Article Archive

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    Gothenburg’s Goat are probably one of the most interesting bands out there at the moment. Their infectious fusion of world music, psych and heavy rock has captured the imagination of a now massive fan base, and their live performances are notoriously theatrical; the whole band costumed and gyrating like some kind of ancient Dionysian cult. Their music videos are pretty nuts too.

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    This top image by New York-based illustrator Karan Singh caught my eye on purely aesthetic grounds; it was only when I delved a little deeper that I discovered the interesting story behind the work. Karan was one of several artists commissioned by Ogilvy New York to work on the IBM US Open Sessions, whereby LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy created a series of tracks based on data gathered at the tennis tournament.

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    When you’re set a challenge by Google’s UXA design team, there’s the expectation for something pretty darn special to be created. Fortunately for Manual, they nailed their brief and created a smart, clean, eye-catching interpretation of Google’s visual language.

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    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

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    It’s tricky to put Ilona Gaynor into a specific art and design category. In a way she is a situation designer who invents plots and circumstances to explore complicated themes and ideas that are displayed like immaculately-designed premeditated detective stories.

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    The Daily Nice is one of those online phenomenons that’s been sizzling away in the big internet frying pan since 2004, and this month sees it celebrate its tenth birthday. If you’re not familiar with site (where have you been??), the idea is simple: every day its creator Jason Evans uploads one photograph of something that made him happy. There’s no archive, no social media feeds – just that picture taken by Jason on the site for 24 hours.

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    Anyone who’s worked for Ryan McGinley is probably covered in a lil’ pinch of magic dust when it comes to photography. Eric Chakeen proves this point – his personal and commissioned shots are a wild mix of humour and professionalism that is hard to come by. Working in New York, Eric’s skill lies in his ability to roam the streets and take portraits of people with true personality. From a guy munching on a cigar on a scooter to a dog in a post-vet neck cone, anything he turns his lens on turns to gold. You could argue that it doesn’t take much to get a good shot of Alexa Chung, but would many people choose to photograph her in such a stripped-back way? I think not. How great to see someone doing something that so many people are experimenting with right now, but adding that extra bit of style and wit. Cool guy.

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    It’s a widely-acknowledged fact that Tony Brook and his Spin team can do no wrong – they just design cracking stuff. So imagine our surprise when… no, just kidding, their latest project’s a belter too. Commissioned by Sim Smith, a London-based gallery representing emerging British talent, Tony and his team went about producing a slick, simple, monochrome identity that’s as unfussy as the artists the gallery represents. The logo, website and print collateral are all pleasantly understated, meaning the Sim Smith name won’t ever get in the way of the most important thing – the artists’ work.

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    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

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    For years I ventured no further than the hallowed halls of the lower floors of the V&A. And then, one day, like Lucy and Edmund tiptoeing upstairs to discover Narnia, I crept into the Theatre and Performance Galleries and found another magical wardrobe.

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    Welcome aboard the weekend! This week at It’s Nice That HQ we’ve been talking about the gripping new podcast from the guys over at This American Life, Serial, pondering getting on trains that don’t actually have drivers, wallowing in the sweet, sweet cheesy goodness that is the new BBC cover of God Only Knows and replaying the fantastic animation about online dating below. What have you been doing?

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    Earlier this week we covered Chelsea Louise Berlin’s fantastic book Rave Art which celebrates the flyers and invites that defined the acid house era in the 1980s and 90s. The article was a huge hit, bringing back some fond (and maybe quite hazy) memories for many readers, so with that in mind it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing this week’s Friday Mixtape.

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    Some design cultures outside the UK are very familiar to us, others less so, and it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into how others are interpreting the visual world, which is why I was immediately drawn to the Prague-based Anymade Studio.

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    The final of the Design’s Museum’s four Designers in Residence for 2014 is Patrick Stevenson-Keating. From its base in south-east London, Patrick’s collaborative design group Studio PSK works “on the changing landscapes within technology, design, science and society.” His work for the Designers in Residence exhibition rethinks our relationship with money, and in particular how we might address the fundamental disconnection from financial transactions we suffer in the digital era.

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    Earlier this week we mined our collective knowledge to see what advice we could offer those starting out at art school this autumn. Then we realised why stop there – what about all the amazing creatives we know and love around the world; what advice would they give those embarking on this exciting, and sometimes scary new chapter? So over the next few weeks we’re going to hear from a whole host of them, starting today with Jon Burgerman, Stefan Sagmeister, Carol Morley and Johnny Kelly…

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    The House of Peroni is back and as bold as ever, this time celebrating the dizzying cultural diversity of Rome, the birth place of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Combining the worlds of food, drink, design and film, contemporary Rome has been brought to London for one month only via a transformed townhouse; a four-storey exploration of how Rome’s rich heritage is being interpreted by a new wave of creative talent in Italy.

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    Few figures have impacted on the UK design scene quite like Neville Brody, and this week he announced the launch of Brody Associates, “a boutique studio network” that will specialise in digital, identity design and typography.

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    Only good things can happen when designer Leta Sobierajski gets together with online platform Print All Over Me (PAOM) to create this fantastic series of images for their website and lookbook.

