting it published? Some of that work is pretty close to the bone… Was it a difficult sell, or was it easy?

It’s really really amazing, it’s like the last thing I ever expected to happen you know, I would have thought if anyone would have made this into a book it wouldn’t have been Penguin it would have been a small, indie / edgy publishing company with no resources or money who’d have thought ‘fuck it, let’s just put this out’, but to have Penguin who are one of the biggest publishers in the world to actually back this, believe in it and make it, to put it out on their label without worrying about it ruining their reputation – I guess this work has a lot more commercial appeal than I realised when I first started doing this. I consider this an art book, but for Penguin it’s a ‘humour’ title, they see it as a book that everyone can appreciate, which is I guess what I always want for all of my work really, I don’t want to just appeal to the small art crowed, I want to appeal to everyone. It’s much nicer.

So yeah, Penguin wanted to meet me, I went along with my agent, Paul, and met them, chatted to them about it, they seemed really positive. Then I sent all the people in the meeting hate mail, so I said ‘meeting you was a waste of time’,‘93% of the staff at Penguin think you’re a twat’. ‘Your crisps were insulting’ cause they had some crisps in a bowl on the table… I thought, if they get this, then they get the book, it was a risk that had to be taken. And then they came back a few weeks later and we had a book deal, so it was amazing. Apparently things don’t normally work that quickly, so they must have seen something in it worth going ahead with. It’s really hard to tell how easy it was, I think I’m quite a hard working person, I guess I don’t show that with my nonchalant tweets and stuff, but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make things happen.

So what inspires your hatred? What’s been your inspiration for the hate mail?

Most of it’s just trying to be funny, lots of people think that I’m really dark, I don’t mean dark skinned [he laughs], people think I’ve got this ‘hatred’… I don’t have this hatred inside me that I need to express and get out. Really it’s just for fun, you know, it’s fucking funny to send a stranger a post card with “if you were a supermarket you’d be a Lidl”. It’s basically like any other illustration job where you’ve got to come up with creative ideas – it’s just another problem solving exercise. So you’re sitting there, you’ve got a blank post card in front of you, and you think ‘what can I say to someone that’s gonna’ really hurt them. Or how can you really put someone down. I think about it all the time, so I guess I became addicted to these things and so even when I’m not doing them I’m thinking about it and constantly emailing myself ideas for hate mail. The next person might get that one, and a lot of them are made them up on the spot. They can go from the simple, just the word ‘prick’ written in massive letters, cause I think, that’s funny because of how it looks, to something more complicated like ‘you are another generic drone wandering around waiting for the weekend’. And that’s more of a heart-felt one where I suppose that is more of my ‘inner thoughts’ where I walk around looking at people and thinking, ‘yeah you’re pathetic’. Some of that comes out in it…

If you could send some hate mail to anybody, who would it be, and what would you say?

[Pauses for a while, and says with a smile] Has to be, a guy called Martin Olley, who wrote a letter to a magazine in 2003 saying that he hated my work, so I’ve kind of had it in for him ever since, in a jokey way. I’ve put him in loads of bits of work and also like to slip the odd ‘FUCK MARTIN OLLEY’ slide into a talk. I don’t tell people what it means, I just leave it on the screen for a few seconds, just long enough to make feel awkward and slightly uncomfortable.

The response to your hate mail has been incredible, what do you think it is about hate mail that people find so appealing?

I guess the main thing is that it’s just funny, it’s different, and not many people do stuff like this. Life is quite boring for many people, I think, this book and this project is very silly, and people really need silliness in their lives. It’s like escapism, you know. I guess reading my book is like watching Hollyoaks Omnibus or X-Factor, you know, it’s just a stupid escape from the trappings of modern sad life.

You’re one of the more prolific and entertaining illustrators out there on twitter. What is it about twitter that you enjoy the most?

The thing I love about twitter is that perfect connection with people and strangers that you didn’t really have before, or would have had to made a lot of effort before to keep up. It’s so direct, people can just contact you so quickly, it’s so easy and so fluid as well. It’s really good for me, it’s perfect.

Like Hate Mail, that was born from a tweet?

Exactly, I couldn’t do any of this stuff without twitter, you know. Twitter’s created it, it sells it, cause it tells people there’s a book, it then tells people there’s a launch at Camden Brewery… Everything starts on twitter now basically, I need it to survive basically, and do the things I do.

Is there anything out there that you haven’t done yet that you’d love to do?

