Article Archive

  1. Weekender-list

    My, what a week it’s been. We’re all tuckered out after celebrating the launch of Printed Pages last night. But you know what, just for you, we’ll muster up the rest of our diminishing will to keep on typing to present this week’s edition of the Weekender, because we’re so nice, and because it makes us feel just that little bit closer to Saturday. And of course, to all of you. So here’s all the art and design bits and bobs you could possibly want for your two days of freedom.

  2. Pp-list-new

    If you hadn’t already clocked by now, the brand spanking new SS15 issue of Printed Pages is here, and we’re pretty bloody proud of it! And with l of these fantastic features, interviews, essays and images under our belts, can you blame us for gathering up a bunch of locals at KK Outlet for a few beers, courtesy of Heineken, to toast the new issue? The sun shone, the refreshments were drunk, the mag was purchased and fun was had by all. Here are a couple of photographs of last night!

  3. Wipeout-itsnicethat-list

    Dominic Szablewski is the kind of technological wizard who has a level of understanding so sublime that I imagine he might be able control the universe from his computer one day. He’s a digital designer who builds games – really, really cool games – and through means unknown to me, he has succeeded in porting levels from cult PlayStation racing game WipEout, which was first released in 1995, into a browser-compatible format.

  4. Tomaslaar-itsnicethat-main

    Nice body of work here from Dutch design student Tomas Laar, who has a pleasing understanding of typography and the fun there is to be had in publication design. Even though he’s still studying he’s been very busy immersing himself in the design world, taking part in Hort’s raucous After School Club and a number of different group shows and workshops. What I like about his work is that he’s not afraid to mess around a bit, and the more professional journals he’s put together and professionally bound are contrasted by mini-projects that see him making posters in homage to designers he admires and pasting them up on walls around The Hague. Even his typography is light-hearted, and shows how unafraid he is to get stuck in with different materials and processes in order to get the best result. He’s also got an absolute ripper of a blog.

  5. Karinhagen-itsnicethat-main

    Pottery has had a bit of a bad rep until recently when people have slowly begun to realise that it’s FUCKING BADDASS. The pottery world is creaking under the weight of the amount of thrill-seeking clay-spinners popping up all over the place making vessels for cool people to put their cacti and fennel seeds in, and so we thought we’d highlight a few people who are taking the clay world by storm. Think for a minute, if you will, how few kilns there are on this earth, and how many universities have in recent years completely shut down their ceramics department due to lack of funding and demand. Then get your head around how these guys manage to create such brilliant work at such an astonishing rate while still keeping up their day jobs. Seeing as pottery is well trendy right now, I thought I’d run down a list of my personal favourite pot-heads out there.

  6. Jr-newyorktimes-itsnicethat-list

    It’s always a joy when two creative forces we like collide and produce something that harnesses their collective talents. We’re huge fans of the team at The New York Times Magazine (so much so we interviewed design director Gail Bichler for the new issue of our Printed Pages magazine) and we love the work of JR, so the coming-together of the two was right up our street.

  7. Hero-drivers-in-the-80s--chris-dorley-brown-its-nice-that-fat-woman-blue

    It’s a strange thing to see the more banal aspects of life from the year you were born: the traffic jams, the boredom, the waiting about on buses. We only usually look back on the beautiful, newsworthy, interesting things of the 1980s – the Debbie Harrys and Cyndi Laupers and miners’ strikes and famines – all of which are fascinating and need to be remembered, but looking at the everyday aspects of life is equally interesting in a different way. That’s why Chris Dorley-Brown’s photographic series Drivers in the 1980s is so alluring: it does just what you’d expect, presenting people through the windows of their car doors (and the odd bus) in and around east London in the mid ’80s. As a person born in ’86 and now living in east London, there’s a very personal fascination for me when looking at the images, imagining what my mum would have looked like all permed and large-spectacled and cursing roadworks. There’s something so charming in this elevation of ennui to art, with all the normality of the scenarios and the feeling of nostalgia for a time I can’t really remember.