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    Kennedy magazine describes itself as “a biannual journal of curiosities” and the Athens-based publication’s second issue has recently been released. The look and feel has been overseen by Commission Studio, who are London-based designers and longtime friends of the site David McFarline and Christopher Moorby.

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    I’ve had a soft spot for Akos Major’s photography for a long time now and his project Waters has been added to my virtual ‘like’ pile with no hesitation.

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    It’s funny how much of this interview with Kyle Platts resonated with me, as I’m sure it will with you. When you’re a kid violence is so cool – any excuse to watch the last scene of Braveheart or go to The London Dungeon is leapt upon with an enthusiasm you probably don’t experience as much now you’re older. As part of our Back to School month we wanted to ask some of our favourite illustrators to share with us some drawings they made when they were at school. I knew we’d get some gold, but I never expected anything this good. Here’s Kyle Platts on how his drawing has evolved over the years, and why he was so obsessed with blood and guts.

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    Hello and welcome to this week’s Studio Audience. This week we discuss plans for a floating cycle lane on the Thames, a complete Butlin’s redesign, the It’s Nice That Back to School feature and the excitement surrounding David Lynch’s announcement of the new series of Twin Peaks.

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    Everyday 24 million journeys are made across the London Transport Network, which is why the unveiling of the latest fleet of London tube trains is a pretty big deal. Of all the design we come across, not much of it affects as many people as trains that millions of Londoners will use day in, day out.

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    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

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    Spanish DJ duo The Zombie Kids are bringing some colour and mischief to the world with their track BOOM ft. Snoop Dogg, by enlisting the creative talents of Sawe under the direction of Tomás Peña to create a genius animated video. With hip beats and Snoop Dogg’s badass tones, the narrative sees a cheeky hoodlum, an old floppily-jowled man and a rotund police officer battling against each other, driven by their desire to be graffiti artists.

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    Recording people when they are…ahem..not themselves, is not commendable. Footage of someone off their tits is enough to make them lose their jobs but who are we to judge? It’s nearly Friday and someone’s just released a whole blog of GIFs made from footage of people losing it to deep house at Boiler Room. I love how if you were sober you would never, ever dance near the camera at the front of this infamous travelling night – but as soon as some booze (and maybe other substances) is consumed, BAM! There you are stroking a speaker as if it’s a fluffy pillow and gyrating as if your life depended on it. Well done to whoever made this. A big well done.

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    It actually takes a lot of hard work to make something seem effortlessly cool, but it helps if the raw ingredient you’re working with is, well, Jude Law. And your backdrop is the tranquil waters of the British Virgin Islands. This great new short for Johnnie Walker Blue Label opens with two men entering into a wager: if one wants to win the other’s vintage yacht, he’ll have to dance for it.

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    When a studio with a back catalogue as impressive as Hey’s relaunch their website it’s tricky to know where to start in terms of choosing what aspect of it to cover. Is it the crisp design of their now fully-responsive site, the beautifully conceived identity for a Miami-based jam company that represents the product’s moreishness through the medium of randomly-generated die-cut patterns, or the 500 unique invitations they produced for ArtFad 2014, a contemporary Art and Craft Award? In this instance all of them because, as ever, all of Hey’s work is much too good not to show off.

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    Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what our banknotes and coins would look like without Queen Liz’s face slapped all over them. As it looks like that won’t change anytime soon, I instead look to other countries for monetary inspiration.

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    Animator and director Tom Jobbins has just been signed to Pulse Films where his first assignment was a video for Tune-Yards’ latest single Real Thing. Never one for subtlety in her promotional films, Tune-Yards’ Merril Garbus already has a roster of punchy, colour-saturated films to her name, so Tom was tasked with creating something that stood up to its predecessors in vibrance and impact, as well as keeping things fresh to move things on for the new album.

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    In a world packed full of photographers focussing their lenses on the young and the beautiful, Andi Galdi Vinko is the antithesis. The Hungarian photographer has a penchant for the strange and the grotesque: a bare-arsed man embracing a tree, a fur-clad woman browsing a garish supermarket aisle, the thousand-yard stare of a wild-haired dandy, and that outright creepy chap with his taxidermy collection. Aside from being regularly unnerving, Andi’s photographs all manage to achieve a profound sense of spontaneity, each representing a moment of reckless abandon from her subjects or simply a chance encounter with something visually arresting – testament to her quickfire camera skills. She’s currently on the move between London and New York, planning her escape from Hungary because “the art scene here is kind of sad.”

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    At last month’s Nicer Tuesdays we welcomed four speakers who explored the art and craft of photography in very different ways. Olly Lang kicked off proceedings telling us from the off that he’s very definitely not a photographer; although his 200,000 Instagram followers may beg to differ. Olly talked about how he marries the technological advantages of shooting on his smartphone – the discretion, the flexibility and the sheer number of pictures you can take – with the artistic flair of the photographers he really admires, “who manage to capture so much flavour in their images.” The power of the phone is that it allows him to switch very quickly between creating and consuming imagery, and he explained how the right composition plus the right context can create powerful pictures.