Archive for the 'Publications' Category

Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 07-10 December 2015

Term 1 | Session 2015/16

1st Year Department of Communication Design

London Study Trip

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Image / Steven Gribben, Yr1 ComDes

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A long time ago (only week 12 of Term 1) there was once a poor group of Year 1 Communication Design students from The Glasgow School of Art. They lived in a little village known as Glasgow. They often heard stories about a far away place called London where everybody was rich and the streets were paved with gold. Then came a great storm but the students were determined to go there and dig up some cool practitioners to share thoughts and inspiration. When they reached the big city, they found their own accommodation, navigated hundreds of people on the underground, arrived at all visits on time and asked relevant and insightful questions.

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Here is the list of noble practitioners who entertained us /

Tuesday 08 December

VISIT 10.00am

SCRIBERIA

35 Tileyard Studios, Tileyard Road, London N7 9AH

http://www.scriberia.co.uk/

U Caledonian Road

Contact / Giulia Vaccari

t 020 7278 7976

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Big thanks to the Scriberia team who have a unique offering of visual communication, illustration and animation. Kamilla wrote the following piece /

Blood, Sweat and Tea(rs)- offers the neon sign above Scriberia’s kitchen area cheerfully-
There is a certain welcoming and inspiring, yet very busy atmosphere at Scriberia, permeating the whole illustration studio as we step in from outside, placing our jackets (all soaked up with rain) on the sofa. Scribellings and sketches on the walls, freshly served tea on the table, bookshelves packed up with all kinds of illustrated publications – all these – enthralling for our “young delegation” of ComDes students.

After the first attempts to get back to Earth from this ecstatic visual state, we are then invited to a round-table discussion about the company and the role of being an illustrator nowadays.
Chris shows us some of their recent projects, tells us the company’s creative approach, and gives us some advice on future illustration work while we listen to him mesmerised.

The discussion is cheerful, the studio is well-equipped and with this joyful first impression of a “bit of creative London” we are then heading off in high spirits, bearing the secret thought in mind that it would be indeed very nice to work in an inspiring environment like this.

Kamilla Hu-Yang, Yr1 ComDes

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Wednesday 09 December

VISIT 10.30am

Fran Gordon

The Royal College of Art

Dyson Building

1 Hester Road

Battersea

SW11 4AN

frangordon@hotmail.co.uk

frangordon.co.uk

U South Kensington and a lovely walk

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Fran gave the students a tour of the impressive printmaking facilities in the Dyson Building (very shiny and new). She has started the first of two years at the RCA and is loving the freedom to make images. The course is full on and she is loving the new challenges that come with being completely self motivated. Fran was kind enough to show the students some of her sketch books which were considered and quietly powerful. Very interested to see how her work develops when she travels to Canada in 2016. Thanks Fran.

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VISIT 2.30pm

FUEL Design & Publishing

33 Fournier Street, London E1 6QE

http://fuel-design.com/

U Aldgate East

Contact / Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell

t 020 7377 2697

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Fantastic studio in the historic quarter of Spitalfields (just off Brick Lane). Stephen and Damon were chatting away with the students when I arrived (took a wrong turning). Gilbert and George opposite and Tracey Emin just along the road. FUEL were founded in 1991 and are famous for their work in print (see Russian Criminal Tattoo series). They have also produced and directed short films, identities, film titles and TV commercials (see Levis twisted to fit). Great insight into a working process that relies on discussion (very few scribbles) – it has to sound right before they commit to visuals. Working with Tracey Emin presented its own challenges in that she does not like the design to detract from her work – design elements have to complement in a clean and understated way. Engaging, humble at times, generous and warm.

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Thursday 10 December

VISIT 10.30am

HEART Illustration Agency

Top Floor, 100 De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN

http://www.heartagency.com/

U Dalston Kingsland

Contact / Darrel Rees

t 020 7254 5558

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An illustrious list of names on the door buzzer raised the anticipation for this visit. Up a flight of stairs to an open plan loft studio including Eye Magazine and a number of notable creatives. Darrel met us at the top of the stairs and chatted to us at a large table in the middle of the studio. A lovely space with just the right amount of activity going on in the background to create a murmur, not a distraction. Valuable knowledge from the professional world of illustration – where commissions come from, how to put together a portfolio that resonates, how to keep busy when the phone doesn’t ring, managing workflow and the advantages of having an agent. I like the way Heart operates like an extended family with social events organised to bring all the illustrators on their books together to chat and share. Darrel has the overview, ensuring cohesion between illustrator and client. The printed samples provided were a mixture of promotional pieces and publications – The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge being a beautifully printed example (look out for other examples of Beat produced by Heart Illustration Agency). Darrel sent me an email a few days after the visit — “Hi  Michael, Just wanted to say it was a pleasure to meet you (again) and your very nice bunch of students. I really hope the visit was of some interest/help to them, even if it’s just seeing inspiring work.”

