The Pebbles on the Beach

We’ve just returned from three glorious days of seaside frolicking at Boggle Hole in Robin Hood’s Bay. Within moments of arriving, I dawned on me that I’d made a huge mistake and neglected to buy Clarence Ellis’ rock-spotter’s guide The Pebbles on the Beach. Faber's beautiful new edition, designed by Alex Kirby and illustrated by Eleanor Crow, has a wonderful fold-out jacket for easy reference and would’ve really come in handy for imparting some geological wisdom to my boy.

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Personal project: Madame Bovary

Way over here on the furthest back of back-burners, I am very gradually working my way through David Bowie's list of 100 favourite books, redesigning the cover for each title. Here’s the latest, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. The picture is Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s 1870 painting A Woman Reading. I’ve posted/deleted this four times now. The problem with personal projects is that there’s no client to take it off my hands, so I end up tweaking and tweaking and tweaking and …

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.

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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.

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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. 


After a bit of a hiatus (and a kick up the bum from Do Open, David Hieatt's inspirational book on the art of the newsletter), my mailing list – aka Meanwhile – is once again finding its way into people's inboxes. For the uninitiated, it's a semi-occasional newsletter, a digest of fascinating/obscure design-related links from across the web. Positive, good, smile-making stuff only. And because your time is precious, it only takes about thirty seconds to read. 

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