Article Archive

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    Australian consultancy Sense designed the identity for this year’s Czech & Slovak film festival, which took place in Melbourne and Sydney, creating a look look inspired by the gorgeous hand-printed Czech film posters of the past. The festival was themed around the idea of “resistance”, as a nod to 2014 being the 25th anniversary of the non-violent “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia – a series of peaceful demonstrations against the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia that worked to end 41 years of Communist rule in the country.

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    We couldn’t do a digital publishing feature without speaking to Freunde von Freunden. Their venture has been a printed magazine masquerading as a website for years, and follows one enticing, addictive format: visiting the carefully decorated habitats of artists and creatives, photographing it, and interviewing them about their lifestyle and work. Frederik Frede is the man behind this simple, beautiful publishing enterprise, and here speaks of why FvF works so well online, the importance of collaboration, and FvF’s new shared apartment where they hold meetings, dinner parties and sleepovers with lucky clients.

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    We’ve all been there – the slightest twinge and it’s straight onto Google to terrify yourself with what it all might mean in the worst case medical scenario. DDB Brussels have taken that premise as the basis for this spot for Flemish online health platform Gezondheid en Wetenschap, which aims to underline the importance of getting information from reputable sources. While the starting point may be a staple topic for observational stand up comedians, the DDB team have pushed it to the extremes and the execution makes the most of the raw material. A nice extra touch uses Google Adwords to warn people to seek proper professional help when the search for symptoms like “twitching eyelid.”

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    When we post work on It’s Nice That we don’t really know what that can lead to, but it’s always terrific to hear that creative collaborations have sprung from an article on the site. It’s even more terrific to hear of a coming together like this between Wild Beasts and animator and illustrator Mattis Dovier as part of The Jameson Works.

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    Being on a plane overnight can have its merits. Watching a tonne of terrible films, wearing strange towelling socks, having your dinner brought over by someone who’s paid to be lovely to you and wear lots of blusher. It can also have its oft-bemoaned downsides, unhappy and vocal children, being one; lack of sleep being another. However, a night on a plane has taken on something of a different dynamic thanks to a project that’s seen one KLM plane masquerading as a loft apartment, with interior designs by Dutch design consultancy TANK that belie its origins in favour of a very much homely approach.

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    No matter how long it is since you left school, Monday morning can still bring back that sense of academic-induced dread. The Exercise Book by South London design agency Calm & Collected may well inspire similar reminiscence but all being well it’ll be of the warmly nostalgic kind rather than the “haven’t-done-my-homework-forgotten-my-PE-kit” pit of the stomach variety. The publication accompanied the group’s recent show LEARN and features hand-drawn graphics inspired by education across black and white, colour and risoograph pages.

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    If last week on the site was dominated by terrific Norwegian graphic design, then this week it’s the turn of Finland, and more specifically Kokoro & Moi to step into the spotlight. Teemu Suviala and Antti Hinkula’s studio has been going for 13 years now, and it’s always exciting to get wind of new updates on their site.

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    We’re no ballet aficionados, but we wouldn’t usually associate drunkards, typists and factory workers with the grace and poise of the discipline. However, as these beautiful gouache painting by Tatiana Bruni show, there’s much more to ballet than tutus and swan lake, with her angular figures, bold colours and sometimes grotesquely postured characters. The paintings show costume designs for Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt, and are going on show at London’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design alongside a series of period photographs. The ballet itself was bold and striking in its use of real hammers, machine-inspired choreography, aerobics and acrobatics, and the costume images are equally as dynamic, inspired by “the aesthetics of agit-theatre and artist-designed propaganda posters”, according to the gallery. The sense of movement is palpable, whether in the graceful billowing dresses or the staggering legs of our brightly-coloured drunkard, working against the geometric rigidity of the style to beautiful effect.

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    When these flaming barrels rolled into our consciousness, we were instantly intrigued. While it’s nothing new to see photographic documentation of strange customs and traditions (James Pearson-Howes, for instance, has captured British Folk traditions to brilliant effect), these images by Conor Beary are no less fascinating. The photographs document a 200-year-old tradition in the wonderfully-named village of Ottery Saint Mary in Devon, which sees the streets filled with fire and wild enthusiasm.

