Category Books

Ai Weiwei Returns with TASCHEN Monograph and Brooklyn Exhibition

Weiwei-BookMuseum- 1

2014 brings forth two reminders that Ai Weiwei hasn’t disappeared… Yet. Working in collaboration with esteemed publishers, TASCHEN, Weiwei has put together the first comprehensive monograph of his life’s work. The release is a testament to Ai’s legacy as an artist and activist. When you’re done browsing the book, you can see his work in person at the Brooklyn Museum, which is host to Ai Weiwei: According to What? that marks the last leg of the artist’s wildly successful show.

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Eye-Catching Books Covers by Books We Made

Books We Made

Munich based duo Stephanie and Tom Ising design book covers for a living and I must say that they do a rather excellent job at it. Working under the name Books We Made, the pair have worked on book covers of all shapes and sizes, often bringing bold typographic choices and restrained colours to their designs. I reckon that a browse through their portfolio is well worth your time.

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Simona Ciraolo’s Children’s Book About Food Looks Delicious

Simona Ciraolo - Afternoons in the Kitchen

Afternoons in the Kitchen is the name of a picture book by Italian illustrator and author Simona Ciraolo. Created as part of a recent Master’s project at Cambridge in London, Simona says that the book is designed to “nurture a healthy appetite for the pleasure of eating good food”. Looking at her illustrations I’m pretty certain that it works a treat!

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Japanese Poster Artists: Cherry Blossom and Asceticism


Having grown up in Switzerland, those that know me are no stranger to my fondness of the country. Those that know me also know of my relentless affection towards Japan—a nation I often refer to as “the Switzerland of Asia.” This is the 150th year of diplomatic relations between the two nations. Surprised? I’m certain everyone is. What’s actually thrilling about this is that to celebrate, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich has organized an exhibition, Japanese Poster Artists: Cherry Blossom and Asceticism, showcasing the stellar exemplars of renown Japanese graphic design. The exhibit is reflected in an accompanying book, Japan  Nippon, which marks the 26th release of the Lars Müller Publishing’s poster collections.

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The Morgan Museum’s ‘The Little Prince: A New York Story’


Once upon a time, somewhere on this very planet, a simple, yet utterly accurate secret was revealed from one fox to a tiny visiting prince of another world:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Whoever would have thought that it would take a talking fox within a children’s tale to so simply sum up the human condition? This fox, of course, belongs to none other than Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous French tour de force, The Little Prince. The Morgan Library and Museum of New York City has turned Saint-Exupéry’s beloved tale, and the stories behind it, into an exhibit, The Little Prince: A New York Story. If you’re like me, and often gaze at the stars, perhaps wondering if a particular sheep has eaten a certain rose, then you’re sure to enjoy this exhibit as I have (oh-so-very-much).

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Sagmeister’s ‘Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far’ Gets an Updated Release


Work in a creative industry? Then chances are you’ve seen Stefan Sagmeister’s Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far kicking around the office. Sagmeister has managed to establish himself as one of contemporary design’s household names, and his book, a bible of sorts to the design-orientated. If you’re not familiar with Sagmeister, Things I have Learned, or modern design, then there’s no better time to grab Abrams Books’ updated release, which contains everything the book is famous for, and then some.

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Mark Nixon takes poignant photos of childhood stuffed animals


We all had a teddybear. No? Then surely a rabbit or monkey, or perhaps some other stuffed animal you squeezed with loving delight? Mark Nixon, an Irish photographer, set about photographing a series of stuffed animals in his new book, Much Loved. An extremely endearing project that’s twofold charming, its universal appeal lies in Nixon’s ability to capture a notion that anybody and everybody can identify with: childhood.

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Jamie Keenan creates a masterful cover for ‘The Metamorphosis’

The Metamorphosis - Book cover design by James Keenan

When I saw this cover for The Metamorphosis, I gasped. Designed by Jamie Keenan for WW Norton, he took a 16th century Italian typeface and subtly transformed it, giving it a creepy beetle vibe. To me it’s the details of this piece that really make it incredible. First, the layout is brilliant, with the M making the head, the way the T and the O really center the piece, and the balance of the SIS at the bottom really finishes it off perfectly. It’s simplicity at it’s finest.

