By Nick Mansley, Monday 18 December 2017
If you’re still searching for a truly special gift for a print devotee, then look no further – you’ve come to the right place.
John Baskerville Art & Industry of the Enlightenment
Good for Type devotees
John Baskerville changed the course of type design and in the process raised his home town of Birmingham to the apex of the typographic world. This new book, published just last month, sets out to reassess many aspects of this inventor, entrepreneur and artist through an interdisciplinary approach. It charts a contribution to the arts, industry, culture and society of the Enlightenment that has been overlooked for too long, according to the editors, and looks at Baskerville’s work as an industrialist, the networks which sustained him and the reception of his printing in Britain and overseas, his experiments with casting and setting type, his improvements to press design, paper manufacturing and ink formulations.
Etaoin shrdlu t-shirt
Monotype Series No. 406 Gill Shadow No. 1 sample
Good for Linotype enthusiasts
Metal Type is a website set up – and recently revamped – by former Linotype operator David Hughes. It features a huge amount of content surrounding letterpress technology and the wider world of print such as videos, advice, reference and instruction documents, anecdotes and an active forum. There are a range of print- and letterpress-themed products available for purchase, including framed type samples from the original Monotype catalogue, and the usual selection of hats, aprons, t-shirts, mugs, etc, branded with logos, images and of course ‘Etaoin shrdlu’.
Futura: The Typeface
Good for Futura-ists
The Futura typeface celebrated its 90th birthday this year and Futura: The Typeface, a “stunning examination of one of the most popular typefaces ever created”, has been published in homage. Inspired by simple geometric forms, designer Paul Renner created Futura in 1927 as a clean-lined, modern take on classical typefaces and it was immediately popular. The book traces the face’s story from its Bauhaus origins through to its appearance on the moon, for the text of a plaque to mark the first landing in 1969. Futura: The Typeface is written by Petra Eisele, professor of design history and design theory at the University of Mainz, Annette Ludwig, director of the Gutenberg Museum, and Isabel Naegele, professor of typography at the University of Mainz.
Good for Social media mavens
HP’s pocket-sized photo printer is intended to let you print photos anywhere from your smartphone or tablet via an app and has been optimised for social media. This tiny printer outputs 2x3in images as normal prints or as stickers and can incorporate frames, text and, if you can bear it, emojis. The device connects via Bluetooth or, with an adaptor, wi-fi, weighs around 170g and is charged with a USB cable. It doesn’t need ink cartridges as it uses HP’s special Zink (or zero ink) substrates, which have “colour-forming molecules” embedded in the paper and activated by heat. This isn’t going to beat the output from your HP PageWide or DesignJet, but it’s a fun way to share ‘real’ photos quickly.
Postcard from the Past
Good for Nostalgics
Tom Jackson takes the old postcards he finds and posts pictures of them on Twitter together with extracts from their text that express the full gamut of emotion experienced by the Briton on holiday, from intense boredom through to quiet determination and, occasionally, sheer delight. At the last count Tom had attracted something over 51,600 followers on Twitter and has now collated these forgotten musings in a book described by one reader as a “deadpan miscellany of wan nostalgia, profound melancholy, stoic humour and inexplicable dread”.
Price from £124.99
Good for On-the-go creatives
This digital memo pad from Wacom enables you to write or draw your notes and ideas naturally with a pen on any paper and then convert them to digital files at the push of a button. They can then be stored, edited or shared as you see fit. It’s ideal for on-the-go note-takers and idea creators – whether it’s the business traveller that needs a professional notepad to capture and organise meeting notes and ideas; students that jot down and pack their notes from class to study sessions to home; or teachers that need to record and protect their valuable lesson plans. Also included is 5GB of storage and Wacom’s Inkspace app, which operates on IOS or Android Bluetooth-enabled devices, so you can sync your notes in the cloud and access anywhere at any time. Available in A4 and A5 formats.
Mindlessness colouring book
Good for Irreverent colourists
Mindfulness is, like, so last year, yeah? 2018 will be all about mindlessness. This colouring book, brought to you by the subtle and sophisticated team behind the Modern Toss cartoons, invites you to explore a world of “easily distracted people indulging their mental urges with no concern for real world consequences”. If you know someone who’s likely to walk down the street staring dimly into the screen of their smartphone, oblivious to all else, this is just the thing for them.
Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde
Good for Movie-mad graphic designers
Taschen has published a new edition of Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde celebrating the stunning and innovative graphic design of the early Soviet era. The book showcases 250 posters from designers including constructivist sculptors and set designers the Stenberg brothers, architect-turned-poster designer Mikhail Dlugach and the artist, photographer and graphic designer Alexander Rodchenko. Most of the designs featured were created in the mid 1920s – a time when cinema was still a new art form and some of Russia’s most prominent artists were employed to create adverts promoting the release of domestic and international productions.
