If you have visited Ohh Deer's online shop recently (or one of their bricks and mortar stores - a pleasure I have not yet had) then I am pretty sure you will agree they are on a bit of a creative roll at the moment! Their collaboration with Arden Rose created one of the best Papergang boxes and collections to date (read my unboxing post here) and their new Nina Cosford collection is equally as beautiful! I have been a fan of Nina’s work for a while and even interviewed her for Inkygoodness once so when I heard that she was collaborating with my favourite stationery brand I was more than a little excited. Ohh Deer debuted Nina’s collection in February’s Papergang box. Sadly I missed it as I was away traveling but very happily, Ohh Deer sent me a selection of the notebooks from the collection to blog about!
Each quirky cactus, luscious leaf, colourful bird and charming house in Nina’s Summer-inspired designs is so adorable that you will which you could have it on everything in your life and the good news is you pretty much can as not only have Nina’s designs been applied to a range of notebooks but also to greetings cards, wrapping paper, stickers, iron-on patches and even a cushion.
During my interview with Nina, I learnt lots about her including all about the creative process behind her books and her obsession with Monster Munch. Most intriguing of all the way she uses sketchbooks:
"I think my style would be very different if it wasn't for maintaining my manic habit of scribbling things down. My sketchbooks also help me to translate things I come across and explore my own angle on things. I like blurring the boundaries of explorative work with finished pieces as much as I can because the pressure of separating the two has always been something I have struggled with."
- Nina Cosford
I've noticed this deliberately unfinished quality in many of Nina’s projects but it seems most prominent in this latest collaboration. The designs on the notebook range feel incomplete in the best way possible. Each has carefree doodle shows a lack of perfectionism that's infectious and encourages you not to strive for big, ingenious, complete ideas but to just create and see what happens.
The whole collection features thrilling little design touches like the A5 quarterbound book’s embossed typography and playfully patterned endpapers and the thinner A4ish notebook’s gold staples. Perhaps only fellow stationery addicts will even notice these pleasing little touches but I believe this attention to detail has played a big part in Ohh Deer’s success as a brand. There more fashion focused products like the ridiculously on-trend tropical patch set that were also included in my wondrous package are equally well made and adorably designed.
My favourite item in the entire Nina Cosford range has to the the A4 cactus notebook. Half it’s pages are blank and half are lined which reminds me of the primary school jotters you would write and draw what you did at the weekend in, it has nice endpapers which make me feel fancy, it’s hardback which discourages me from ripping out imperfect drawings and (most importantly) it is covered in cacti I can’t kill! It’s nostalgic, sophisticated, sturdy and succulent-inspired - the definition of a modern stationery addicts dream if you ask me.
Ohh Deer are clearly massive fans of Nina Cosford's work and not just that which she created specifically for them as they recently started stocking her latest book too. Based on Nina's own experiences as a 21st century female, My Name Is Girl takes the reader on a journey through the "hazardous territory that is the girl brain"...
"Join me on my daily struggles as I teeter on the fine line between being a girl and a woman, whilst trying to figure out who the hell I am in the process. From observing who I am on the surface to exploring the different types of girls I could be, to entering a crash course on how to be a better girl; this is my angle on the assault course of life as a girl."
- Nina Cosford
I think it is safe to say that I am not quite the target audience for this type of title, mostly because I am not a girl. This kind of made me hesitant to review it at first but once I thought about it properly I realised that there was no sense in not sharing my thoughts on a book I loved just because it maybe wasn't created with me in mind. Plus, there are plenty of sections in the book I can definitely relate to - the parts on weird dreams and procrastination in particular - and those which I couldn't actually made all the more interesting to me because of that fact.
Nina's always-on-point illustration style also helps make any subject accessible. Whether she is is recalling the traumatic experience of getting ready for a modern night-out or conjuring up her dream girl gang from throughout history, there is always heaps of style and an element of humour involved in everything she creates. To be honest, even if the subject matter wasn't something I could even understand and I ended up not reading a single word, I think I would have still enjoyed the book for the visuals alone. I already have 6 of Nina's other books on my book shelf and this latest title makes a stunning addition to my collection.
I have always had brilliant experiences working with both Nina and the team at Ohh Deer (Nina once sent me a book just so I had the full set and the Ohh Deer team are all good eggs) so it thrills me that they are all doing so well! It is nice when nice people collaborate with nice brands and create nice things. This has already turned into a bit of a beast of a blog post so I will leave it there for today. All that is left to say is congratulations to Nina and Ohh Deer for creating such beautiful things, I can't wait to see what you all do next!
You can shop the Nina Cosford collection here