Article Archive

  1. David_burton_here_sketches_it's_nice_that_list

    In case you weren’t there, last Friday was the fourth edition of It’s Nice That’s annual symposium Here London – a roll call of creative talent and inspiring speakers. It was a great day packed with pearls of wisdom and slivers of industry insight: Annie Atkins revealed the painstaking detail involved in graphic design for filmmaking, talking through her work on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mike Alderson explained there was no wrong way to approach design and Iain Tait rounded things off with a call to arms that told us to say yes to the world’s best.

  2. Mia_international_sound_itsnicethat_list

    There’s something so wonderfully pleasing about synchronicity and in M.I.A and Gener8ion’s new video The New International Sound Pt. II, the discipline exuded by all involved is stunning. Featuring the 36,000 students of Shaolin Tagou, the biggest fighting school for children in China, it’s a spectacular sight to see kids of all ages perform these delicate but deadly moves in perfect unison.

  3. Richard_prince_new_portraits_it's_nice_that_list

    Richard Prince’s New Portraits have proven to be nothing short of sensational. The artist’s controversial series has seen him take other people’s Instagram posts, print them on six-foot canvases and sell them for up to $90,000. The only changes made to these images of everyone from Pamela Anderson to total unknowns are the bewildering or lewd remarks Prince adds to the comments thread. As of last Friday, ten of these new works are on show at Gagosian London. “The iPhone became my studio,” Prince says somewhere in the seven-page stream of consciousness that makes up the press release.

    For the last 40 years the New York artist has inspired everything from acclaim to outrage for the unapologetic appropriation that has defined much of his work. As the man who reprinted copies of JD Salinger’s classic teenage anthem Catcher in the Rye with his own name in place of the author’s, Prince has found himself on the wrong side of copyright lawsuits multiple times. Resulting opinions of him tend to violently swing between genius and good-for-nothing. In the case of the New Portraits series, Peter Schjeldahl writing for the New Yorker’s response to the screenshot-cum-paintings was “something like a wish to be dead,” whilst sex writer Karley Sciortino has said she felt honoured to be included in the series.

    In an unexpected but fitting turn, people seemed to feel slightly vindicated when some of Prince’s unauthorised Instagram reproductions were recently reproduced and resold by some of their original subjects, namely the LA-based group of alternative pin-up girls and burlesque dancers operating under the moniker SuicideGirls. “Payback!” headlines screamed, but this ceaseless loop of feedback and mirroring perfectly plays to Prince’s raison d’être. Even this is not the artist’s own, and in his ideas about enshrining banality and popular culture he is most definitely walking in Warhol’s slightly worn-out silver shoes.

    Mining the internet for source material is not new either, but as abhorrent as they may be, Prince’s portraits eloquently teach a powerful lesson in the trappings of social networking. They test public and private limits and have started an important and much-needed conversation about copyright and art in the digital age. They have also been sharp reminders that our self-exposure and digital exhibitionism doesn’t exist in the vacuums of our various feeds, but very much enters into public territory.

    The most absurd part in all of this postmodernist pageantry however, happened during my exchange with Gagosian’s PR when I asked for press images and was told, “I’m afraid that we don’t have permission to use any images of any individual works.” Irony is a beautiful, twisted thing.

  4. Florian_mewes_maak_plaats_itsnicethat_list

    As we all know Holland is much more than tulips and clogs, and this publication commissioned by the Dutch government is just one initiative that suggests those in power are keen to move on from this old-fashioned stereotype. Titled Maak Plaats! (Make Space!) this 400 page publication presents masses of research and proposes a strategy centred around transit-oriented development (TOD) for the north Holland precinct. It sounds complex, but the basic idea is to utilise the land surrounding public transport stations for housing and other urban functions therefore adding more value to the area.

  5. Ni-hao-kiti-itsnicethat-list

    Fine, so she’s not a cat, she’s a girl called Kitty White – but even so, Hello Kitty is my favourite of all the brands that have survived globalisation. The sweet anthropomorphic kitten was first designed by Yuko Shimizu in 1974, produced by Japanese company Sanrio, and since her inception she has risen to the status of a global megastar. So much so that photographer Antonia Henschel saw fit to document her presence across Asia – Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul are all included – and turn the series into a book. Published as part of Frankfurt-based press Trademark Publishing’s Picnic series, the sweet collection documents Kitty’s feline presence in the form of balloons, cakes, flowers with whiskers, fancy dress costumes, teddy bears and signage, and it’s a loving and chaotic ode to her enduring presence. Long may she reign.