  8. Barbican-daniela-sherer-pipe-dreams-itsnicethat-list

    As London’s Crossrail development project has rolled loudly, slowly on, it’s probably fair to say the project has been accessorised with a few eye (and ear) sores – cranes, rubble, road closures, dust…you get the idea. But in the bid to make tunnels from Liverpool Street to Farringdon, something beautiful has emerged in the shape of this Barbican commissioned film Pipe Dreams, animated by Daniela Sherer. The film marks the passing of Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines (apparently named Elizabeth and Victoria) beneath the Barbican Estate.

  9. Matthnry-thetrip-itsnicethat-list

    In the autumn issue of our Printed Pages magazine I wrote an essay about Americana and its enduring influence on British creatives. One of the people I interviewed was photographer Matt Henry, whose work has often focussed on retro symbols of 1960s and 70s America and the power with which we imbue them. His latest work takes that addiction (forged on TV shows like The A-Team and The Dukes of Hazzard) and uses it to create something of an altogether more ambitious magnitude.

  10. Erikshirai-birthofsake-itsnicethat-list

    Aged 19 I got horribly drunk on saké (an evening that ended in me declaring my undying love for an ex girlfriend on a busy train – “I don’t care who’s listening!” etc) and so my relationship with the Japanese rice wine has been estranged ever since. However I may have to reconsider this stance having seen the trailer for Erik Shirai’s film The Birth of Saké.

  11. Marcelgeorge-port-itsnicethat-list

    Maybe it’s because I am a notoriously un-stylish man, but the product spreads in magazines usually do absolutely nothing for me. Flicking through multiple pages of artfully arranged man-bags strikes me as purgatorial, but I understand these kinds of features often have a commercial rationale in the complicated financial climate of modern magazine-making. Credit though when a publication strives to do something more interesting with these spreads, like the Russian version of Port magazine (or Port Россия) which commissioned Marcel George to illustrate a recent feature on watches.

  12. Unnamed-1

    Greetings pod fans! A little later than usual this week but fear not, we’re here with your regular dose of top-notch* art and design chat. So kick back, open your ears and let 23 minutes of It’s Nice That flavoured discussion wash over you like a sparkly (yet intelligent) wave. This week we touch on the passing of the designer behind the Las Vegas sign, look at the GraphicDesign& survey and the newly-released Creative Review Annual. We also look at the new Smile Suggest web app and Elana Schlenker’s clever project highlighting the gender pay gap.. Finally it’s all about the Star Wars and Jurassic Park trailers…

  13. Spd-newyork-itsnicethat-list2

    Call me a massive magazine nerd if you must but I really enjoy the conversation about what makes a great cover. Is there a science to it as Tyler Brûlé maintains? Does it have to be meticulously planned or can it be the simple execution of gut instinct? Where is that fine line between bold and daring on the one hand, and obtuse and gimmicky on the other? Anyway yesterday two “best cover” shortlists were unveiled which gives us a glimpse into what two leading industry bodies think (The Society of Publication Designers and The Professional Publishers Association).

  14. Pmu-int-main

    People in the graphic arts world have got an infernal problem with Pick Me Up. It’s the Taylor Swift of illustration events: everyone claims they’re not into it but when it comes on the radio they know all the words and are happily singing along. My opinion on it has undulated for years, but going to the private view last night made me realise that all this time I doubted it and listened sceptically to the rumours surrounding it, I was totally wrong.

  15. Newswall-itsnicethat-list

    Yesterday saw the launch of a brand new form of news presentation by Channel 4 in 4NewsWall – a Tumblr-hosted website dedicated to the day’s top news stories, listed chronologically, with each presented by a GIF. Thought up by 4Creative’s Jack Croft and Stacey Bird and developed by the creative team, it’s flashy, image-led and uncluttered – with each GIF offering a click-through button to a more detailed report – and looks set to be an interesting and exciting progression for news journalism.

  16. Flatland-itsnicethat-list

    “We hear a lot about the death of print and the dominance of digital,” begins Epilogue’s Kickstarter pitch video for a new version of Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, “but it’s having access to either that makes this an exciting time. The challenge is, how do you make something that is interesting and meaningful with both?”

