Article Archive

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    Contrary to popular belief, libraries can be wildly fun and psychedelic places if you’ve got the right tools to work with. Here and willing to help me prove my point are Tord Torpe and Magnus Nyquist, who created an animation to this end. Entitled KHIB Biblioteket after the library at their school, Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway, the animation sees a bandy-legged gent wandering absent-mindedly up to his library door, only to be thrown head first into a world of Memphis-inspired jumping shapes, swirling perspectives, fast-paced bright flashing colours and lights and morphing letterforms. It’s an incredibly ambitious project for a pair of students and happily it succeeds magnificently in its task, even being awarded a prize by Norwegian design blog Grafill.

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    Marcel Duchamp, Kanye West and the cast of Star Wars – an unlikely dream team united by typography and the moving image. Liverpool’s FACT Gallery has selected these disparate figures among many more to explore typography in relation to the moving image, demonstrating in the Type Motion show that the two media combined act as powerful signifiers in society through art, film, advertising, computer games, and pretty much any other touchpoint from the past 100-odd years.

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    Art and music go together like warm Yorkshire puddings and gravy, everyone knows that! But it’s even more delicious when the artist and musician love each other so much that they collaborate again, and again, and again. Such is the nature of Norwegian duo DJ Todd Terje and artist Bendik Kaltenborn. Bendik’s been cracking out spectacular designs, posters, comics and illustrations for years and has spent his time of late designing album artwork for the wonderful Todd. Now I’m not saying no one would listen to Todd’s music without such appealing album artwork (if you’ve ever seen him live, you get the feeling that a lot of people love his music a LOT) but with sleeve artwork as good as this, how can people not buy it? Here’s to two good friends who are making a living by feeding off each other’s talent (Todd recently made special songs to accompany Bendik’s book!) and long may they continue.

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    At October’s art themed Nicer Tuesdays we heard from Jessica Vaughan, programme coordinator at Studio Voltaire. She looked at the difference between commissioning and curating and explained that at Studio Voltaire, “there is a huge emphasis on risk-taking, and putting the artist at the centre of everything we do.” Focusing on their latest show with Turner Prize nominee Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jessica explained how she helps bring this challenging and provocative work to life. “I work with artists not art objects to make things happen, she said, but conceded, “as a curator you do spend a lot of time thinking about funding.”

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    One of the best things about working here at It’s Nice That is when one of our colleagues tips us off to a creative superstar we hadn’t previously heard of. It was yesterday that our art director Jamie McIntyre casually dropped the name 44flavours into conversation and when I got round to checking out their work today it’s fair to say my flabber was ghasted.

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    Nick Turpin succinctly captures some of Londoners’ least comfortable moments – cooped up in the hot breath and bad smells of a sweltering bus in winter. It’s sticky, it’s awful, and time seems to stop still as the wheels crawl wheezily along. The beauty of Nick Turpin’s work is that it almost makes you forget all that, instead turning these seemingly endless minutes into painterly portraits of Londoners at their most bored, tired and exasperated.

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    It’s one thing slapping a Valencia Instagram filter on a photo of your roast dinner and mentally patting yourself on the back for your old school photography skills, but it’s quite another to have your subjects dressed up like they’ve just been zapped in from another era and then photograph them to an extremely high standard accordingly. Photographer Robbie Augspurger describes the motivation behind his practice thus – “I like to think of what I wished existed, and then make it” – which is very admirable, really. Especially as what he wishes existed is a series of glamorous headshots so decidedly retro in both styling and format that you wouldn’t think twice if you found them in an old shoebox in your loft.

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    When we get in touch with the people whose work we admire to ask if they’d like to be involved in the Bookshelf feature, we ask them to pick books which have been particularly inspiring or influential to them in their lives, and this brief might never been more closely followed than by Jessica Svendsen. Jessica is a graphic designer at Pentagram and teaches Typography at both Parsons and Pratt in New York, as well as working on a number of freelance projects which are as remarkable for the degree of research which informs them as for their bold, impactful imagery.

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    One of the many benefits of being a meagre 19 years old and making music so nice that thousands of people want to hear it is that you can play a teenage fangirl in your music video and nobody will bat so much as an eyelid. Greta Kline, aka Frankie Cosmos, can anyway; her new video for Art School sees her play a sweet, lovesick Justin Bieber fan happily hanging out in her own private Bieber-palace surrounded by posters, pencil cases and other paraphernalia.