You can read and see more on Creative Review by clicking here.

‘The Curious Explorer’s Guide to Exotic Animals’ by Marc Martin

'The Curious Explorer's Guide to Exotic Animals' by Marc Martin

When it comes to modern animal illustration it’s hard not to riff off the work of Charlie Harper. His stylizing of flora and fauna defined a style that few have been able to best. But then I saw the work of Melbourne based Marc Martin and thought to myself, “Well, that’s certainly a unique take on wild animals.” — unique meaning awesome.

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Anthony Burrill’s “I Like It. What Is It?” Is A Book You’ll Tear Through (and Apart)


Graphic artist, print-maker, and designer, Anthony Burrill, is famous for his persuasive form of communication. His most renowned works (plus a couple new ones) have been collected together and, as of last week, published within a book, I Like It. What Is It? Not just any ol’ordinary hardback, this is meant to be read, and then torn apart and hung on your wall. It’s a fun project, but also reminds us to the current state (and possible future) of design publication.

“Burrill is a great designer because he makes you notice and appreciate truths that would otherwise remain dead and inert. His work has such resonance because it’s so true: we should all work hard and be nice.”
—Alain de Botton

Very much like an author, Burrill is an artist who works with language. But, he has found a distinct voice through the presentation of his words. He prints ‘language’ into pieces of art, so one can read his work, but also visually admire it as well. His process of image making is born of tradition, largely employing hand-made methods (screen, press, woodblock, etc.).


It’s a craft he takes seriously, working hard to select the perfect inks and papers to print his projects onto. It’s a dedication that pays off, you can sense the diligence by simply standing in front of or holding one of his works. It’s an aspect of Burrill that I’ve always appreciated, I never fail to fill of tenacity when I gaze into the pieces hung on my wall. Famous for pieces like “Work Hard & Be Nice to People,” Burrill’s style is now a highly recognizable one, so much so that publishing a book featuring his work is a no-brainer.


Consisting of 30 pieces (and sticker sets), the book is a tight little bundle, oozing aesthetic. Each design is printed on 355 x 279 mm stock, giving the book some weight and a sturdy feel. The backside of every design reveals the story behind the work. Flip through looking at cool project after cool project and learn a little something a long the way too. Not bad.


As if that’s not enough already, each piece is removable. Awesome. The book is wrapped in a manner that they’re easily detachable, the intent being you can read this book, but also use it too, affixing the works to wherever your liking.



In this month’s Creative Review, Mark Sinclair writes about the move of graphic design publications from traditional book formats to “products.” Paper-based creations, gifts, and new formats are appearing on shelves where books sit. It’s flushing a lot of money back into publication, as publishers are discovering new and creative ways to bring life back into the market. I welcome it, as products such as Burrill’s new book are well-thought, well-executed, and an evolution. I Like It. What Is It? is a Laurence King publication and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Kudos to these folks for pushing the medium.



I’ve always wondered about the statements in Burrill’s work. They’re bold, they’re colorful, and often carry a lightness of touch and humor. But what exactly do they mean and where do they come from? Are these his beliefs? Quotes? Something has always urked me about not knowing the origin (and intent) of many of Burrill’s messages. I can rest easy knowing that my questions will be answered within this book. The tales on the backside of each page are written by Creative Review’s Patrick Burygone; there’s sure to be many creative insights and learnings to take away.


I Like It. What Is It? is available for a mere £19.95. A steal, if you ask me. I’ve ordered two, one for the shelf, one to tear apart and hang all over the damn place. To coincide with the release of the book, an exhibition at London’s KK Outlet will be running November 8th to the 30th. If you’re London based (or planning a trip soon), be sure to swing by and soak up the wonderful work of Anthony Burrill.