Um… I don’t know, I feel really lucky at the moment, I feel like I’m at the peak of my career or something. I’ve got a book published by Penguin, I’ve got my own beer with Camden Brewery… Everything seems to be going ok, I’m expecting to get run over now. I don’t really know, I just tend to take care of what’s going on each day, I couldn’t really give you an answer to that… I know that’s a bit annoying, but I almost feel like I’ve got everything at the moment, and I’m sure that in six months time I’ll be hungry for something else, and I’ll forget about this position I’m in now and I’ll be looking for the next thing…

I think the main thing I want to do, is to move away from being a commercial illustrator and move slightly more towards becoming an artist, which seems to be what’s happened naturally. By mistake. I find the best way to live is to not plan anything, because stuff just sort of happens, I feel like stuff is just meant to happen, if you just do what you want ‘follow your heart’ [Bingo says with a grin and a comedy voice] you know, if you just do what you really enjoy, things end up turning out, and people end up coming to you, and opportunities turn up. I don’t think there’s any end goal for me, just to be able to do the stuff I’m doing now, forever, and if it pays for me to live then that’s really cool.

So when can we get the book?

I’m doing a big book launch on October 25th at Camden Brewery, and it’s an open invite for anyone and everyone. So I want people to come along, bring their friends, family, whatever, and Byron Hamburgers are going to be there, my hate beer is going to be there. There’ll be a big stack of books where people can buy a book and get it signed with an individual insult. You can take the beer away as well. If you like the sound of that come along on October 25th!

*** Camden Hate Ale ***

Can you tell us about your beer? Camden Brewery were really interested in the book and were fans of my work, and said why don’t we sponsor your book launch, and do a beer with you? And I was like, that sounds amazing! I like their beers, and them as a company, a small newish, micro-brewery who are doing well, have a nice simple philosophy – no bull shit just this is what we are… So they said you can do your own beer, and I said I’ll only do my own beer with you if I can have complete control over the bottle-label and I can do whatever I like – they said ‘yep, we like your work, we respect it, so you do whatever you want and we’re not going to put any rules on it. So I was like great! I came up with a few ideas at first which I thought were a bit weak, we had a bit of a back-and-forth, and then suddenly it struck me one day that what we needed was something that what we needed was something completely like hate mail, because that’s the reason for the beer. So I thought the beer needs to be like a hate mail directed to Camden Brewery, on their own bottle, and then it ties in with the book and it’s like this perfect thing. So I sent them this email one night saying, I think this would be a good idea, it just depends if you’ve got the balls to do it or not, and sent them this rough of ‘Camden is full of cunts’.

I kind of expected them to come back and say ‘no, this is too stupid, at the end of the day we’re paying for this to be made, and you’re taking the piss too much’ and to my surprise they said ‘yep, let’s do it. This is perfect, this is exactly what is should be.’ And since then I have so much respect for them to do that. It shows how much they get it as a company, how much conviction they’ve got to push these ideas forward.

So I then spent quite a few days working on the bottle, I took their original bottle design and then re-drew everything by hand, changed every single word and logo and bit of type, expect their own logo, everything else is completely changed. It reminded me of when I used to be at school, or when I was like twelve, you used to get a letter sent to your parents and you’d change all the words… So like, instead of ‘you’re invited to a parents evening’ it would say ‘you’re invited to a cock evening’ or something like that. So it was just completely taking over the bottle and de-facing it. I basically hi-jacked the bottle of beer. I think it’s great, and it ties in with the launch as a funny, collectors item as well.


Unit Editions – Herb Lubalin

We post regularly about Unit Editions (the publishing collaboration between Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy) because we’re huge fans of their books. I’m so excited about their latest piece that I can’t wait until its out to post this (a review upon release will follow). The subject of the book is Herb Lubalin – one of the most loved, influential and renowned American graphic designers – who up till now has been poorly represented in print.

At close to 500 pages this hardback tome is not for the faint-hearted, but it surely deserves a spot on every studio / designers shelf (alongside Bass, RandDorfsmanGlaser).

Treat yourself – pre-order now and save yourself a tenner.

Roll on August!

This meticulously researched book offers a complete career overview of Lubalin, beginning with his early days as one of the original Mad Men in the New York advertising world of the 50s and 60s, and continuing into the years of his greatest achievements as one of the world’s most influential typographers and graphic designers.

Herb Lubalin American Graphic Designer 1918—81 Unit 07

Author: Adrian Shaughnessy Editors: Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy and Alexander Tochilovsky Design: Spin

Pages: 448 Size: 217x280mm Format: Hardback Cover: 3/4 paper wrap with foiled typography

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Good thing they went with a black woman, it would suck if people got offended.

flim on The International Flag of Planet Earth

Very nice work. Simple type with great photography – whats not to like?

S on StudioSmall — New Site

Quite like this. The images really bring the flag alive. Nice artworking ;)

petemandotnet on The International Flag of Planet Earth

Matt Willey’s TIMMONS NY font, as featured in the magazine, is now available to buy with all proceeds going to cancer charities supported by the BuyFontsSaveLives campaign:

Joe Graham on New York Times: The Walking Issue

It’s a lovely font – now with an extended family! Check out our use of Brezel for the Architecture and Design Centre in Stockholm:

oscar liedgren on Milieu Grotesque: Brezel Grotesk

Beautiful illustrations that wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery.

petemandotnet on Riccardo Guasco: Nastro Azzurro Peroni