London lists and Unit Live! - A FINE STUDIO

London lists and Unit Live!

Design

Listicles, don’cha just hate them? With their “18 Mismatched Celebrity Couples”, “10 ways to lose weight while eating twice your body weight” and “9 Cats That Were President of the United States” – they are a frown-inducing area of the internet.

However, even an urbane, sophisticated individual like myself cannot resist a headline like 20 awesome and often unexpected places to find design inspiration in London. Being a ghastly know-all, and a recovering Londoner, I had heard of most of the places mentioned, but it did reveal a few surprise gems that piqued my interest.

So, last week, armed with a little bucket list made from the only listicle I’ve ever read (cough), and a ticket for that evening’s Unit Live! event at Logan Hall, I travelled to the capital for a graphic designers grand day out.

Leila's Shop, Shoreditch.

First on the list was Lelia’s Shop in E2 where I met my old photographer friend, George, for lunch. Lelia’s sits just on Arnold Circus, another place I’ve always wanted to see, and home to Britain’s first council estate. George and I walked off our lunch, marvelling at it’s unique architecture, before he returned to work shooting £5000 surfboards for the Financial Times.

Crossing Shoreditch High Street onto Rivington Street, I came across the next item to be ticked off my list, the sublime Artworks Bookshop. This was worth the trip alone – many of the specialist, dedicated design bookshops in the West End that I used to visit in the 90s are now long gone, with only Magma and the design section in Foyles and Waterstones reminders of those halcyon days. But this was just like going back in time, with shelves shining with the best design books and magazines. Fighting the urge to buy everything in the shop, I settled for one book only, Glyph: A Visual Exploration of Punctuation Marks and Other Typographic Symbols by Shiro Nishimoto. This wasn’t my first purchase of the day though, as I’d bought a couple of members magazines from You Can Now, a few doors down from the Artworks Bookshop.

Artwords Bookshop, Shoreditch.

Leaving the electric unicyclists of Shoreditch behind, I tubed to Forbidden Planet to buy a belated birthday present for my fellow FINE partner, Rob, before having a quick drool in the aforementioned graphic design section of Foyles. By now, my list ticking was done, and I met up with top designer, fellow Path-mate, and all round gentleman, Dan Bull, and we headed off to Logan Hall for the highlight of the day, Unit Live!

tony

What an evening – Adrian Shaughnessy mc’ed the event, introducing Tony Brook who spoke of his brilliant design studio Spin, and previewed the next wave of titles from Unit Editions; Harry Pearce of Pentagram explaining his lifelong fascination with photographing curios and coincidences, and Lance Wyman amazing everyone with how he built a career based on taking chances and producing powerful communicative graphic design – including the now legendary identity for the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Afterwards, as each designer signed copies of their beautiful Unit Editions books, I managed to chat to Tony Brook (who I hadn’t spoken to for over 20 years) and also to Adrian Shaughnessy, another of my design heroes.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

PS. It turned out that I wasn’t the only designer there from Norwich, as I bumped into Darren Leader, who coincidently, knew Dan Bull. Small world.

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March 16, 2016