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VISIT 4.00pm

FITZROY & FINN

Studio 1, Albion Buildings, 1 Back Hill, London EC1R 5HT

met at Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL

http://www.fitzroyandfinn.co.uk/

U Farringdon

Contacts / Paul Finn and Alistair Hall

t 020 7833 4110

An outstanding hour of chat (starting off in the Betsey Trottwood) with Paul Finn (of Fitzroy & Finn) and Alistair Hall (of We Made This Ltd) then moving across the road to their bijou studio. They share the space with David Pearson the absurdly talented book designer who was out on business unfortunately (David designed the audacious Penguin cover for Nineteen Eighty-Four, you know the one? — the title is cleverly redacted). As I glanced around the studio I could see D&AD annuals (hot off the press), other classic Penguin Books, design guidelines for the BBC website, A Practice For Everyday Life‘s “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy”, a book about Brazilian concrete poets — all lovely stuff. It turned into a quality double act with Paul and Alistair trading stories about their work and philosophy. The best bit was a 5min, 4min, 3min, 2min, 1min countdown of their greatest hits described in a brilliant non-stop duologue. Heartening to see that with a bit of passion and skill, small can still be beautiful.

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See the Yr1 typographic safari HERE

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Google Vol. 1

A volume containing the entire dictionary represented by the first image result returned by Google images for each word. Review by Daniel Bennewith Gray.

Editorial Bang

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The following article, by Rick Poyner, may be of interest to anyone doing the ‘editorial’ brief in graphics at the moment.

“Bang’s startlingly unorthodox art direction raises questions about why mainstream women’s magazines look as they do, and about the manipulative view of their readers that these doggedly persistent publishing and design conventions so readily enshrine.”

Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 08-11 December 2014

Tuesday 09 December

VISIT 10.30am

HAT-TRICK DESIGN

93 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BX

http://www.hat-trickdesign.co.uk/

U Borough

Contact / Alex Swatridge  alex@hat-trickdesign.co.uk

t 020 7620 0272

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Within easy walking distance from Borough – a mixture of large and small scale projects – Royal Mail stamps for the Olympic Games versus hoardings for big property developers – print examples on the glass board room table to peruse – exaggerated book format for Centre Point – 60s inspired textures and patterns beautifully printed – architectural images from Paul Grundy – clean sleek studio – small team of one director (Gareth Howat, co-founder) and five designers – they like to keep themselves busy and currently have 45 projects in progress – a selection of lovely print samples and awards placed around the boardroom – they have been very successful in ‘tickling’ our minds

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VISIT 12.30pm

REPRESENT

1st Floor, 5 Back Hill, London EC1R 5EN

http://www.represent.uk.com/

U Chancery Lane

Contact / Mike Radcliffe  mike@represent.uk.com

t 020 7278 7272

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Much talked about agent with excellent portfolio advice for students – shop front leads into neat office with receptionist, gallery space and funky seating area (we all squashed in) – pared back PDF presentation with top tips — try and build up a number of internships for the experience (it will be hard as some companies do not pay students on work placements) – this will help build a rapport and a chemistry – “keep your portfolio simple” – “be proud of what you do” – be well presented, polite and on time if you have an interview – Mike noted that attitude is more important than skill level (things have moved on from five years ago) – try to develop your people skills (warmer skills) – avoid the wet kipper handshake – Mike is open and engaging – he is keen to make links with The School of Art – nice cup of tea

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VISIT 12.30pm

NEW FUTURE GRAPHIC

54-58 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PH

http://www.newfuturegraphic.co.uk/

U London Bridge

Contact / Gareth White  gareth@newfuturegraphic.co.uk

t 020 7403 0417

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New Future Graphic: a vibrant meeting room and studio space, we were greeted by Gareth White and his energetic studio dog who gave us lots of advice and honest insight into their growing business. The studio grew from the early days producing all the illustration in-house to now commissioning photography and illustration for the project (currently they are the worldwide creative agency for Clarks shoes). They also collaborate with clients and suppliers to bring new products to the market (by bringing together a printer and tailor) which challenges their role as designer and client. There were also lots of practical tips for students and graduates (use mail chimp to monitor your own self promotion) and valuable lessons learned along the way (assumption is the mother of fuckumption). All delivered effortlessly while multi-tasking playing fetch with the dog. Lovely. — Emma Keogh

