Reading: A Burglar’s Guide to the City

I’ve been a fan of Geoff Manaugh’s BLDGBLOG for a years – his intelligent look at the world from a very particular architectural perspective makes it one of those blogs that leaves you feeling a little bit smarter after every visit. His post Nakatomi Space , which reappraises Die Hard as one of the all time great films about architecture, radically altered the way I read films and buildings.

That piece pops up again in A Burglar’s Guide to the City, Manaugh's entertaining and insightful exploration of how city and crime are shaped by one another. It’s filled with anecdotes from both sides of the law and across history. There's the 19th century architect and socialite who was at one time responsible for 80 percent of all bank robberies in the US; the burglar who lived inside a Toys R Us for months, setting up his own surveillance network using baby monitors; the inventor who developed a material so sturdy and impenetrable that his panic rooms may well be the last architectural structures left standing long after the collapse of civilisation.

It’s an absolutely cracking read, and well worth dipping your nose into even if your aren’t planning any heists in the foreseeable future – although by the end of it you may well be tempted.

Personal project: The Face Redux


NME RIP. It was a slow, painful death, but it’s still left a great void in British pop journalism. Which seems like as good an excuse as any to relaunch The Face, right? But not your grandma's The Face; a different kind of magazine to the original, but retaining the same core pop ethos. Quarterly, thick, high production values, passionate writing about pop, not fighting the tide of the web. And NOT nostalgic. So no dragging back the old writers to relive the good old days; get some new voices out there (consider this a very optimistic job application). Structurally, the Little White Lies model would work well. One big fat interview with the cover star – guess who my suggestion for the first issue would be – followed by lots of tangentially related stories, offering the sort of depth you don't get online.

You never know, it could happen. 

New work: James Joyce


A particularly fun element of last year's Wolpe Collection launch was the opportunity to redesign some classic Faber & Faber jackets using the new versions of Berthold Wolpe’s typefaces. I spent way too long mulling over whether or not this one needed an eyepatch over the O, but in the end I just let the Albertus Nova curly bracket do all the work. 

New work: The Wolpe Collection

One of my favourite projects from last year: art directing the launch of Monotype’s revived typeface family The Wolpe Collection, working alongside type designer Toshi Omagari and writer Michael Evamy. As well as various bits and pieces of marketing material, the launch involved an exhibition of Berthold Wolpe’s work at the Type Archive. Check out the video below for a nice overview of the show.


New work: No Surface All Feeling


This year’s Secret 7” design, for Manic Street Preachers’ No Surface All Feeling. Just a little something to help raise money for Mind. Plus it’s rather liberating designing without text for a change – generally not something art directors are too keen on.

Yuschav Arly

Loving the playful geometric portraits of Indonesian artist Yuschav Arly. Brace yourself for a whole lot of teal. There’s something very appealing about constraining one’s work to a very particular palette – an approach common among a lot of my favourite artists and illustrators. 

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M. Monroe #8


Marilyn Monroe hairdress test for Let's Make Love, 1960. Although it’s just a functional image, I love the surreal composition of this. I think I may prefer all of the photography surrounding Monroe’s films – especially the many candid shots of her reading – than the films themselves.