Article Archive

  1. Alex-horne-do-it-poster-its-nice-that-list

    As the likes of Haw-Lin and Tom Darracott have proved in recent years, club posters are no longer the all-caps, bright yellow, shouty things on lampposts they used to be. Well sometimes they are, and there’s something quite charming in that (UK GARAGE SENSATION in Surbiton, anyone?), but there’s certainly a finessed approach to many of the posters now, as Alex Horne proves. The designer, who also founded label Fine Grains Records, hails from Aberdeen but now lives in London, working with clients including The Financial Times, The Vinyl Factory and Vice. Today though we’re looking at some great music posters, namely those for AV collective Do It! and Oslo-based club night promoter The Drop, which Alex runs alongside Norwegian record label boss and musician Andre Ishak. Throughout the work there’s a leaning towards Bauhaus-esque typography and clean, graphic shapes, with crisp layouts proving once again that the marriage of graphic design and electronic music is one made in heaven. Or in this case, in Aberdeen, London and Oslo.

  2. Leemawdsley-millenniummills-itsnicethat-list

    We’ve featured architectural photographer Lee Mawdsley on the site a few times over the years and have often focussed on his masterful documentation of ultra-modern workplaces, all gleaming surfaces and tangled wires. But among his new updates, one project in particular demonstrates his versatility.

  3. Michaelbuck-airbnb-house-list

    A few years ago there was a great deal of interest in Artangel’s A Room for London project, which saw Fiona Banner and David Kohn Architects build a boat you could stay in high above the South Bank. Today Airbnb has twisted that idea round for its own stunt, floating a 70-tonne house down the River Thames. Designed by Steve and Nick Tidball, creative directors of the TBWA agency, it includes two bedrooms, a working bathroom and a garden with real grass and an apple tree. It will meander up and down the river throughout the week, hosting various events and even some sleepovers.

  4. Ricco_maresca_mexican_pulp_art_its_nice_that_list_2

    Ballsy, bizarre and a little bit racy, these Mexican pulp fiction book covers are fantastic fun and epitomise our need for a bit of weird naughtiness. The kitsch-factor is overwhelming as scantily clad women run away in terror, a man in purple spandex is surrounded by adoring cats and giant robots menacingly pick up shiny red cars.

    As part of an exhibition at New York gallery Ricco Maresca held earlier this year, the collection is a celebration of pulp paperbacks released in Mexico during the 60s and 70s. Many of the artists remain unidentified which is a shame as some of these are absolute gems. Without book titles, there’s no context for the artwork and we’re left with the ordinary and extraordinary crashing into each other in glorious fashion. According to Ricco Maresca, there’s a key difference between Mexican pulp art and the American pulp art coming out at the same time. As well as the drama and sauciness, much of Mexican pulp art prominently featured violence, sci-fi, psychedelia, and crime, making it all the more outrageous.

  5. Emilyscaife-cosmiccrisp-itsnicethat-list

    I’m a big fan of creatives who have the wherewithal to follow through on simple – and sometimes ostensibly silly – ideas. Jeff Greenspan is perhaps the high priest of this, but Emily Scaife has a nice line in realising pleasingly simple concepts with enough visual panache to make the results more than one-liners.

  6. Weekender-list

    This week has been a whirlwind, one minute it’s sunny, the next it’s raining. It’s an emotional weather-coaster as they say. BUT fear not, because the one thing that will never let you down is the Weekender. That’s right, no matter what, we’ll be there. Huzzah! So pop on your comfiest trousers and crack open the beers, it’s Friday and it’s time for The Weekender.

  7. Thokamaer-itsnobiggie-itsnicethat-list

    It was way back in 2012 that we first featured Thoka Maer’s it’s no biggie, a blog of joyous GIFS that capture little moments in life, by turns sweet and surreal. A lot has happened since then – not only the fact that we can now actually embed GIFs on our site and show you Thoka’s creations in all their glory. She meanwhile has graduated from the Visual Communication course at the University of the Arts, Berlin, and inb (as all the cool kids are calling it) won the self-initiated category at last year’s Association of Illustrators awards.

