More nice publications

Our latest round up of very nice books that have landed on our desks includes self-published brand books, a type reference book, a couple of magazines, an artist monograph, the latest from Nobrow, and a hugely impressive new graphic novel by Craig Thompson…

Following this week’s Man Booker Prize news (congratulations to Julian Barnes), I thought I’d post up another round up of very nice books that have landed on my desk in the last week or so. It’s a mixed bag that includes self-published brand books, a type reference book, a couple of magazines, an artist monograph, the latest from Nobrow, and a hugely impressive new graphic novel by Craig Thompson…

Now then, any avid cyclist worth their salt in London (and probably beyond) will know of Condor bikes. The company, which began life as a bike shop on London’s Gray’s Inn Road back in 1948, has just produced and self published a 148 page book, entitled Past Present Future (£14.99). Condor worked on the project with Andrew and Philip Diprose who cyclists will also know because of their work on The Ride Journal (Philip is the editor, and Andrew the art director).

Past Present Future celebrates Condor’s heritage and is full of engaging interviews – with Condor founder Monty Young and his son, Grant – and also anecdotes by riders and shop staff – anecdotes that include such illustrious names as Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, both fans of the brand. Oh, and there are some beautiful bikes shown in the book, new and old, along with a multitude of behind-the-scenes features looking at manufacturing and design processes.

More info at

Craig Thompson, who won critical acclaim for his 2003 graphic novel, Blankets, has just published his latest work, Habibi, through Faber & Faber (£20). At around 670 pages it’s quite the hefty tome. I haven’t read it (yet) but looking through the pages is a real treat – it’s beautifully drawn and must be the fruit of months if not years of work. Thompson designed the book cover too.

Find Habibi at

We featured Brad Downey and his own particular brand of street art back in our July issue 2004 when he was in London doing an MA at the Slade and working with fellow American artist Darius. Since then he has developed his own practice, but rather than creating works in a studio to install in the street (as he was when I met him back in 2004) he now works, as a general rule, far more spontaneously, re-arranging found objects and street furniture to create his artwork. If you see a bench atop a bus shelter, or a group of bollards piled on top of each other to form a kind of totem pole, chances are you’ve just missed Downey in the act of creation.

Downey has worked in cities all over the world in this way and this new book, Brad Downey, Spontaneous Sculptures (Gestalten, £23) collects photographs of dozens of his installations and artworks. Whether you regard his work as a nuisance, or a moment of entertainment in an otherwise routine walk through an urban environment, it is undoubtedly provocative. Here are some spreads from the book:


Hat-Trick Design created this small but thick 924 page tome, entitled In Brief, to commemorate much of their work created in the last ten years.

“It’s been really interesting exercise choosing our favourite projects from the last ten years,” says Hat-trick’s Jim Sutherland of the project. “We worked out we’d done just over 1,000 projects in that time. Nick Asbury wrote the text for the book under a brief of writing the fewest words possible to accompany each project. A lot of design companies seem to have a lot to say, but we don’t really have a manifesto, we just get excited about the projects that come in.”

Here’s a film showing someone looking at each page in the book:

Owner and designer of fashion label Rika, Ulrika Lundgren also produces her own fashion magazine. Issue 5 has just hoved into view and it’s beautifully art directed by Jacob Wildschioedtz, with contributors including photographers Annemarieke Van Drimmellen, Max Snow, Hichael Hemy and Helena Christensen. There are also interviews with director Floria Sigismondi, model Lily Cole, and artists Nuha Raik and Luke Waller.

Another magazine that’s caught our eye this week is the latest issue of Cape Town artist and designer Peet Pienaar’s ongoing magazine project, The President. Always taking a completely different form to its last iteration, the latest issue is called Cape Town Menu, The 167 Best Dishes – and its publication was timed to coincide with Cape Town’s TOffie Food Festival at the beginning of last month.

The issue looks to celebrate the very best of Cape Town’s food culture. There are features, tours, and dozens of lists pointing you in the direction of tasty food, whether you want to track down a hotdog in Cape Town or “bunny chow with chicken curry” this is the perfect guide. The various editorial pieces are interspersed with full bleed double-page-spread images of food dropped on floors in restaurants, markets and in the street. Why? Because, Pienaar says “the best pizza always lands on the floor.”

Type Navigator, The Independent Foundries Handbook (Gestalten, £45) is a beautifully designed (by TwoPoints.Net) reference book for graphic designers which lists the very best independent type foundries in alphabetical order.

From A2 Type through to Jonathan Barnbrook’s Virus foundry and beyond, the book contains the editors’ (TwoPoints.Net along with Jan Middendorp) selection of the best digital foundries, showcasing their wares alongside design projects created using them.

This book is a must for any budding graphic designer’s shelf – especially as it comes with a disc of dozens of complimentary fonts from foundries such as ARS Type, Fontsmith, HVD Fonts, LucasFonts, Neutura, Playtype, VetteLetters and Volcano Type.

And so to the last book in a sizeable pile: Quodlibet by writer Sebastian Gievert and illustrator Katja Spitzer (Nobrow,  £15). The 60 page hardback book was originally created as illustrator Spitzer’s final graduate project whilst at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and is an illustrated encyclopedia of words beginning with the letter Q. It covers Queen’s of England, the gadget man in James Bond films, the capital of Ecquador, a Chinese unicorn, an Australian marsupial, and much more.

Find Quodlibet at The first 500 books ordered will be packaged with a free A2 poster.

CR in Print


Thanks for reading the CR Blog but if you’re not also reading the magazine in print, you’re really missing out. Our October issue includes the story of Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet, a profile of Jake Barton whose studio is currently working on the 9/11 Memorial Museum, plus pieces on branding and the art world, guerilla advertising coming of age, Google’s Android logo, Ars Electronica, adland and the riots, and loads more.


And, if you subscribe to CR, you also receive our award-winning Monograph booklet every month for free.


If you would like to buy this issue and are based in the UK, you can search for your nearest stockist here. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.


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