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    Marrying a playful typographic approach, sensitive illustrations and deliciously tactile gold foil, the cover of The Recorder is a great indication of its contents: a beautifully designed ode to typography and its omnipresence.

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    Kids are weird. Granted I say this as a 30-year-old man with no children, no nieces and nephews and no godchildren, but in the limited dealings I have had with babies and toddlers and whatever you call those ones that are older than toddlers, they are all pretty bizarre. Artist and longtime friend of the site Lenka Clayton has confirmed my suspicions with her project called 63 Objects Taken From My Son’s Mouth..

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    There’s an endearingly open, experimental feel to the work of Barcelona-based illustrator and designer Joan Casaramona. Across his online platforms he’s more than willing to share every step of his process, showing sketchbooks filled with his dabblings in paint, collage, print and animation, offering a charming insight into his strange and multifarious inspirations. We were especially drawn to his works looking at wee Napoleon, rendered at times as a rather hirsute figure; at others like a little devil. For us his work is most effective when in primary colours that remind us of Fredun Shapur’s little characters, but one monochrome work really stood out – the great little GIF below where a woman joyfully strips off, baring all before taking her little black dress and wrapping herself up in it to form a tiny black ball.

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    Maybe it’s because it’s sunny, maybe it’s our sweet tooth; but following the lovely ice-cream branding from Lorem Ipsum last week we’ve been drawn to some more great designs for the frozen pud, this time from Moscow.

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    Parisian graphic design studio La Mouche et la Cloche was founded by Fanny Katz and Sylvain Henri, who met at École Professionnelle Supérieure des Arts Graphiques de Paris and worked together at Les Bons Faiseurs before setting up their own studio in 2012. The pair focus their efforts on concepts and typography respectively, allowing them to specialise in both, and this in turn creates a well-rounded spread of projects.

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    There were poignant scenes in Berlin yesterday when the city marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the wide-ranging ramifications it had for the city, the country and indeed the world. Unsurprisingly such an historic milestone inspired various creative projects, from the terrific 8,000 balloon installation which ran the length of the old wall to Airbnb’s animation about reunification and remembering.

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    “Family is like a soup, everyone adds an extra scoop, mix an ounce of smiles so sweet, a dash of cool to add the heat and you’ve got….too many cooks!” So goes the lyrics for a theme-tune to what looks like a 1980s/90s family sitcom à la Third Rock From The Sun or Home Improvement. It’s actually the latest work of the lords of online comedy, Adult Swim. This insane new infomercial is a homage to the opening credits of yore, featuring smiling children and chino-donning dads smiling and tossing baseballs at a seemingly unexpected camera.

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    The good people at ZEIT Magazin have an unerring eye for talent and so it’s always worthwhile flicking through to see who they’ve commissioned in any given issue. In the recent design special we came across this eye-catching work from Bruges-based illustrator Pieter Van Eenoge. It reminded us a little of Brecht Vandenbroucke, but Pieter has his own strong style – there’s a weirdness and an ability to suggest mayhem on both big and small scales which is really pleasing. Those giant pink bunny heads are almost certainly going to haunt my dreams for a few weeks though.

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    Describing himself as a ‘stuffmaker’, Mac Premo is a Washington DC-born, trilby-sporting collagist, animator, commercial director and carpenter. For a man with a name that sounds a bit like a burger chain ice-cream sundae, he’s really not done too badly. His fascinating, genre-spanning practice and semblance as an all-round good guy has now been brought to life in a charming film by Bas Berkhout, which is so beautifully shot that every frame could stand alone as a documentary snap of Mac’s life.

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    When darkness falls, the beach is usually reserved for inebriated frolics and skinnydipping, but photographer Marco Andres Arguello gives our twilight coastlines a new context with his series, Tungsten Beach. Marco focuses on the lifeguard stands and other structures that litter the sandy shores of South Beach in Miami, Florida but timed his photographs to coincide with Urban Beach Week, a hip­hop event notorious for wild parties and mischief. As a precaution, local police have started to set up tungsten floodlights around these structures for security during the event.

