Article Archive

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    If you aren’t familiar with The Casual Optimist blog about publishing and book culture then it’s well worth checking out (I’ll wait). Anyway last week its anonymous author shared these amazing posters created by the leading German graphic designer Gunter Rambow for the S. Fischer Verlag publishing house back in the 1970s. What’s interesting is that some of them tiptoe right up to the edge of being gimmicky, but always stay the right side of the line thanks to Gunter’s unerring image-making brilliance. I really can’t get enough of these.

  2. Dadulist

    There’s something otherworldly about Dadu Shin’s illustrations. Miniature people wander about an overgrown fairy-tale forest, an avatar-like hand reaches out into a tie-dye galaxy, a man walks a lonely path over rocks which form the silhouette of a woman’s face.

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    I’m sure there are plenty of documentary photographers for whom going to Brazil to photograph the World Cup would be something of a dream, but as far as I’m concerned none of them even come close to the exceptional Jane Stockdale. After having her application to photograph the crowds watching the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow turned down three times, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and jumped on a plane to Brazil to shoot audiences there instead.

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    One day news might reach us of a Unit Editions publication that doesn’t knock our socks our socks off, but to paraphrase Gladiator “not yet…not yet.” Type Plus is the latest title from Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook’s imprint and it sets out “to investigate the practice of combining typography with images to increase effectiveness, potency and visual impact.”

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    Tomas Leach is a longtime friend of It’s Nice That, a terrifically-talented director and a man who’s brimming with interesting ideas. But it’s funny how much more you learn about someone when you hear them talk about the work that inspired them to do what they love. So it is with Tomas’ choice, Daniel Wolfe’s Blind Faith for Chase & Status. It’s a video that’s always worth revisiting, but particularly so after you’ve read why Tomas thinks it’s a “period masterpiece.”

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    When Gilles Peterson flew to Rio in January, he didn’t just gather a bunch of his Brazilian music heroes into one studio to make the album Brasil BAM BAM BAM. Oh no. He also made his first feature documentary.

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    There’s a day for for everything now; and last week we all celebrated World Emoji Day didn’t we? What do you mean you didn’t know? Seems pretty remiss of you if you don’t mind me saying. Anyway luckily the excellent folk over at Funny Or Die were much more on the ball than some people we won’t name and they marked the momentous occasion with a ridiculously silly blog of Rejected Emojis. With the help of Jesse Benjamin, Avery Monsen and Darryl Gudmundson, they compiled a Tumblr of offerings which ranged from the surreal to the sinister, the bizarre to the almost-could-be-true. That sad clown will haunt my dreams.

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    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

  9. Charlotte

    University of Brighton graduate Charlotte Bassett’s work is so carefully considered that if you saw it in an art gallery or publishing house, nobody would blink an eyelid. There’s nothing rash or impulsive about her design, which focusses primarily on “curation, interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing”; instead, she combines diverse elements and a thorough knowledge of her subjects in a measured, sensitive and effective manner to create lasting impact.

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    Three years ago Milan studio Leftloft were commissioned to help iconic Italian football club Inter Milan with a ticket sales push, but the relationship developed into something much more comprehensive. Here art director Francesco Cavalli tells us how they came to lead an extensive rebranding of the whole club, from a new crest and a bespoke serif typeface to an exhaustive style guide for use across print and digital.

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    If you watched any of this year’s World Cup you’ll most likely have noticed all the players strutting about in pairs of weightless neon boots. If, like me, you don’t really pay attention to that kind of thing, then you may not have known what they were. Luckily this stunning spot from ManvsMachine grabbed my attention for long enough to inform me that they were Nike’s latest Mercurial Superfly boot, capable of eviscerating a giant marble army of footballing warriors with their superhuman speed. But more important than my education in high-performance footwear was my appreciation of the phenomenal skill of Mike Alderson and his team at ManvsMachine whose ability to turn pure fiction into a believable, 3D-rendered reality is nothing short of breathtaking.