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    It’s the end of the week, it’s rainy, it’s miserable. But we’re not – and you shouldn’t be either – thanks to this decidedly bright bunch of creative brilliance that will see you through the weekend with a sunshiny spring on your step. Perhaps that’s a bit too much, but it might make sitting indoors debating if it’s too soon to pop heating on a little more pleasurable.

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    This week the regular pod team were scattered by a combination of illness and holidays but we managed to find some 24-carat replacements. We chatted about the Kim Kardashian Paper Magazine cover shot by Jean-Paul Goude, as well as reflecting on the event we held this week at London College of Communication to explore whether there is a gap between design educattion and the creative industries.

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    The announcement that David Lynch is to release new episodes of Twin Peaks in 2016 was, unsurprisingly, met with internet-breaking levels of excitement. Soon, every Tommy, Dale and Henry Spencer was walking around their independent coffee shop knowingly harping on about their “damn fine cup of coffee” and popping that heartbreaking Angelo Badalamenti theme on the office stereo like they’d actually watched every episode back in 1990, when they were five.

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    There’s a real appetite here on the internet for old black and white photos being presented in colour, but in the main they tend to focus on historic or social themes. It’s less common to see sports photography undergoing this treatment, which is why we were so struck by the work of Gooner Frog when we came across it on Facebook.

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    It’s hard to tell at what point Julian Faulhaber’s images are captured; if he’s the first person on site after the completion of a new modernist structure or whether he employs the skills of some exceptionally talented retouchers to clean up all the human detritus that clutters the purity of manmade structures. Either way his images evoke a sense of futuristic newness; of ultra-sleek new buildings awaiting their human occupants. They pay homage to the craft of architecture, celebrate the artistry of interiors and simultaneously poke fun at the absurdity of our aesthetic tastes – seriously, who thought purple, yellow and green stripes was a good idea? They’re also exceptionally visually arresting, so gawp on at the work of this talented chap.

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    Man of many talents Will Edmonds has some great new work on his site in the geometric shape of these colourful framed pieces and paintings on wood. There’s a childlike simplicity against a more grown-up restraint in the works, which draw you in with colour and keep you there with the deceptively intricate layers. The works were created for an exhibition entitled A Watery Line at The Tetley in Leeds in summer 2014, where he was also showing sculptures and ceramics.

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    Not since we saw the Doge meme IRL on a street in Hackney have we been this excited by the face of a strange dog. Now, we’re excited by many strange dog faces, thanks to what looks set to be a brilliant show by Wilfrid Wood. Wilfrid’s work has long been a favourite at It’s Nice That, and has over the years included sculptures of Tom Daley and Paul McCartney and numerous bottoms for Levis.

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    Whenever we come across graphic design that features non-Latin script we are always aware of the immediate appeal that comes from these letterforms that are so different to our own. In this case though it’s hard to get round that, because Eric Hu’s A Thousand Characters is a very definite and deliberate celebration of these beautiful alien forms. It is comprised of 1,000 unique illustrations of each letter in a classical Chinese poem that has 1,000 non-repeating characters. “These were drawn with my mouse using a dynamic drawing application I had programmed in Processing then manipulated further in Photoshop,” Eric explains.

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    It’s Chrrrrrriiiiissssstttttmmmmmaaaaaasssssssss! Ok it’s not really, but there are certain milestones that begin the countdown to the festive season and in our own small way we hope the arrival of the It’s Nice That Annual is one of them. Designed this year by the excellent Studio Makgill, the Annual is back and it’s bigger and better than ever before.

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    Josh Cochran is one of those illustrators who, even though he’s been around for ages, still manages to keep his work endlessly fresh. His fantastically atmospheric, often surreal illustrations, keep going from strength to strength, building in textural complexity and narrative devices. Perhaps that’s the result of his nomadic lifestyle moving between Taiwan, Los Angeles and New York. Or perhaps he’s just got an endlessly inventive mind and creative spirit. Either way, he’s a talented dude.

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    While certainly an innovative and useful tool, tech-based health tracking isn’t, perhaps, the most exciting concept. So it’s great to see the look and feel of a new health and technology platform use such playful, bold design cues. The Beautiful Meme has worked with illustrator Tal Brosh on this great look for Health Tech & You, a joint initiative between the Design Museum and AXA PPP, which looks at new breakthroughs in technology that tracks and monitors health.