  8. Arthurfoliard-mood-itsnicethat-list

    Arthur Foliard has some impressive design experience on his CV – Pentagram, Landor and Moving Brands – and he’s been honoured by both ADC and the Cannes Lions. Not bad for a 25-year-old, but this London-based Frenchman has a portfolio of work that makes sense of these accolades.

  9. Yayoi-kusama-itsnicethat-list

    Yayoi Kusama is one of few artists who is seems to be without comparison. Her new exhibition, Give Me Love takes place at New York’s David Zwirner gallery, and features a collection of her enormous brightly coloured canvases. Their sunny dispositions are undercut with titles which reveal a more disquieting undertone for example I Who Cry in the Flowering Season, or I Am Dying Now There the Death Is. In another room a series of her bulging Pumpkin sculptures, reminiscent of decaying fruit in spite of their metallic sheen and polka dot finish, reinforces the juxtaposition of the joyous and the sinister.

  10. Anastasica_tsayder_summer_olympics_its_nice_that_list

    The buzz post-Olympics usually centres on the athletes, their achievements and the tirade of endorsement campaigns that inevitably follow. But what about the structures that house these magnificent quadrennial events? Often the stadiums and swimming pools have been purpose-built, but post-event many remain unused, abandoned or unimaginatively repurposed.

  11. Treat-studios-adultswim-idents-its-nice-that-list

    As anyone who’s seen pretty much anything to emerge from the Adult Swim network will testify, its output is pretty darned weird. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a help-I-feel-sick way, but perhaps that’s because I never have been and never will be a teenage boy. For its no-holds-barred bonkersness and gross-out mentality, it must surely be a dream for many animators to work for the brand. So Treat Studios, which has created the latest Adult Swim trailers, were understandably chuffed to be commissioned for the project “completely out of the blue.”

  12. Gigi_rose_gray_solo_show_its_nice_that_list

    There’s a beautiful vividness to Gigi Rose Gray’s illustrations – reds are crimsons, blues are ceruleans and yellows have seeped into deep ochres. Gigi crops into the small moments and hones in on a handful of people or the facade of a building.

  13. Mirko-borsche-itsnicethat-list-2

    Is there no end to Bureau Mirko Borsche’s brilliance? Having already produced season after season’s worth of printed collateral for long-term client the Bayerische Staatsoper, Mirko’s eponymous studio has just released its newest collection of work for the theatre. Spanning a series of events entitled Die Unmögliche Enzyklopädie, plus posters for the house orchestra Bayerisches Staatsorcheter and premiere posters too, the newest selection might even be the most diverse to date. 

  14. List-hero-lottie-hanson-lowe-love-me-do-its-nice-that

    There’s nothing quite like the sweaty, sticky, lightheadedness of that first frenzied, totally-losing-your-shit adoration a band can induce. While I’ve never really been a boyband type, I’m not ashamed to say I still have the 1997 Blur calendar stashed away in a cupboard, and that near-lunacy that accompanies the love of a band is still very fresh in my mind. It’s also very fresh in the mind of young designer Lottie Hanson Lowe, who’s created a beautiful zine about boyband superfans called Love Me Do.

  15. Brest_history_and_chips_it's_nice_that_list

    Imagine a John Stezaker collage let loose in the kitchen and you’ve got the History and Chips series from Brest Brest Brest. With a portfolio that includes a poster of Elvis Presley’s face emerging from a melting ice cream, the graphic design studio based in the south of France couldn’t fail to pique our interest. For their playful History and Chips collages, Rémy Poncet and Arnaud Jarsaillon have raided the fridge and dressed up classic movie stills and vintage portraits with everything from smoked salmon and mustard, to ham and pineapple. A testament to the fact that food makes everything better, these old pictures are given a new lease of life thanks to a little bubblegum and a wry sense of humour.