Good for 1930s movie idols
Ideal for any Noel Coward aficionado you happen to know or just for a chap who likes to cut a dash in the bathroom, this 100% twill silk dressing gown is unlined and lightweight, yet warm for year-round suaveness. Pair it with a shirt, tie and your best David Niven impersonation for “comfortable elegance at home”. The gown has a traditional shawl collar with a breast pocket, and hip pockets on either side. Rifle cuffs and a sash belt in plain silk complete the look. If it’s not already apparent, it’s unabashedly British, which might help you ignore the wince-inducing price tag: designed by Geoff Stocker, printed by RA Smart in Macclesfield and made by Fabrika in London.
Price from £80
Good for Travel-bugs
For the dedicated globetrotter in your life looking to immortalise their recent ramblings in print, Wandermap creates bespoke maps of the country or region visited with locations of particular interest picked out. Each map is a one-off and screen-printed in two colours using water-based inks.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Illustrated Edition
Good for ‘Magizoologists’
This new edition of Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been beautifully illustrated by Greenaway Medal shortlisted Olivia Lomenech Gill in full colour. It also includes new profiles of six magnificent beasts that inhabit North America and a new foreword by JK Rowling, writing as Newt Scamander. It features an extraordinary array of magical creatures, from Acromantula to Yeti via 10 different breeds of dragon. “Famed Magizoologist Newt Scamander’s years of adventure and exploration have yielded a work of unparalleled importance, admired by scholars, devoured by young witches and wizards, and even made available to Muggles in the early years of this century. With this dazzling illustrated edition, readers can explore the magical fauna of five continents from the comfort of their own armchairs,” states the publisher.
Price from £139
Good for Languorous loungers
Design a bespoke onesie for that special someone. Perhaps decorate it with photos of yourself. Okay, that might be a bit weird. Photos of the kids? Is that less weird? Anyway, you’re limited only by your imagination. Check out the design process on the website to see how your onesie can be something truly unique, each one printed and sewn to order. These onesies feature a zip closure and “lots of fine detail within a relaxed stylish fit optimised for comfort in sweatshirt fabric”. You could then wrap it in some personalised paper from the same website, with prices starting from £6.
I Wonder What I’m Thinking About?
Good for Anyone, really
Moose Allain is an artist and prolific Tweeter who’s work exploits clever word play, charming cartoonery and the occasional Venn diagram. I Wonder What I’m Thinking About? brings together the best of his work and includes short stories, riddles, puns, cartoons, essays, to-do lists and “to-don’t lists” to explore his slightly off-kilter world. There are a limited number of handsome signed, special cloth-bound first editions still available.
Good for Art lovers
Artist Sam Groom uses a mixture of wood cuts, screen, lino-cut and hand-made stamps to create her artworks. This archival print is part of an edition of 80 and is from an original ‘one-off’ wood-cut and silkscreen print, with additional lino-cut printed details. She says: “This is one of three variations on the theme of taking a dog for a walk and this particular print is in shades of lighter green with a hint of yellow underneath and a darker grey green on top. Other details including the tree are a raw umber and black-brown in colour.” It is printed on high-quality archival 315gsm paper with Epsom Ultrachrome inks and is 420x300m in size (A3).
Your Custom Printed Skateboard
Good for Totally rad dudes
Your Custom Printed Skateboard is part of a print business based in Northamptonshire and owned by skate fanatics. The company supplies skateboard decks and will customise them with your own design as one-offs or in short runs (max 10). So if you know a ‘chairman of the board’ who needs to recover their youth – and are confident of their taste in boards – this would be an ideal gift. The boards are constructed from US-grown maple and printed at 1,440dpi with UV-cured ink. There’s also a trade operation, skateboardprinting.co.uk, for those looking for longer runs (minimum of 50).
The Brunswick Prison Camp Map Printers
Good for Hand press fans, cartographers, historians
This book tells the remarkable story of a group of Allied POWs held at a prison camp in Brunswick, Germany, during the Second World War who improvised a printing press to create escape maps. Philip Radcliffe-Evans was born in Liverpool in 1917 and studied at the London School of Printing. In 1939 he enlisted in the army and was captured in North Africa. After an accidental bombing of the Brunswick camp by US forces, he realised he could use the tiles from the damaged shower block as lithographic plates, and that a printing press could be constructed for printing escape maps. The book is available in two editions: a hand-printed letterpress edition printed at Juniper Press in Liverpool, which features a dark green cover with four full-colour map inserts. This was a limited run of 150 that went on sale in the spring, but there are some copies still available. There is also a facsimile printed edition of 300, which has a red cover and maps in black and white.