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    As part of our month-long feature on the people behind some of the best online publishing ventures around, we’ve spoke to some of the most important big dogs of online content publishing. But where there’s big dogs, there’s also weird smelly dogs, and that’s how I like to think of Brown Cardigan. They’ve been providing millions of people with stuff to attach to the bottom of emails for years, and have been churning out and spreading some of the most memorable memes in recent history. And so the anonymous team behind Brown Cardigan tell us about their audience, how the internet’s changed the world and the story of their “wordless mood-board for perverted immature grown folks.” Enjoy!

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    London is a brilliant city, but in the winter months it can be a grey and grizzly place to live. That’s why artists like Steve Wheen, aka The Pothole Gardner, are so important in bringing a little colour and joy to our day-to-day lives. To promote Uniqlo’s new HEATTECH range, which has been specially developed with leading textile manufacturer Toray, the clothing brand is showcasing creative types who take on the urban outdoors come rain or shine, from foodies and cyclists to graffiti artists.

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    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

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    I can’t quite believe that it’s two years since we last featured Alex Roulette’s work on the site because he’s undoubtedly one of our favourite artists working today. The New York based painter creates scenes which “explore the blurred sense of time and place within memories” and he’s a master of the atmospheric. Looking at his paintings feels like beginning a dream when you’re pitched into a situation conjured up by your subconscious and yet instinctively know broadly where you are and what’s going on.

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    When the winning Dyson Award Winner is announced each year, every time it’s humbling proof of the power of design for change, and the power of young designers to make the designs that can make those changes.

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    We love sites like these: a simple idea, executed brilliantly and contributed-to by a host of fantastic creatives. From Your Desks is a website set up by Kate Donnelly that invites people in the art world to submit photographs of their workspace, which she then accompanies with a short but sweet interview about what they do. Personally, seeing the detritus surrounding someone’s desk gives me the same building curiosity as seeing inside their bedroom – it’s such an important, personal space and can be surprisingly revealing. There’s nearly 350 interviews on Kate’s site, and below we’ve picked a few photographs of the desks of some of our favourite artists including Adrian Tomine, Maya Fuhr, Christoph Niemann and Nat Russell. Enjoy!

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    I’m sticking by my claim that the beach is one of the most fascinatingly liminal places going; you arrive, you take off (almost) all your clothes and you lie down, play volleyball and splash next to strangers with the same idea, and nobody thinks anything of it.

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    We at It’s Nice That are the first to admit how easily we’re won over by an exotic script and an novel letterform – when you spend your days thinking about typefaces there’s something undeniably alluring about recognising the existence of a whole other world of them – so we won’t try to hide our excitement at coming across Anzai Konami’s work on Gurafiku.

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    A cute little one-eyed book reading a cute little two-eyed book greets us on the site of designer and illustrator Julia Boehme, offering an irresistible invitation to delve into her portfolio, which perhaps unsurprisingly, leans toward all things bookish. The wee anthropomorphised tomes also star alongside pretty girls reading books in some great work for Hungarian University of Fine Arts, for which she’s produced a small brochure explaining the four arts libraries in Budapest. Cuteness is very much the order of the day throughout her work, but she manages to stay just the right side of sickly. We love the simple, tongue-in-cheek Wes Anderson aesthetic of the Year Book project from 2011, which acts as another excuse for us to post some ludicrous, large-specs-based portrait photography.

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    Behold the first in our bunch of articles you’ll see on the site in the coming weeks exploring the ever-changing world of online publishing. We go on and on about the state of printed magazines, and it can be easy to forget the brilliance that is churned out every day by people all over the internet. Over the next few weeks we’ll be speaking to some of the people we regard as the best online publishers, to try and get a hold on what’s going on in this world. To kick this off, we’ve asked a few editors and founders of our favourite sites what they truly love about online publishing. Here they are…

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    Nicer Tuesdays is back, and this month we are joined by four creatives who are exploring the world of food in unique and inspiring ways.

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    Listen up gang, I’ve been having a think and have come to the irrefutable conclusion that we should all move to Norway. First up we had Snøhetta’s stunning banknote designs and now we find that Neue studio have created new passport covers for Norway’s citizens which are clean, crisp and colourful. The white, red and turquoise covers lead into some beautifully-designed spreads which take their inspiration from the country’s lakes and mountains and the whole thing has personality without feeling gimmicky.