Article Archive

  1. List

    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.

  2. List

    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.

  3. List-2

    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.

  4. List

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Grads_judge_accent

    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.

  8. List

    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…

  9. Main

    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.

  10. List

    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!

  11. Main5

    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…

  12. Main

    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..

  13. Nicer_tuesdays_(park)_list_image

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

  14. Main9

    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.

  15. Main

    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.

  16. Main

    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.

  17. Grads_thursday_17

    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.

  18. List

    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.

  19. List

    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.

  20. List

    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.

  21. List

    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.

  22. Main

    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.

  23. List

    In light of our recent changes and the launch of the new-look Design Observer, Rob Alderson reflects on design websites’ redesigns. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and we’re particularly keen to hear what you’re making of our new look!

  24. Main10

    It’s so great to see the Nous Vous lads continuing with their quest to bring a gentle spark of inspiration to the general public. Their latest venture is an exhibition in the enormous old factory-turned-cultural centre, The Tetley in Leeds. A Watery Line will exhibit “drawings, prints, paintings and objects, producing new artwork in on-site open studios and working with a selection of other artists to deliver a programme of performances and workshops.” Ahead of the opening of this exciting, friendly show, we asked Nicolas Burrows to tell us a little more about the planning of the exhibition and what they hope the public gets out of it.

  25. List

    Remember the Speedo-clad old dude strolling casually through beach-bronzed beautiful people in Wieden + Kennedy’s hugely popular Southern Comfort spot a few years back? Course you do (and it’s still worth a watch in case you were wondering). Anyway Young Gun is the latest spot in the campaign and we think it’s another winner. If you’ve ever stood incandescent with rage as a barman holds up the entire queue showing off their “moves,” then you’ll enjoy this.

  26. Tris

    Sleek vintage cars, mousetrap swings, chance encounters with rainbows and days out at the races all feature in the varied portfolio of Tristan Cluett, a recent graduate from Kingston University. He’s spent three years immersing himself in his medium, getting out in the field to shoot cyclists in action or creating polished sets in the studio to provide backdrops for his unusual ideas. What seems key to the success of Tristan’s work is his openness to experimentation – he’s not content to be a one-trick pony – and the level of polish he applies to every one of his projects.

  27. List

    Every year thousands of gloomy-looking characters descend on Whitby, a British seaside town that’s steeped in folklore and literary heritage. Bram Stoker set parts of Dracula there, Robin Jarvis created a mysterious series of children’s books on its streets and a ruined abbey stands at the top of one of its cliffs, maintaining a physical, eerie presence on moonlit nights – and those goths just can’t get enough.They host an annual goth weekend which this year photographer Annie Collinge decided to document, stopping the black-clad revellers on the streets and in graveyards to pose for her potraits. The resulting images offer a fantastic snapshot of one of the most longstanding genres of alternative culture, though I say that with bias, as I used to be one. “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”

  28. Main

    I’ve always wanted to have synesthesia, the guys that do have it seem to be in this really cool club that can taste numbers and smell words, and it’s pretty hard to fake it. For those of us that want to feel like we have special powers, here’s an app from illustrator Julian Glander called ROY G BIV. It’s a simple concept – just hold up the phone to anything colourful and hear the phone play a noise. Well, it’s actually much more complicated than that. “The app takes colour data from your iPhone or Android’s camera and converts it into modulations for an 8-note synth,” Julian says. “Play a multi-coloured symphony with some friends, take a musical #selfie, experience a rough approximation of synesthesia. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with it!” Check out the rest of Julian’s brilliant creations over on his site.

  29. List

    As far as I can tell, there will always be a place for clean, stylish, witty illustration in the pages of today’s most esteemed media outlets, and for as long as that is the case illustrator Ben Wiseman isn’t going to have any trouble finding work. He’s nailed his aesthetic, communicating funny, satirical observations in neat, stripped back images and vibrant colours, and sure enough, clients have cottoned on. His portfolio includes a TIME magazine cover alongside work the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and This American Life, a corker of a list which just about makes him Brooklyn’s poster boy for editorial illustration. And thank god, because the black and white pages of the aforementioned publications sure would be dull without him.

  30. List

    Massimo Vignelli was one of the most important graphic designers of his generation and his death in May affected the creative community very strongly and very immediately. The tributes poured in (some of which we included in our piece here) but for some the response to his passing would take a little longer to formulate. So it was with Colorado-based studio Berger & Föhr, who began this set of tribute posters when they first learned of his illness.

  31. Nicertuesdays-outerspace-8199

    Next up in the talks from our space-themed Nicer Tuesdays is Hefin Jones, founder of The Welsh Space Campaign. Playing off “the tension between the domestic and the cosmic,” Hefin looks at how Welsh skills, trades and cultural artefacts can be recontextualised as part of an intergalactic future. From working with his brother, a plumber, on a space suit (“It’s pretty much like a heating system innit?”) to using traditional woollen mills to provide the fabrics, Hefin’s mission is an inspirational tribute to the potential of participation as a mass cultural force.

  32. Main

    Simple story, this one. A man gets a new next door neighbour and watches her through a hole in the wall (don’t try this at home, folks) and one day when she returns from a jog he gives her an ice lolly. Wanting to see her eat the lolly he looks through the hole but sees her instead dabbing it on her sweaty armpits. Enraged, he breaks into her house every day for the next few weeks when she’s out and wrings out her clothes into a bottle to make sweat ice lollies from there-on out. You know someone’s a consistently entertaining animator if the top comment on their Vimeo is: “Wow! you finally made something that is safe for work.” Bravo Wong Ping, bravo!