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Ditto Press London

The independent publisher and printer opens up shop with a bevy of books, photographs, risographs and more

by Cajsa Carlson in Design on 29 August 2014

Books, Ditto Press, Gallery, Independent, London, Risograph, Stores, Subcultures

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Next to the Regent’s Canal in the pretty but comparatively sleepy De Beauvoir area in London, sandwiched in between Haggerston, Shoreditch and Islington, risograph print studio and publishing house Ditto Press has just opened its doors to the public. The studio, which was founded by Ben Freeman and Lynsey Atkin, is now run by Freeman and has greatly evolved since its beginnings in 2009. Today, Ditto Press manages all kinds of print production projects and consists of a shop, gallery, design studio and print studio.

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In the light, spacious gallery and store, visitors can peruse a wide selection of Ditto’s prints, as well as books published by the studio and others. Among them is “Pigs’ Disco,” Stuart Griffiths’ documentary photography book and memoir about joining the Belfast Parachute Regiment in the early '90s and becoming involved with the rave scene. Freeman says it’s the book Ditto is most proud to have published. “The print, photography, editing, writing and design all work together and it's a really coherent and substantial book. We worked on it with Stuart for years to get it just right,” he explains.

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Originally released in 1986 and mainly designed for high-volume photocopying and printing, the risograph method became increasingly popular when Ditto Press began using it as a springboard for its publishing ventures when the company started. “When we started Ditto, if you Googled risograph print, you could only find one or two images of examples of the print process. Now there are millions. It became a very fashionable, fetishized process. Our aim has always been to make it another print option, like screen-printing, offset, etc, and we think it has become that.” He points to “the fact that it's a bit glitchy and has a very human character, unlike digital print processes” as one of the advantages of risograph printing.

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The popularity of Ditto’s work is evident—the studio will release at least five new Ditto books in the next 12 months. Among them is one about Slayer fans by Sanna Charles called “God Listens To Slayer,” and a book about printed material from skinhead culture that is “looking at the scene from every angle.” Freeman adds, “Publishing is at the core of what we do, whether it's helping people to realize their projects or initiating projects of our own." Expect to see a lot more interesting work, both in publishing and printing, coming from them very soon.

Images courtesy of Cajsa Lykke Carlson for Cool Hunting

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Socially Conscious Snow Leopard Vodka

A new luxury spirit that donates a percentage of its proceeds to conservation

by David Graver in Food + Drink on 28 August 2014

Alcohol, Distillation, Poland, Snow Leopards, Spirits, Vodka, Animal Conservation, Endangered Species

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For consumers who don't have time to try all of the many different vodkas on the market, it's tough to know the liquor's true nuances and build brand allegiance. With the newly released Snow Leopard Vodka, however, there's an added value to every purchase: conservation.

The high-end spirit is distilled and handcrafted in small batches in Poland's Polmos Lublin, using fertilizer and pesticide-free spelt (rather than wheat or rye), which happens to make for a unique and solid vodka offering. It's a smooth sip with a viscous mouthfeel—a little creamy with a longer, lingering finish. With this in mind, it's a reliable cocktail vodka that also holds up when sipped neat. That fine taste, coupled with the fact that founder Stephen Sparrow is active in snow leopard conservation (it's estimated that there are fewer than 3,500 snow leopards left in the wild) and 15% of all proceeds go directly to the Snow Leopard Trust are good determining factors in selecting a vodka when you're looking for something that's both thoughtful and new.

Snow Leopard Vodka is available online for $40, and is presently rolling out in markets across the US right now.

Images by Cool Hunting

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Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India

Photographer Dan Eckstein traverses the subcontinent's vast highways, documenting elaborate lorries and their drivers

by Hans Aschim in Culture on 28 August 2014

Art Direction, Books, Cars, India, Photography, Photography Books, Signs, Trucks, Typography

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From the mountainous city of Leh in the north to the palm tree-lined tourist-haven of Goa in the south, India is a vast nation of rich diversity—whether it's landscape, language, food or even automobiles. The country's intricate and ever-growing network of highways is the stage for some of the most elaborately designed and eye-catching trucks in the world. To document the phenomenon, photographer Dan Eckstein recently travelled throughout the country, shooting these bright, bold and beautiful machines. The resulting hardcover tome published by Brooklyn's powerHouse Books "Horn Please" represents a melange of folk art, Indo-psych aesthetic and vulnerable humanity.

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The book's title is a nod to a phrase commonly heard and read on India's motorways. It's written on the back of nearly every truck in the country. Because drivers are often away from home for weeks at a time, the trucks are a great source of pride and attention to detail—both inside and out—is staggering. Interiorly speaking, the trucks serve as both a home and place of worship. With India's religious diversity in mind, Eckstein portrays a society more united than divided. While the intricate patterns and vivid colors are inspiring from a design perspective, portraits of the drivers are equally captivating. Eckstein manages to communicate both the allure of the open road and the loneliness that comes with it.

Peruse the slideshow for a few standout shots from the book. "Horn Please" hits bookstores in December and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon for $35.

Images by Cool Hunting

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