  6. Ines-cox-kwintessens-its-nice-that-list

    We’ve long been a fan of the work of Antwerp-based graphic designer Ines Cox, who founded her own eponymous practice back in March. The latest project to emerge from her considered stable of great designs is for Kwintessens, a quarterly design and fashion magazine published by Design Flanders in cooperation with Flanders Fashion Institute. Since its launch in 1992, each issue of the magazine has been designed by a different creative, and Ines’ look for the latest issue, dedicated to the theme “from birth to death,” uses a grave-like grey cover and stark black lettering. For all its dark exterior, though, the pages show a deft eye for the power of negative space, letting colourful text and beautiful imagery speak through a careful grid system. From the typeface to the colourways to the commissioning, Kwintessens is a beautifully designed, inspirational piece of print.

  7. 9.koons_tulipanes-itsnicethat-list

    There’s been a lot of conversation in the studio recently about art exhibitions that beg to be photographed, and they don’t come much more Instagrammable than the Jeff Koons retrospective. Having started out at New York’s Whitney Museum and then progressing to Paris’ Centre Pompidou, the show has just begun the final leg of its journey at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, where we attended the opening last week; to take a selfie with the balloon dog, among other things.

  8. Wong-ping-itsnicethat-list

    I’m finding more and more these days that when an email from Mr Wong Ping lands in my inbox, my day immediately becomes ten times more fun. This is partly due to Wong’s email manner, and partly due to his inimitable ability to pick up on subjects which have never before been covered in animation.

  9. Nicertuesdays-itsnicethat-list

    Did you miss our Technology-themed instalment of Nicer Tuesdays at the end of April? Feeling a bit glum at having eschewed the opportunity to hear the founders of Territory Studio, animator Doug Hindson, the chaps behind Technology Will Save Us and the inventor of Sugru divulge fascinating tidbits of wisdom?

  10. Pieter_van_eenoge_itsnicethat_list

    Featured last November for his fantastic work for ZEIT Magazin, we’ve had another rummage through illustrator Pieter Van Eenoge’s portfolio and there’s some lovely additions. With a mix of personal and commissioned editorial work, Pieter’s style is as strong as ever as he gently weaves unusual characters into his sprawling worlds.

  11. Wnw_list

    There’s a million articles around about the benefits/pitfalls of freelance life, and even more about the nitty-gritty of going it alone – how to invoice, why it’s important to sometimes get dressed, the importance of “networking” and all that guff. The reality, of course, is that what works for one independent creative would be anathema to another. Especially in the creative industries, people each have their little nuances and peccadilloes, so we wanted to chat to creatives to find out what really makes life easier for them; from where they like to work, to Skyping clients in your pants to making friends with Turkish shopkeepers. We’ve chatted with five freelancers from Working Not Working, an invite-only global network of top creative talent.

  12. Offways-marius-burgmann-and-mike-magduschewski-its-nice-that-list

    Marius Burgmann and Mike Magduschewski not only sound like a buddy movie duo, but are also rather industrious and talented designers. The pair recently got in touch with news of their great new venture Offways, a brilliantly-designed biannual magazine that they not only design, but edit and publish, too. Based in Dortmund, Germany, the magazine looks to champion the work of creative types who make something because they love it, and to put it simply, they couldn’t not create it. It uses Grillitype’s GT Sectra and GT Cinetype, with a screen-printed cover and a hand-made illustration slotted into each copy.

  13. Martin-parr-henry-holland-itsnicethat

    Has there ever been a photographer/fashion designer duo as perfectly paired as Martin Parr and Henry Holland? The designer showed his new menswear collection under the moniker House of Holland at London Collections: Men yesterday. The collection was heavily influenced by the Magnum photographer and photojournalist, whose love of kitsch and heavily saturated shots of archetypal British scenes are a pillar of the British photography scene. The collection is available to shop right now over on the House of Holland site – which had crashed when we last checked in. If you want to see more in the meantime, Henry is Instagramming with the hashtag #MartinFuckingParr, which gives a hint as to how excited he is.

  14. Spencer_murphy_itsnicethat_list

    It’s a been a few years since we last featured photographer Spencer Murphy, but since winning the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2013, his portfolio has grown considerably and is just as stunning. His latest project The Dwelling is not only beautiful but it has fascinating origins. “At a time when I was deep in the throes of attempting to buy my first flat in London, after over a decade of paying extortionate rents in the capital, I found myself escaping to the woods, just the other side of the M25, the city still a throbbing reminder on the horizon,” Spencer explains. 

  15. Massimo_vignelli_itsnicethat_list

    Last week Timeless, Massimo Vignelli opened at the Disseny Hub as part of Barcelona Design Week to coincide with the first anniversary of Italian designer’s death. Created by Spanish studio Husmee, the show consists of 53 posters developed by some of the best studios and designers in the world including; Milton Glaser, Build, Graphical House, Javier Mariscal, Magpie and many others.

