The faces of Excelsior Days


It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for classic cafes – our CEO has collected some of Glasgow’s finest – and The Excelsior on Cowley Road in Oxford stands as a model of the greasy spoon institution. Photographer Kirk Ellingham was a regular visitor for two years, stopping in to document the cafe’s familiar faces. When The Excelsior closed last year, he decided to print his photographs in a 40-page digital tabloid homage, Excelsior Days, using the cafe menu as a cover and the price list as the back page.



Excelsior Days is part documentary and part journal, candid portraits alongside observations and overheard conversations – a monochrome capsule of a particular, somewhat gloomy, time and place. The newspaper is dedicated to a waiter named Kosta, who first gave Kirk permission to photograph The Excelsior.



Kirk put up a guerrilla exhibition of his work shortly after the closure, plastering sheets from his newspaper on the facade of the shuttered cafe. A few days later, he reports, most of the pages had been taken down – a fleeting tribute soon gone the way of the The Excelsior itself.

But there’s hope yet: Excelsior Days is for sale in The Newsagent for £8.50.

The art of translation with Peirene Press

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Peirene was a Greek nymph who, as the myth goes, morphed into a spring and provided a stream of inspiration for the thirsty poets of Corinth. She’s the Muse-in-residence at Peirene Press, a rare gem of a publishing house and likewise a source of literary inspiration.

They publish only three titles a year and under exceptional specifications: each book must be under 200 pages long and be translated for the first time into English. The Times Literary Supplement describes their editions as ‘two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film.’

Since 2012 they’ve supplemented their beautiful paperbacks with a classic tabloid publication. They’ve just printed their third issue, featuring interviews with film makers and authors, extracts of forthcoming books, and insight into the art of translation. Editor Clara Ministral tells us more:

Peirene is much more than a publisher. We are committed to spreading the passion for translated fiction in the English-speaking world (and its notoriously Anglocentric literary landscape) and to create a cohesive community of readers and booklovers. That’s why we run regular events where readers and writers can meet, such as supper clubs, literary salons, book clubs and pop-up stalls at outdoor markets and other unusual locations, and also why we publish our free literary newspaper.

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The first issue of the annual Peirene newspaper was published in 2012 and it was not much more than a catalogue of our books. Two editions later, it has gone on to become a beautifully designed and carefully edited 32-page publication about foreign fiction featuring articles, interviews, book extracts, details about our titles and events, and interesting insights into the world of literature and translation and the inner workings of a small publishing house.

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The newspaper is sent to bookshops, libraries, book bloggers and reviewers, Peirene readers and subscribers and many others, but most of the print run is distributed outside London Underground stations twice a month during the rush hour. We want to reach a wide audience and make foreign literature part of the everyday lives of London commuters, so come rain or shine, two Peirene Ladies stand outside tube stations on Monday mornings and make sure that people receive an unusual and thought-provoking read to accompany them on their journey to work!

If you missed the rush hour handouts, the latest issue of the Peirene newspaper is available online. Happy reading!

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on The art of translation with Peirene Press

Filed under: case studies, classic tabloid

Which Mushroom is This?


It’s risky business handling mushrooms, but you can safely examine deadly Amanita phalloides in the pages of Justus Gelberg‘s digital tabloid publication. Like amateur foragers, we were drawn to his mushroom illustrations without understanding their purpose (the text is all in German). It turns out the paper is exactly what it looks like, a field guide to fungus identification. Justus is a student at HFG Offenbach and created the newspaper for a book design project. He tells us more:

 Silberlöffel & Zwiebel was conceived as part of a seminar by Professor Sascha Lobe on book redesign. The book Welcher Pilz ist das? (Which Mushroom is This?) was used as the basis for my design project.


This nature guide presents mushrooms from the whole of Europe and describes the criteria with which their species can accurately be determined; one receives detailed knowledge directly from the pictures. The basis book shows each mushroom species with a text, photos or illustrations in various formats.