  17. Lostmagazine-itsnicethat-list

    Modern urban living must be having a strange effect on society if the swelling number of independent travel magazines is anything to go by. The concrete confines of our respective metropoles are inspiring a wanderlust within us, sparking wave after wave of print publications with their sights set on adventure. If we’re being brutally honest there are only a few that bring anything new to the table so it’s exciting to discover a title that offers more than jet-setting anecdotes from the one percent.

  18. Adamnickel-itsnicethat-main

    I came across Adam Nickel’s work on a Mr Porter Journal article entitled How To Speak Professional-ese which outlined how the common man can attempt to understand office and business jargon. Adam Nickel’s perfect for a brand like Mr Porter. His drawings are inspired directly from packaging design and illustration in the 1950s and early 1960s, channeling the kinds of characters you may have seen rushing about in the background of The Pink Panther or chasing a pesky critter through some well-animated opening credits. Adam states on his site that he’s a lover of all things old – I assume he’s referring to design? – and is pushing out so-good-they-could-almost-be-actually-vintage illustrations at a mile a minute. Definitely one to commission if your brand or publication is lacking a spot of style and olde worlde charm.

  19. Amylombard-kidz-bop-itsnicethat-list

    The last time we featured Amy Lombard on It’s Nice That, it was her photographs of pet animals preened and packaged for an animal show in the USA that we were babbling over. This time around it’s the Brooklyn-based documentary photographer’s new series about the Kidz Bop phenomenon sweeping the US that we’re gushing over, and if it seems like a sizeable gap between the two subjects, then it’s an appropriate reflection of the breadth of her work.

  20. Sarahmazzetti-mit-itsnicethat-list

    It’s always a joy to hear from Bologna-based illustrator Sarah Mazzettti who has been a firm favourite of ours since we first stumbled across her gig posters back in 2012. The Italian image-maker seems to have settled on a more confident style in recent months and big-name commissions from the likes of Vice, The New York Times and MIT Technology have duly followed. But that unpredictable playful sensibility we so loved has not been entirely banished, as evidenced by her huge yellow giant holding up a room for the TICTIG exhibition at Casa Testori in Milan.

  21. List

    The pre-orders have closed kids which can mean only one thing, Printed Pages SS15 has launched OFFICIALLY! Please, no more rapturous applause, we’ve got a lot to tell you about the contents of this new issue and so little time to do it. So without further ado…

  22. List

    The countdown to Here continues apace and today we’re turning our attention to Jordy van den Nieuwendijk. The past few years have seen a dizzying rise for the Dutch artist and illustrator. In an astonishingly short space of time he’s emerged as one of the most exciting, prolific practitioners working today, clocking up a client list which includes the likes of The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Lacoste and Vogue.

  23. Jaimezuverza-itsnicethat-main

    If you ever want to read a truly inspiring interview with one of the coolest designers out there, look no further than this one with Jaime Zuverza we ran on the site back in 2013. In it Jaime said: “Lately I have been inspired by the strange things the body and mind create. I think those things must be welcomed in a friendly manner. The body produces blood, tears, boogers, vomit, caca, gas, wax, urine, spit, odours, etc. The mind produces dreams, hallucinations, delusions, paranoid associations, psychic vibes, phobias, visions. All of these things are usually kept hidden but they play a big part in people’s daily lives.”

  24. Tine-bek-barok-itsnicethat-list-10susan_on_bed

    Glasgow-based, Denmark-born photographer Tine Bek has taken the idea of the Baroque and spun it out to explore some pretty big concepts: nature, domesticity and the representation of the female body to name but a few. His series Barok is formed of numerous individual images which when isolated don’t seem to have to much to do with Baroque and all its drama and grandiosity; but together they form a strange narrative and take on a whole new feel. “Baroque is the main inspiration, not just as a period within architecture or art, but more so as an expression of a certain philosophy,” explains Tine. “The overall themes [are]… the balance between illusion and reality, light and dark and time and space.