  16. Assemble_brutalist_playground_it's_nice_that_list

    Architecture collective Assemble and photographer Simon Terrill have resurrected an almost forgotten piece of post-war British design: the outdoor playgrounds of Brutalist housing estates. The wildcard Turner prize nominees Assemble have brought their characteristic playfulness to the strange and surreal concrete playgrounds of the 50s, 60s and 70s by recreating large-scale fragments in reconstituted, freckled foam and Memphis-esque pastels inside the Royal Institute of British Architecture in London. Continuing their work with public spaces the collaborators have dug into RIBA’s housing archives for an installation that deliberately lacks the fundamental austerity of Brutalist design and virtually undoes – either for better or for worse – everything these gestures of failed utopia represent.

  17. Studio-set-itsnicethat-list

    Jasio Stefanski and Lauren Thorson are Studio-Set – a creative duo who have been working together since 2012, and who now have a host of commissioned and self-initiated projects to their name. They’ve made work for the LA Art Book Fair, a Polish Film Festival in New York and a Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paulo, and each time they switch up their style, darting from brightly coloured printed posters to animated GIFs, with some happy book design thrown in for good measure. They might still be working out in which of these styles they’re happiest, but for the time being we’re glad to be able to revel in all three, and to give credit where credit is due to the studio’s flexibility.

  18. Carsten-holler-list

    Leafing through the Serious Art Critics’ reactions to Carsten Höller’s huge fairground of a show at the Hayward, I felt optimistic, smug even. “Old fuddy-duddies,” I thought. Yes, that’s it – they’ve forgotten how to have fun! Love-in, hippy me mulled over my kindly utopian ideas about how art should be democratic, how wonderful it is to have the wee kiddie-winks enjoying art just as us cerebral grown-ups can. Sadly, I’m now about to agree with the bunch. They’re not really just world-weary and po-faced, they’re right: the show’s really not all that after all.

  19. Candace_karch_msulmer_itsnicethat_list

    These images of 97-year-old Marie Ulmer from American photographer Candace Karch are incredibly charming. Marie is an artist and has been making a piece of work everyday for the last 90 years. Throughout Ms. Ulmer, Candace documents Marie’s life: in some images she’s in the throes of creating, others she’s reclining theatrically on a blanket-laden settee or simply reading with her magnifying glass. It’s a beautiful portrait, with humour and vitality framing every image.

  20. Weekender-list-itsnicethat

    The only event the Weekender is interested in this weekend is the Queen’s birthday. Yes it’s our Majesty’s official birthday this Saturday and as well as the standard parade, the Weekender has been invited to the saucy after-party to tear it up Windsor-style with the Royals. Champagne and strawberries will flow, everyone will do the cancan and the morning-after fry-up will be delicious. So consider this edition of the Weekender as the warm-up, the canapé to the main dinner party if you will.

  21. Bjork-itsnicethat-list

    It’s been a long old wait, but three months after dropping the trailer, Bjork has finally released her Andrew Thomas Huang-directed short film for Black Lake in full on her YouTube channel. The ten minute film was commissioned by MOMA as part of her retrospective which opened this spring, and focuses on the pain of heartbreak, in accordance with the much of new album Vulnicura, which was written following her split with Matthew Barney. Created in collaboration with the 3D design firm Autodesk, the film is an ethereal but powerfully theatrical offering, and sees Björk walking barefoot through Icelandic caves, ravines and moss fields.

  22. 2_music_henry-moore-(2)-its-nice-that-list

    A lot of designers talk about the thrill of seeing their work out in public – that cliche of having created something that your nan might see at the bus stop. Music’s identity for The Event Sculpture exhibition not only ticks that box, but manages to do so in 10,000 different ways. The campaign looks to reflect the nature of the exhibition itself, which is comprised of a series of momentary events. Each is unique and each and no two people will experience the events in the same way, and so the campaign uses unique pieces of print created using generative technology. The project was led by Music’s associate creative director Orla McGrath.

  23. Daily-overview-itsnicethat-list

    If you’re a person who relishes trips abroad for the opportunity to Instagram cloud photos from the airplane window, then we’ve got just the project for you. The Daily Overview is a website which provides a collection of images of the Earth’s surface, taken from up high. Up very high, in fact. But this isn’t a concept driven by aesthetics.

  24. Aoi_shortlist_itsnicethat_list

    The Association of Illustrators (AOI) has announced the first batch of shortlisted entries for its 2015 awards. Reviewed by a jury of international industry professionals, the shortlist reflects the work created “by illustrators currently making an outstanding contribution to visual culture.” Sifting through over 2000 entries, the shortlist comprises eight categories including; Children’s Books, Editorial, Self-Initiated and New Talent, among others.