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VISIT 4.00pm

PENTAGRAM

11 Needham Road, London W11 2RP

http://www.pentagram.com/work/#/all/all/newest/

U Notting Hill

Contact / Rhian Edwards and Angus Hyland  edwards@pentagram.com

t 020 7229 3477

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We were welcomed into the big meeting space to the left of reception – I wonder who has sat around this table since 1972? – Angus presented his “show and tell” PDF that he had shared with the other Pentagram partners that week – hushed cathedral atmosphere – the presentation was chatty and engaging – content included branding work for Mulberry, ambitious new publishing project ‘Monarchs’ for Penguin (this included the options rejected by the client – all lovely) – crafted typography, carefully commissioned illustration (including Marion Deuchars etc.) and crisp gold foil blocking – he also showed some of his own geometric compositions used as backgrounds for Cass Art packaging (Glasgow shop is located on Queen Street) – when asked about the difference between American and UK design (“Le Style Anglais”), Angus suggested it was more about attitude (look at the work of New York partner Paula Scher for comparison) – when speaking at The School of Art recently, Paula said “fake your way through something three times, you become an expert”

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Wednesday 10 December

VISIT 10.00am

BRAND UNION

6 Brewhouse Yard, London EC1V 4DG

http://www.brandunion.com/

U Barbican

Contact / Clare Styles  Clare.Styles@brandunion.com

t 020 7559 7000

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Clare met us in reception and was super friendly (I detected a hint of a north of England accent) – amazing contemporary offices – selection of 2000 era songs floating across large open plan studio (was that “A Song For The Lovers” Richard Ashcroft?) – lively, young, vibrant – lots of ‘break out’ booths with meetings going on – floor space is divided into five teams with Clare heading up one of them – confident and relaxed presentation in mezzanine meeting area – she took us through their Euro 2020 pitch which had been unsuccessful – daunting to think that her team worked solidly for around two weeks in addition to the fee paying work to produce three slick solutions – the cutting room floor often gives you the best insight into the level of creativity – despite losing the pitch, Clare was satisfied with the quality of the thinking and the attitude behind the work – a great studio for a first work placement – big thanks to our friend Lynne Devine for setting up the visit – wow!

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VISIT 12.45pm

STUDIO FERNANDO GUTIÉRREZ

107 Great Western Studios, 65 Alfred Road, London W2 5EU

http://www.fernandogutierrez.co.uk/

U Royal Oak

Contacts / Fernando Gutiérrez  fg@fernandogutierrez.co.uk  and Michael Gibb

t 020 3214 3277

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An exciting ‘hub’ juxtaposed under a motorway flyover (in a good way) – GSA graduate Michael Gibb met us at the front door and led us through a collection of busy studios – lots of activity and a happy buzz about the atrium – this looks like a good place to work – Fernando greeted us and guided us through a selection of images – some were philosophical, some were metaphors and then backed them up with highlights from his portfolio – it was a masterful presentation giving us insight into his passion for research and simple ideas that communicate – his work for the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid combines clever picture research with touches of classical and contemporary typography – Michael is a natural at Studio Gutiérrez, overseeing budgets and coordinating work with a range of international clients – great stuff!

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VISIT 4.00pm

HELLICAR & LEWIS

Studio 1.8, 1–5 Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

http://www.hellicarandlewis.com/

U Bethnal Green

Contact / Peter Hellicar  pete@hellicarandlewis.com

t 020 8983 3829

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Compact studio in the increasingly fashionable Bethnal Green (not far from A Practice for Everyday Life) – Joel and Pete greeted us and then took us on a journey of the things they have done, the things they would like to do and the things that inspire – what a double act – they dance around each other offering insight with attitude – two unconventional paths synthesised – Joel has a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Imperial and then went to the RCA – Pete was riding skateboards for 25 years – GSA alumni Kieran Startup was doing his thing in the background – was that an elegant piece of interactive type on his Mac? – Pete showed us ‘stuff’ that he had made in the past and highlighted the value of drawing as a tangible way to express ideas – he showed us a book on rock music photography from the 60s and 70s emphasising the quality and creativity of pre digital images – hey, these guys love the play between analogue and digital – best thing to ask a client, “what did I do wrong?” – there is no lack of enthusiasm here, big thanks.