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    Colombian-born, Spanish-based photographer Manuel Vazquez was an economics student before he decided to make his living from image-making. A quick transfer to Spain, some courses at New York’s School of Visual Arts and a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures at Golsmiths later and he’s quite the photographic talent. The economy’s loss is photography’s gain. Now he shoots regularly for the likes of The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and The British Journal of Photography predominantly taking slick portraits.

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    Illustrator and longtime mate of ours Michael Willis is straying away from illustration and into something altogether more design-focussed. The elements at the heart of his images are the same; placing retro and contemporary influences side-by-side to create something so contemporary that it feels ahead of its time. He’s been working recently with Mood NYC, providing photographic manipulation and graphic treatment for their look book as well as helping create an overarching aesthetic for the brand, one which evades the recurring trends and repetitive styles that seem to permeate many designers’ portfolios.

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    The phrase “artistic intervention” has a chequered past, but we’re struggling to think of a more impressive example than Frank and Patrik Riklin’s BIGNIK. The ongoing project aims to build a huge picnic cloth by 2040, made up of 252,144 panels – one for every person in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

  15. Weekender-list

    Ladies and gentlemen of the world, today our fair isle (Great Britain) is experiencing a HEATWAVE. It’s the prime annual opportunity for us to embody every stereotype better nations have about us; that we drink too much beer (true), that we don’t wear enough clothes (also often true) and that we get burnt at the merest glimpse of the sun (see above.) Whether you’re joining us in partaking in all of the above over a slightly too competitive game of rounders and potentially a BBQ’d sausage, we wish you the best fun. If you’re sitting in a deck chair watching disapprovingly over us, we’re cool with that too. Either way, have THE BEST WEEKEND. Here’s some stuff we liek to get you started.

  16. Mix

    Last night It’s Nice That and INT Works had a party to celebrate our new studio. We had a keg, pastel-coloured cups and a whole load of old friends round and it was wicked kewl. The playlist we put together was an absolute banger, and we’ve edited it down today to give you a small slice of the music that makes us want to get drunk, dance, say inappropriate things and touch each other. Enjoy!

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    We’ve almost finished our selection of It’s Nice That Graduates 2014, and we’ve well and truly established that this year has produced some of the most talented and exciting creative talent to date. We had a selection of handpicked judges to help us select the entrants who most deserved to make it through to the final 15, and in corner of publishing are Lydia and Lucy from Accent Magazine, “a global celebration of lives lived outside the ordinary.” They kindly left us with a few nuggets of wisdom for new graduates to show what they were looking for.

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    Photographer Benedict Redgrove has made his name shooting extremes: the fastest cars, the biggest yachts, the largest buildings and the most expensive of everything. But earlier this year he took off into the Scottish Highlands to make a series of personal images that are a radical departure from what we’ve come to expect from him. Fallen Giants is a series exploring managed forests and the toppled trees that litter the landscape. They celebrate the natural world and offer an escape from the day-to-day struggle of modern life. But they also tell a very personal story for Benedict…

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    You don’t get much better than an award-winning National Geographic photographer, unless of course it’s one that spends most of his time underwater snapping away at enormous whales. Parts of this series make me want to cry, others make me want to jump for joy at the wonders of nature, but mostly they make me want to shit my pants with terror. Imagine being underwater, where man is not supposed to dwell, and being in the company of a prehistoric beast with a mouth as big as a 4×4, imagine how scared you’d be. One flip of its tail could probably shatter your legs. Anyway, the point here really is that one-time Photographer of the Year Brian Skerry is not only excellent at being brave in the presence of beasts, he’s also a superb photographer with composition skills and a knack of capturing wildlife with a flair that evokes raw emotion in you. Don’’t forget to check out his sharks series. If you dare.

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    Another week, another tidalwave of amazing stuff that comes flying through our letterbox faster than we can spring up from our chairs to catch it. And another slight exaggeration to describe how popular we think we are. Regardless, here’s some more cool stuff we’ve been sent this week, including books, totes, zines and books!