  16. Qiu-yang-t-magazine-itsnicethat-list

    As editorial photography goes they don’t come much sharper or stranger than Qiu Yang, the image-maker who has been executing the strangest of situations with the cleanest of finishes for some years now. It seems this precise combination of bizarre but beautiful is working wonders for Qiu – echoing the carefully constructed still-life compositions of Dutch Renaissance artwork, he has clocked up a client list including Vogue, The Gentlewoman, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin and several series for KENZO.

  17. Olafur_eliasson_the_weather_project_it's_nice_that

    This week the most visited modern and contemporary art museum in the world celebrates its 15 year anniversary. After its transformation from derelict power station to beloved beacon of British culture, Tate Modern has defined a generation and helped open art to the everyman. Here, we look at some of the top moments over the last decade and a half at Britain’s leading arts institution.

  18. I-d-street-sound-itsnicethat-list

    Britain’s history is all the richer thanks to the the subcultures the country has fostered. Holding the placard for this shining reputation is i-D, the publication founded by Terry Jones and his wife Tricia in 1980 which has been celebrating youth’s weirdest and most wonderful for 30 odd years now. So it’s perfectly apt that this week the magazine launches its first ever TV series with Channel 4 looking at British style history, entitled Street Sound and Style.

  19. Studiodumbar-vbms-itsnicethat-list

    It’s all very well championing identity work for a cool club night or a hipster restaurant, but it’s more interesting to come across really impressive design for, how shall we say, less glamorous clients. And they don’t come much less glamorous than VolkerWessels Boskalis Marine Solutions, or VBMS, which specialises in “subsea power cable installation” (mmm, sexy). So it’s great to see the ever-excellent Studio Dumbar create a new look for the new company which was formed by the coming together of two existing entities.

  20. Kings-cross-pond-ooze-architects-its-nice-that-list

    I’ve slid down an art installation before thanks to Carsten Höller, and I’ve frolicked about in a room full of balloons thanks to Martin Creed, but never before had I literally swum in art until this morning. Bright and early, there I was shivering in art, thanks to a bathing pond art installation in a building site in London’s King’s Cross. The piece, formally known as Of Soil and Water: the King’s Cross Pond Club , was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč, and takes the form of a natural, chemical-free pool, complete with plants and bushes. And who knows what else – I didn’t dare think what one day could be lurking in there after the maggoty old python Hampstead Heath ponds story of a few years back. 

  21. Studio-mennicke-care-affair-its-nice-that-list

    Chatting to designers about what being a “designer” means these days, you’re often met with the same response – that titles like “digital designer,” “graphic designer” and “motion designer” are becoming blurred. The advertising and design worlds are increasingly passionate bedfellows, too, and as such studios are often looking to become jacks (and masters) of all trades. One such studio is Cologne-based Studio Mennicke, which can take care of pretty much any design task you care to throw at it, from film to advertising to curation to copywriting, illustration, packaging, wayfinding… you get the idea. It sums it up far more concisely than us: “We deliver straightforward creative services for all mankind.”

  22. Nick-mattan-itsnicethat-list-2

    Dutch furniture design collective Onbetaalbaar found a rare gem in Belgium-based designer Nick Mattan. Describing itself as a “research project born out of love for objects,” Onbetaalbaar (which translates as “priceless”) is both a workshop and a kind of think-tank “where furniture makers, upholsterers, writers, philosophers, product designers, restorers and graphic designers” can get together to work on a variety of projects – and with a brief that broad, it can be hard to find a designer with the right solutions. Nick has been working on the graphic identity of the collective for some time now, creating posters for various exhibitions and events, applying a consistent, relatable but still open-ended aesthetic to both digital and printed ephemera.