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Of Interest

Submissions

Com Des person and current RCA student Oona Brown is starting a new publication. It is open for submissions. Like a printed Wunderkammer.

Urge

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I haven’t urged anyone to do anything in a while, so I urge you to read New Practice – an urgent, (in the political sense), final-year project by Thom Swann, a student at Kingston University.

Open!

One of my favourite journals – Open! – which recently ceased in its print form due to funding cuts by the Dutch government, has only gone and reimagined itself in amazing website form.

Forming/Storming/Performing

(9) Forming/Storming/Performing - Glasgow -

Forming/Storming/Performing is a challenge, an exploration and a party.
Over one evening a publication will be created, from content and layout to printing and binding, by a small group of creative collaborators.

The title, format and print run will be determined on the night, using the theme of creative process as a starting point.

Saturday, October 5, 2013, 5:00pm until 8:00pm, The Pipe Factory.

via Forming/Storming/Performing.

Issue 1: Beijing

Concrete Flux 流泥 is a multi-media, multi-disciplinary online journal, (edited by Solveig Suess, Vis-com-des person), which takes as its subject matter China’s hyper-fast emerging urban spaces, their meaning and one’s everyday experiences of them. They believe that a new configuration of space through urbanisation will lead to a new configuration of society. Their aim, then, is to contribute to some understanding of or gain insight into what these spaces, which seem to emerge faster than our minds can log and assess, may mean. Issue 1: Beijing is now live.

ARC CAR RAC RCA

Two completely unrelated things i’ve just looked at on the internet; ARC – Journal of the Royal College of Art (they have a new website) and donottouch.org

New journalistic low for the ol’ blog.

Bank at GSA

John Beagles gives an interesting talk on BANK – an artists collective which used print, publishing and some of the cruder techniques of graphic design (and advertising) to subvert the art world and creative capital. I particularly remember them for a excellent headline mentioning ‘Nicholas Stoat-ghoster’ (lampooning Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, as a paranormally-fixated detector of the ghosts of stoats, or something like that, at least that’s how I remember it).

Event³

In my new role as self-appointed events organiser I feel that I should take this opportunity to advertise some upcoming events.

Firstly, Myself and Lydia Brownlee are having a ‘partial book launch’ in Aye-Aye books at the CCA this friday, at 6pm.

Secondly, I’m doing something midway between Djing and holding a record sale at The Art School Union this Saturday, 8 – 12.

And finally, comrade Kieran Startup and myself are hosting a table tennis tournament, incorporating the first iteration of a live projection installation that we’ve been working on, at Good Press in Mono on Thursday the 2nd of May at 8pm.

That is all.

TBTB* (or Hyper/Links)

*TBTB or ‘Too Busy To Blog’ is a symptom of modern life whereby sufferers experience a chronic build-up of hyperlinks that can only be dealt with by a long, disjointed and dissociative blog-post. The following are all reference points and links that have come up through, or as a result of, studio discussions over the last term or so. The approach borrows a little from the excellent things.

We begin with objects that are ‘alive‘. Pipilotti Rist. The Form of the Book, Book. Facebook’s social graph and the exploitation of ‘weak-links‘, (and an amazing resource of freely available critical writing on the subject). Danah Boyds early, but influential essay on myspace, facebook and class divisions. If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product“, which echoes something Serra said. Unlike Us?

Elsewhere in the world, a dataset speaks a thousand words, and we can (thanks to Paula Scher) track the deterioration of a blog comment thread.

To architecture, the power of the manifesto, and the politics (to be viewed with the utmost criticality) of ‘progress’. Ant Farms, ‘fake’ villages (and more); Clip/Stamp/Fold, and the Fountainhead in 5 seconds.

Live surfaces, media surfaces. Augmented reality (think ‘clinic brief‘). Reality reality (think ‘everything else‘). Razzle Dazzle, and the New Aesthetic. Pixel Sorting for Dummies.

No-brow culture (E4?) and cutting through the clutter. A brand is nothing, wanting to be everything. Unexpected Creativity.

A long way from heterotopia? The anti-library, and Benjamin, unpacking. Perspectives on reading. Information Landscapes (of 1994). The Library of Babel. Unreliable narrators. Authentic translation.

Meanwhile, ballet meets synchronised swimming, or fashion? And movement, underwater. (‘Gorgeous’ say CraveOnline, Sally worked on this’ say gsavis.com/blog)

Laika, Neutral, UniversTypeface as programme (my machines). Printing as process, (and just-in-the-nick-of-time). The computational and generative, meets InDesign. Calligraphic lettering. And this article by Robin Kinross offers some interesting insights about the work of Wim Crouwel.