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    This week the design Twitterati were all over the new Airbnb logo from DesignStudio. While many were impressed, there’s always a range of opinions (and usually the inevitable Tumblr lampoons) around redesigns these days; see Michael Bierut’s excellent essay Graphic Design Criticism AS Spectator Sport for more on this phenomenon. It got us thinking though about some of the best logos and identities we’ve seen so far this year; and so we present a selection of the most interesting examples from the first half of 2014. We’ve also opened comments so you can agree with us, slate our bad taste or suggest some we might have missed…

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    Greeting podulators, we’re back again for another episode with Rob Alderson in the hosting-throne and peasants James Cartwright and Liv Siddall kneeling at his side. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    Our next Nicer Tuesdays supported by Park Communications will explore a range of brilliant creative projects inspired by travel.

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    Thomas Rousset and Raphaël Verona’s Waska Tatay is fairly ambiguous at first glance. The cover is a simple yellow-to-blue fade with the title placed inconspicuously on the spine; but the content is altogether more arresting. Using a mixture of reportage and staged portraiture the photo book documents the pair’s trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia and their encounters with witch doctors, spiritual healers and medicine men; uncovering the rites and rituals of these ancient orders and illuminating some of their extraordinary mythologies.

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    Wise words here from Peckham design collective King Zog. They’re back with a new website that will fart up the nose of your website faster than you can say “rainbow gloves.” The lads – a cocktail of Ben West, Jack Slee, Josh King and Felix Heyes – have collected all their work and put it on the World Wide Web the manner of a really, really personal business card. By that I mean that one look at their new site tells you everything you need to know about this lot. They’re some of the only people who can truly pull off funny design while simultaneously being eons ahead of everyone else in the ideas department. Special lads.

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    When it comes to archives, they don’t get much more impressive than that of Andrea Aranow, the designer and ethnographer who has been collecting samples of textiles that take her fancy since the late 1960s. She’s made snakeskin ensembles for Jimi Hendrix, travelled through the mountains of Peru, China and Japan collecting, consulted designers from Louis Vuitton to Dries Van Noten and even curated exhibitions for the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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    Going through nearly 600 applicants for the It’s Nice That Graduates was a long process, and in it we saw countless photography submissions. To come across a portfolio like Portsmouth graduate Alecsandra’s was truly special, as her website was utterly brimming with fascinating, in-depth projects that stood out as being truly well-researched, full of passion and rather unique. Her love of storytelling led her to focus on politics, family, tradition and emotion, making her body of work alive with folklore and wisdom. How great is it when someone’s work truly opens your eyes to something you had previously never encountered? Here she is on her degree, her passion for photography, and her future.

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    Creatives and mood boards go together like Daphne and Celeste, and try as Tumblr and Pinterest might, up until now nothing has come anywhere close to challenging the satisfaction that comes from wielding a handful of drawing pins and some print-outs over an unassuming noticeboard. Curator might be in with a shot though. The brainchild of architect and app developer Daniel Nordh, Curator is an iPad app which “allows users to collect, organise and present mood boards mixing websites, images and text using a simple, intuitive tap-and-drag interface.” And for once, it really looks like it might do the trick.

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    At its finest, art direction is about creating brilliant imagery that fulfils the brief it’s been set. Tip the balance too far one way and the results can be sterile or obvious, go too far the other way and you can get wackiness for the sake of wackiness.

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    The ongoing success of the Plant Journal has re-engaged readers with the botanical world through an art and design lens; now a new book plans to take this exploration even further.

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    As of 6.30pm last night Airbnb looks a little classier. Having spent the past seven years growing a vast community of country-hopping collaborators, the world’s largest online accommodation marketplace has decided it’s time for a change. Gone is the awkward, dated logo that still reminds me of a bad ice cream parlour, likewise the cold, clinical blue that serves as the accent colour for all San Franciscan startups; and in its place is something entirely more exciting.

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    Err, where has Jenny Lewis been for the past few years? She could have been running some sort of underground, political guerilla group, or designing jewellery, or maybe she was just locked in a cupboard. What I’m getting at is that it just doesn’t matter in the slightest – because she’s back with a totally killer video that she’s directed, and we all know that 99.9% of the time a brilliant, timely music video is the perfect solution to a difficult comeback.