Stuff is Ffuts Spelled Backward

Books are music for the eyes. I love to listen to the crinkling pages of a nice thick volume, like this one above. If for no other reason, publishing a book with a book mark ribbon is simply divine. These three 784 page books are a series created by the Manchester, UK, designers, Music, is a collection of stuff they (and we) love , like the Moka espresso pot. Now, it may be a bit precious, but making books is a passion (and we’re told a dying art) that should be encouraged.

I asked Craig Oldham, one of the principal Music-ians, about this example of designer as entrepreneur:

What triggered this book?
The book was born of necessity. As a new studio with no work to show people, peers, or potential clients that we even existed we needed something to present to people to announce that we were in fact a business. And as with setting up a business, certain questions are inevitably asked—Who are we? What type work do we want to do? And who would we like to do it for? And it was this self-interrogation that prompted and formed the book: we know who we are, we know the things that get us going, what we like, enjoy and love. And we want to work with like-minded people who share our joys.

Is there a title? I can’t find it?
The title of the tome creates a bit of ambiguity. Officially, the book is known as Stuff We Really Like, but we’re open to people calling it what they will, be it The Music Book, The Book By Music, Because The World Is Round It Turns Me On Book, or The Music Book With The Beatles Lyric.

More and more designers are investing in and publishing their own projects. What did it set you back?
The Book was produced in a limited edition run, and being a small studio of seven people at the time, the cost of the book was a bit of a calculated risk. But with all new business tools, there’s no right way to do that stuff, as opportunities come at all different times, whether the person receiving the book has a job to dish out at that very moment is never the case.

We weren’t phased by the somewhat saturation of design monographs, as we knew ours was different. A lot of designers’ books (not necessarily all) seem to be a little over zealous in showing their own work, and typically designing it like a designer would (design for designers, I guess) whereas we embraced the somewhat un-designed quality of our book, and paid attention to the most interesting thing in their—the stuff we really like (the content). Doing this, we feel, separates our book from other designers books.

What are your criteria for inclusion?
It has to be stuff that you like. Really like. . . Oh, and nothing can go in twice.

Are you happy?
I am. Are you?

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