The realisation of my redesign is concentrated on the category of poisonous mushrooms, which especially fascinate me. I replaced the photos with sketch-like illustrations, but retained the texts of the basis book which concerned themselves with poisonous mushrooms, their categorization and description, and their symptoms.


To contrast with typical nature guides, I chose the atypical format of 375 x 520 mm to demonstrate the aesthetic quality and beauty of poisonous mushrooms.


The decision to print the nature-guide on newspaper was also atypical. The paper and low grammage dissolve the classical book character and transportable nature characteristic of nature-guides. Typographically I decided to use the clear and simple typography “Maison Neue.”

Newspaper field guides may be slightly impractical, but such clean and bold illustration looks wonderful on newsprint. A publication for the armchair mushroom hunter, then. Thanks for printing with us, Justus!

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Which Mushroom is This?

Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration

A visit to The Printing Museum in Houston, Texas


Texas has a peculiar place in the history of print. Since the 1950s, over a million coin-operated newspaper racks (including distinctively television-like USA Today dispensers) have been manufactured by Kaspar Wire Works in the town of Shiner. Today printmaking thrives in Texas so it’s unsurprising that one of the largest print museums in the United States is in Houston. The Printing Museum was founded in 1979, and houses a collection of beautiful machines and documents charting the history of printmaking from papyrus to Xerox.



I visited the museum recently, where I met longtime artist-in-residence Charles Criner. He showed me how to operate their remarkable facsimile of a Gutenberg Press and let me turn the lever on a 19th-century iron handpress to produce a sheet of the United States Constitution. He fired up a grand, whirring offset press to demonstrate how freshly-printed newspapers would fall onto the creaking wooden racks. I got to tap on a linotype keyboard and feed iron slugs into the machine. It was brilliant.


Mr. Criner showed me through to his workshop and we chatted about his lithography work. Here he is with a favorite print of chicken farmer, a looming figure from his childhood in Athens, Texas. (His mother warned that the farmer would barbecue him if he got too close.)


A huge sweep of printing experience in the space of a couple hours. The Printing Museum is a very special place should you find yourself in the Bayou City.


For more printing museums, have a look through our ever-growing collection on Pinterest.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on A visit to The Printing Museum in Houston, Texas

Filed under: field trip, museum, Newspaper Stories, team

Behold the Shattered Dogs


Sorry canine lovers, but Behold the Shattered Dogs isn’t really about dogs. The collaboration between illustrator Bill Rebholz and writer Elberto Mueller, based out of Minneapolis and Oakland respectively, is rather a collection of offbeat poetry touching on subjects from homesickness to lost love to stolen sushi. Elberto’s poems are paired with Bill’s imaginative drawings and the result is a wonderfully synergetic digital tabloid zine. So how’d it come about? Bill says:

Both of us enjoy aimless doodling, and Elberto would always share his writing with me, so eventually we kind of put it together that we should collaborate on something together. The drawings were definitely informed by the poems, some of them reflecting subject matter in the poems, and some slightly abstracted from any real meaning.​






Three cheers for aimless doodling! Bill still has a few copies of the zine left for sale on his website, so snap them up while you can. You can also follow the excellent adventures of Bill and Elberto on Instagram.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Behold the Shattered Dogs

Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration, poetry, zines

Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine

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We printed a prismatic classic tabloid  programme for the third annual Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine. The festival, which brings together chefs, authors, gardeners, wine experts, and educators to celebrate culinary writing, is taking place the weekend of May 15 – 17 at a rather idyllic farm in County Cork.

The programme is being distributed around the food scene in Ireland and parts of the UK. You can also explore the programme online. There’s a great line-up of guests like Alice Waters and David Leibowitz. (If you can’t get over to the festival, the Chez Panisse almond tart is a good consolation project.)

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine

Filed under: case studies, classic tabloid, events, food

Yeah! Furniture

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Hailing from Los Angeles, YEAH! Furniture crafts mid-century inspired pieces with California vibes. They’ve just launched a new collection and called on the design team at Project M Plus for the branding, which includes a very stylish classic tabloid catalogue. Drawing on Matisse-style organic cut-outs and the California desert landscape, they came up with a playful and artful newsprint look book to represent the collection. YEAH! Furniture is currently hosting a pop-up shop with a gang of other LA-based creatives and you can pick up a copy of the newspaper there this weekend. Thanks for printing with us!