An Open School might look a bit like this.

Finding Reason

Maybe streamlining is the last thing a zine-maker should be thinking about? via Anonymous-Press – Streamlining the process of zine making.

Forthcoming: Scott King + Edwin Pickstone

Image: MARXIST DISCO CANCELLED(2011) Letterpress print, 70 x 50 cm / Scott King

The next Feral Studio talk is on Thursday 24.01 at 6.15pm in the Mackintosh Lecture theatre. (Free) tickets here.

It features Scott King + Edwin Pickstone. There will be a one-day workshop with Scott on Friday 25.01 – info on that making its way out to you via that transcendental portal that is the VLE, very shortly.

Image: MARXIST DISCO CANCELLED(2011) Letterpress print, 70 x 50 cm / Scott King

Loose Associations

In the run up to Christmas, because I’d been exceptionally good last year and worked very hard at graphic design, when I came across a copy of ‘Did You Kiss the Foot that Kicked You?‘ – a project by Ruth Ewan – I bought it for myself. The publication consists of a book designed by Will Holder (who is quite simply a very very good designer and artist), and a 10″ red vinyl of 8 interpretations of the ‘Ballad of Accounting‘ – a song, popularised by Ewan MacColl (who wrote it) and Peggy Seeger with a great title that is at first glance an unusual and odd coupling, and at second glance forces you to re-think the word ‘accounting’ in its broadest context.

As a Christmas present, I also received a copy of 33 Revolutions per Minute, a fantastically well researched and well written book by Dorian Lynskey, charting the history of the protest song. In the book there are many mentions of Peggy and Peggy’s brother Pete Seeger, who along with Alan Lomax and Woody Guthrie (1) could be said to constitute a central part of American folk music (and by association many of the political and social issues) of the 20th century. (There are also several references to Greil Marcus in the book, who coincidentally is also quoted on the reverse of Hal Fosters ‘Design and Crime‘ which is a key reference text in one of this terms forthcoming projects. Fascinating).

You can read about all aspects of Ruth Ewan’s project here, but in common with the Ballad of Accounting itself, I particularly like the reflective questioning nature of the title. The song itself is structured around a barage of questions (of which ‘Did you kiss the Foot …’ is one), seemingly directed by the singers at themselves as much as anything, and as such, might be considered to be a bit ‘meta’. It also reminded me, for some reason that’s now unclear to me, of the inquiry-led learning advocated by Neil Postman (and Charles Weingartner) in Teaching as a Subversive Activity – which, while fairly bombastic in style, and a product of its time (the early 1970’s), contains some highly pertinent observations and thoughts on learning and teaching.

At the outset of this post I had a sense that this would all come a full circle, and join up with where we started. But it hasn’t.

1. Full-time GSA staff Doppelgänger and part-time singer/songwriter Billy Bragg, in a collaboration with Wilco, recorded a number of Guthrie’s unfinished songs in the Mermaid Avenue series of recordings. One of Bragg’s earliest songs, A New England, was recorded and released by Kirsty MacColl, daughter of the aforementioned Ewan. Compelling!

Attention! Criticism and its Distractions

This article on Rhizome.org, and the accompanying audio discussion, may be interesting. I don’t know, I simply haven’t had time to read or listen to it. It may well relate to a lot of the other stuff we have about ‘attention‘. Possibly.

Slide Shows

Slide Shows is an interesting idea, and delightfully quiet. I’m interested in the thing that Stuart Bailey touched on in his talk earlier this year, about the relationship between performance and practise, and think there’s something interesting happening in terms of how we present work/ourselves, and our design personas (and our ideas of ‘activity’ and ‘productiveness’). These slideshows certainly seem to me to embody some ideas of ‘hybrid’ forms, and what technology might allow/provoke.

Good Stuff Good Press

GoodPress are 1 year old, and to celebrate there are some fantastic events on in the shop and gallery.

Running currently is;

Tuesday 2nd October 2012 – Tuesday 9th October 2012
FLICKING GLASS SNAILS by Rob Churm

And next is;

Thursday 11th October 2012 – Sunday 11th November 2012
THE FAMILY SHOW II
Its our first birthday, its a group show of over 20 international artists, its all original works available to buy for £30, its TOTAL JERKS playing live, ITS FREE, its check the full listing to your left!

Beyond Interesting

I can’t remember if I’ve previously flagged up the brilliant things magazine. It is beyond the usual internet interesting.