  23. Dandad-opinion-itsnicethat-list

    It’s Nice That founder and creative director Will Hudson was part of the D&AD Black Pencil jury this year. Here he is on judging one of the industry’s main awards, and why it helped change his mind about creative competitions…

  24. List-its-nice-that5.bob-_willoughby_hoffman_bancroft_bobwilloughby

    The red carpets are out, the yachts are moored and Sienna Miller and Jake Gyllenhaal are getting cosy with the Cohen Brothers on the judging panel. This year’s Cannes Film Festival opened yesterday kicking off 12 days of cinema and partying. And while there’s undoubtedly still glitz aplenty, the events of the past somehow seem so much more glamorous – perhaps simply because they’re in the past, but perhaps because of the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor and their lovely coats and the way they held a cigarette…

  25. James_irvine_it's_nice_that_list

    James Irvine is a name that carries as much weight in Italian design circles as it does in British. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1984, the Milan-based furniture and product designer worked under Ettore Sottsass at the Italian design studio Olivetti before striking out on his own and designing everything from Phaidon’s unrivalled stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair for several years, to city buses for Mercedes-Benz, and chairs for IKEA and Muji. Now, art publisher Phaidon has worked closely with his family and friends to release an intimate look at the life and work of the late design legend.

  26. Unnamed-1

    Ready your ears, engage your brains and assume the brace position – the new episode of Studio Audience is right here. In it we discuss Tate Modern turning 15, Assemble’s inclusion on the Turner Prize shortlist, Jeremy Deller’s Venice jukebox and a new show for the world’s best art forger. We also discuss Cass Bird shooting in the Met Gala toilets and the Design Museum’s Camper show.

  27. Alexchinneck-londondesignfestival-itsnicethat-list

    A 35-metre high upside-down electricity pylon was the stand-out project announced for this year’s London Design Festival today, but once again none of the headline projects are graphics focussed.

  28. Lukestephenson-pizza-itsnicethat-list

    Sometimes when you ask a creative about the genesis of their project the answer is pretty predictable, and sometimes it really isn’t. Photographer Luke Stephenson sent through his new series Pizza – a series of portraits of pizzas he ordered alongside the men who delivered them – but the initial inspiration actually came from jockeys, or rather paintings of jockeys on a collection of cigarette cards Luke stumbled across on Flickr.

  29. Secret-7-itsnicethat-hattie-stewart-8

    If you’ve passed through the hallowed halls of Somerset House at any point between 10 April and 4 May you’ve likely admired the 700 sleeves on show as part of Secret 7”, the best kept secret in London’s creative scene, and a pure, joyful celebration of illustration, photography and design. This year as always the line-up of names taking part was a star-studded bonanza, including the likes of Martin Parr, David Shrigley, Sir Peter Blake and Yoko Ono, and as of this weekend, the creators of each have now been revealed!

  30. List-anna-dunn-dot-magazine-its-nice-that

    For the past nine years, Anorak magazine has been making the lives of kids and their aesthetically aware parents that little bit brighter. The brainchild of Cathy Olmedillas, the mag proved to be a revelation in the world of kids’ publishing, which is all too often dominated by brash colours and here-one-minute-smashed-into-bits-the-next giveaways. Since its launch Anorak has spawned offshoots including teen mag Teepee, but its latest offering is Dot, aimed at the under fives.

  31. Ordinary-people-itsnicethat-list

    Ordinary People is a design studio based in South Korea, but if you think their name implies that they create similarly run-of-the-mill, humdrum work, you’re very much mistaken. On the contrary, their portfolio is so stuffed with first-rate creative projects, from exhibition design for Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art to some utterly irresistible poster design, that we scarcely knew where to start. So we had a chat with Jin Kang of the collective to find out its story.

  32. Owen-and-the-eyeballs-its-nice-that-list

    As our collective eyes and ears know, visual culture and aural culture go hand in hand. It’s a moot point that many bands form in art school, and that many designers, illustrators and artists have one eye on the easel (or screen) and one ear on their musical output. So with the news arriving that Tom Dixon is playing at MoMA this week in a band alongside Bradford Shellhammer, the man behind industrial design sales site Bezar, we thought we’d round up a few art and design stars who moonlight as musicians.