  25. Stosh-itsnicethat-list-2

    Stosh is the leading case in my new argument (actually my only case, but that’s neither here nor there) that all studios formed of two or more people should be named by combining those two names together. Freelance graphic designers Stephanie Cuérel and Josh Schaub (Stosh!) have been collaborating since 2010 and judging by their website – a trichotomy of bold design made by one, the other or both of them, with the odd GIF thrown in for good measure – it was a good decision.

  26. Hattie-stewart-itsnicethat-list-2

    Hattie Stewart is back – not that the self-proclaimed doodle-bomber ever goes away for long – and this time it’s with reams of new work for her very own exhibition at the House of Illustration, entitled Adversary. In the first of what looks to be a whole series of commissions by the London-based gallery, she has created a collection of new (and enormous) pieces in her signature doodle style, decorating images from pop culture with accessories, stripes, googly eyes and emojis and generally elevating them beyond magazine fodder and into something entirely unique and infinitely bolder. 

  27. New-dps-itsnicethat-list

    It probably won’t be of much interest to you, but I wrote my dissertation on the intersection between digital platforms and physical publishing and the interesting ways people are finding to merge the two. For me it was fascinating, for some of you it’s probably exceptionally tedious. But for those of you with a similarly perverse interest in these curiously anachronistic forms of publishing there’s an interesting online archive that brings them all together. P-DPA (the Post-Digital Publishing Archive) is an impressive resource created by Silvio Lorusso dedicated to documenting projects at the forefront of modern publishing. It’s far from comprehensive, but the user-generated archive offers up some exciting examples of progressive publishing. I could go on, but I’ve probably already bored some of you to tears.

  28. Offset-waysandmeans-itsnicethat-list

    Anyone who has ever been to a design conference will be familiar with the tote bag rummage, a just-arrived ritual that all too often ends in underwhelmed flyer reading. So it was with refreshing excitement that we happened upon Ways And Means in the bags at this year’s Offset festival in Dublin. The bespoke magazine – designed by Offset head honcho Bren Byrne – breathed new life into the design conference give-away with a variety of in-depth profiles of the speakers which provided genuinely interesting insight and context ahead of their talks.

  29. Atlasstudio-elephant22-itsnicethat-list

    In his beautifully-written editor’s letter for the new issue of Elephant magazine, Marc Valli laments the lack of soul in the New York art scene. The city remains, he contends, “ the richest art centre in the world,” but it no longer offers the same heady possibilities of the city’s creative apogee in the 1960s and 70s.

  30. Spin-itsnicethatlistfull_screen_simon_pengelly_2

    When graphic designers take on furniture designers, their broadening solutions can sometimes feel formulaic – all wholesome browns and chatter about “craft.” That’s why it’s so refreshing to see Spin’s work for British furniture designer Simon Pengelly. “The idea for Simon’s identity came from a visit to his workshop and noticing the lovely graphic stripes on the edge of the plywood used on one of his chairs,” says Spin. “The various iterations of the marque reflect different thicknesses.” Despite the fact, as Spin puts, it, Simon’s design approach “brings together a blend of organic minimalism and a distinctive feel for natural materials,” the identity focusses on the minimalism and shuns the organic, taking on a bold, direct and a very brave aesthetic.

  31. Graphicdesign_-opinion-itsnicethat-list

    A couple of months ago there was a lot of interest in this survey in which clients described the four worst types of creative agencies as they saw it. Now we have a chance to hear from the practitioners themselves, by way of Graphicdesign&’s in-depth industry study. Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright have partnered with social scientist Nikandre Kopcke to create a questionnaire which explores “practice, perceptions and prejudices alongside the usual questions about age, education, work and pay.”

  32. Anagrama-itsnicethat-list

    Mexican design studio Anagrama has turned its focus to one of its own this time around, creating a solid brand identity and new interior for a “cantina” called Botanero Moritas. Anagrama had the restaurant’s rich brand history – stretching all the way back to 1939 – to wrangle with, and chose to channel as much of its tradition and history into the new identity as possible while still striking a chord with contemporary branding. It went with a simple, bold logo on dark grainy backgrounds for much of the printed collateral including business cards, postcards and packaging, employing a rainbow foil to jazz it up where necessary, while the variety of typefaces used on menus and signage hints at the diversity of old and new references.