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Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Yeah! Furniture

Filed under: branding, case studies, classic tabloid

Nazim Hikmet: The Tree With Blue Eyes


In the much earlier days of Newspaper Club we wrote about the joy of being ‘exposed to some of this stuff‘ – to the uncommon and interesting things that we put onto newsprint. The phrase came to mind recently when we were exposed to the relatively obscure Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet through The Tree with Blue Eyes. Hikmet’s work was a lovely discovery, and we have Ozan Karakoç to thank for bringing it to light. He compiled a 24-page digital broadsheet of Hikmet’s poetry and shares the inspiration behind his publication:

Nazim Hikmet has always been a true inspiration for me. His life story, his ideas, his humanity, and his incredibly realistic and touching poems.

He loved his country more than anyone else but he was called ‘the traitor’ because he criticised the government for the risk of losing economic independence. They judged him, they arrested him and he lived more than 12 years of his life in prison, only because of his thoughts and poems.


In such a desperate situation, what would I do if I were him? My answer to that question would be a very sad story. He, however, chose to live as if nothing happened and life was going on. ‘However and wherever we are, we must live as if we will never die,’ he writes in one of his most inspirational poems ‘On Living’.


He loved this life so much that he also wrote in the same poem:

‘This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …
You must grieve for this right now
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say ‘I lived’ …’

Grieving for the fact that the earth will grow cold millions of years later… This is true inspiration.


This is the very reason why I chose to dedicate something I create, to his respectful memory. And I wanted to introduce him and his work to people who don’t know him and that’s why I made the newspaper in English.

It’s a rare and beautiful project. Thank you for sharing it with us, Ozan!

You can learn more about Nazim Hikmet at

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Filed under: case studies, digital broadsheet, exposed to some of this stuff, poetry

New life for old newspapers


Photo from Nifty Thrifty Things

We tend to end up with a good deal of spare newsprint and have been thinking about how to repurpose it. Pinterest came to the rescue and we’ve added a board with some creatives ideas for recycling newspaper. If you have some old dailies piling up, why not try your hand at this clever woven basket? (Or if you’re feeling more ambition, how about a newsprint dress?)

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on New life for old newspapers

Filed under: newspaper crafts, Newspaper Stories, Pinterest

Bright Old Things for Selfridges

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William Forbes Hamilton used to demonstrate magic tricks in the Toy Department at Selfridges in the 1950s before turning into a horror movie villain in such films as ‘Doctor Blood’s Coffin’. Now he’s a painter and back at Selfridges – at least back in a profile from their new publication, Bright Old Things, which celebrates the discovery of creative outlets later in life.

William is one of fourteen Bright Old Things featured in the classic tabloid newspaper printed by Selfridges earlier this year (there’s also an architect turned topiarist and product designer turned sci fi blogger).

It’s a lovely and uplifting project, featuring photography and illustrated interviews from Todd Selby. Here’s what Selfridges has to say:

Since 2011 Selfridges’ Bright Young Things has championed young creative talent, but this year the tables turned.


Bright Old Things is Selfridges’ celebration of the retirement renaissance. Those inspirational individuals who have created a new vocation for themselves in later life. The men and women who show that creativity is ageless.


To support this store-wide scheme, and to tell the stories of the older creatives featured in Selfridges’ world-famous windows, the team chose to work with us to create a Bright Old Things newspaper featuring amazing photography by renowned photographer, author and illustrator Todd Selby alongside insightful interviews with each of the 14 Bright Old Things.

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From ‘70s fashion editor-turned-artist Molly Parkin to legendary punk hero Bruno Wizard, each interview gives an inspirational insight into the wide possibilities that are open to us in our later years.

You can learn more about all of the Bright Old Things and follow #BrightOldThings for updates.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Bright Old Things for Selfridges

Filed under: art, case studies, classic tabloid, photography

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