  25. Arts-admin-treexoffice-its-nice-that-list

    East London’s Hoxton Square is temporarily home to a treehouse office, as part of the London Festival of Architecture. But as Nathan Barley as it all sounds, it’s actually not all that bonkers an idea, and was devised as a way of exploring how we can sustain and enhance public open spaces. The project was produced by Artsadmin and created by Natalie Jeremijenko in collaboration with artists Shuster + Moseley, architects Tate Harmer and briefing architects Gensler, and comprises eight workspaces for “creative workers” and community groups, who can hire it throughout the installation’s seven month tenure. It’s made of compressed paper with see-through plastic and translucent polycarbonate making up the outer walls, aiming to “blur the boundary between office and nature.”

  26. Yard-press-22-new-york-polaroids-its-nice-that-list

    If Polaroid pictures, New York City, Andy Warhol and attractive naked girls don’t make for a heady aesthetic mix, we don’t know what does. Brace yourselves then for this lovely book, New York Polaroids 1976–1989, showcasing images by Swiss photographer and director Edo Bertoglio. While it’s all well and good that the images narrate his time hanging out with the likes of Madonna, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and the aforementioned Mr Warhol, they also manage to capture time and place in the way only Polaroids and true party people can. Edo arrived in New York with Maripol, his artist, filmmaker and stylist wife, and he explains in the book the exact moment he realised he was utterly in love with the city. “Everything started between 5th and 34th Street, on a clear and cold afternoon… All of a sudden we hugged, with tears in our eyes, terrified by the metropolis, by our own loneliness and the lack of stable work,” he says.

  27. Fontsmith-fs-silas-its-nice-that-555-list

    Typophiles can get a bit of stick sometimes. Sarah Hyndman, the founder of Type Tasting has even quoted our very own Rob Alderson as saying “typography is seen as the least sexy design discipline.” It’s about time then that someone launched a typeface with a spy movie (albeit a short, delicious abstract one). That’s exactly what Fontsmith has done for its new face FS Silas, possibly the most heavily PRd typeface we’ve encountered. Days before its launch we’ve been breathlessly emailed with instructions to brace ourselves for an exciting announcement and when it arrived it was with no shortage of fanfare – a good number of further missives from all corners and the aforementioned film.

  28. Nick-liefhebber-itsnicethat-list

    Jack of all trades Nick Liefhebber is the Dutchman at the helm of Liefhebber Ontwerp, a Utrecht-based design studio which specialises in identity, website and typography design, films, flyers, infographics, exhibitions…you name it. And in the mix is a selection of riso-printed illustration so good that we keep on coming back to it.

  29. List-vice-id-beauty-evolution-its-nice-that-

    Is it still FOMO if you feel like you’re there? A bigger question for another time perhaps, but if you’ve ever felt like you’re missing out on the best parties with the most fabulous, stylish people, this film might slake your desperate, lonely, glitterless hunger. The film in question is from i-D, and its a relentlessly sparkling romp through time and glamour, in honour of the mag’s 35th birthday.

  30. Hexus-itsnicethat-list

    Experimental literature publications arguably have a pretty raw deal of it when it comes to first impressions. Too often they’re immediately written off as a slew of black text crammed unthinkingly into a zine format, when in fact the very genre lends itself to something a little more thoughtful. Hexus journal takes the latter form. The first issue, subtitled The New Black, was designed by Christopher Gray, who has set out a selection of experimental texts – short stories, poems and the like – in a pared-back but concise format, with bold headers interspersed with tailor-made imagery to set the mood, with chunky black borders to differentiate between sections. The journal is almost Tristram Shandy-esque in its employment of solid black pages, broken paragraphs and the occasional music stave, resulting in a publication which demands not only to be picked up, but also to be read. Cover to cover. Potentially more than once.

  31. Linder-sterling-its-nice-that-list

    I can honestly say that Linder Sterling is one of the reasons I became interested in graphic design. As a teenager who wanted to look cool and interesting, I picked up The Buzzcocks’ Orgasm Addict record: not necessarily because they appeared on all the punk anthology CDs I was borrowing from a small, fusty library near Guildford, but because of Linder’s image on the Malcolm Garrett-designed cover. There’s something about that image – a woman with an iron for a head from an Argos catalogue, on the body of a porn model – that really blew my mind. It still does. While many have imitated her style, Linder’s still resonates as the most caustic and evocative, placing flowers over porn-ready genitals and catalogue cutouts where you’d least expect them.

  32. Kokoro_moi_itsnicethat_list

    Design studio Kokoro & Moi has created this wonderfully bright identity for the Guggenheim Helsinki NOW exhibition recently on show at the Taidehalli in the city. As part of the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is seeking a visionary design for a proposed Guggenheim museum in Helsinki.