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    No one photographs teenagers like Jamie Hawkesworth. For years we’ve been posting about his ability to capture the infinitely curious in-between stage of adolescence, and quietly knowing that he’s the guy who’s currently got the monopoly on this topic. Recently though, alongside shooting youngsters for mags such as AnOther and The New York Times Style, Jamie’s has been lending his skills to some corporate magazines and brands – a far cry from his time roaming the bus shelters of northern England or the Whitby Goth Festival. This year Jamie was approached by Lexus’ magazine Beyond to follow two chocolatiers on a journey into deepest Vietnam on the hunt for a rare cacao bean. Slight change of scenery.

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    You could call it a kind of multivitamin of art and design knowledge, or a injection of irreverence straight to your brain, or you could just refer to it as a creative foodstuff with which to fuel your hangover come Sunday morning. However you like to think of it, welcome to this week’s instalment of the Weekender.

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    Back in May, Penguin relaunched its Pelican imprint – exhuming the series that first emerged in 1936 thanks to a fortuitous mishearing at King’s Cross station, as we explained in our Behind the Scenes piece.

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    It’s great when musicians are handy with pens as well as complicated musical instruments. Over the years we’ve always chatted about the wonder of people who don’t get enough pleasure out of one creative outlet and must pour it into another, and we’re pleased to welcome one to you today. JW plays in Leeds psych band Hookworms who have just released their spectacular new album Hum on Domino Records. JW is also a very talented illustrator and designer, and actually took it upon himself to design the sleeve for their latest release, along with a whole bunch of posters for their frequent, sweaty gigs.

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    There was a time when a great video was enough. Come up with the idea, film it with the right production values, whack it up on YouTube and watch the hit counter go through the roof. But that was then, and now viewers expect more. They don’t want to just consume online content; they want to control it. There have been several innovative and exciting interactive videos where the viewer can call the shots, change things up and make decisions that affect what they’re seeing. But too often this can come across as a gimmick, a fun but ultimately futile set of bells and whistles that don’t really add anything to the experience.

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    Just when Dark Igloo had surpassed all of our expectations with Bored Game, a parody of every Christmas board game advert ever made combined into one super film presented by a creepy wizard, they’ve come back with This is GIPHY, an of-the-moment news report about the state of the online world. The only way to enjoy it is to allow yourself to be completely bamboozled by a talking dog with a penchant for basketball, a man wearing a pizza going over the weather report (which is actually a report on the state of the Giphy homepage) and a rapid exchange of GIFs so prolific and so great that you’ve probably already emailed them to a workmate at some point or other. Those Dark Igloo guys are completely and utterly nuts, and we love, LOVE them for it.

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    Established in 2010, The Rodina is, in their own words, “a society of intimacy, love and trust where individuals may escape the competition of dehumanising forces in post-postmodern society.” Anybody else might refer to it as a visual communication studio, made up of Vit Musil, Radim Petruška and Tereza Rullerová, but the joy with which these guys write their About section permeates the entirety of their output, from completely bonkers posters to wonderfully colourful book cover design.

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    Frank Bauer is a portrait photographer in the truest sense of the word, in that he is exceptionally, almost astoundingly good at photographing people. His skill has won him commissions photographing some of the most famous faces in modern pop culture, from Miranda July, Steve McQueen and Jane Goodall to Iggy Pop, Grayson Perry and Ai Weiwei. With each of his subjects he captures some new, as yet unseen angle, offering his viewers a novel glimpse into their untold stories; whether that be artist and director Steve McQueen trying to suppress a yawn, or primate expert Jane Goodall gazing hopefully into the distance, her features softening to the point of making her seem childlike.

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    Music publishing is in a strange place. There are certain places we go to get our fix: Dazed, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, NME, ’SUP and FACT to name but a few, but the atmosphere of the industry feels slightly scattered. Do people still want their music news in printed form when the internet will always get there first? We were curious to speak to Hanna Hanra who is the editor of BEAT magazine, on how she started, why the hell she’s doing it, and what the publication aims to do. I asked Hanna who the magazine was aimed at and she answered: “Well, myself, primarily.” Here she is…

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    With its bright colours, bold lines and burger analogies, it seems bizarre that we’ve never featured the work of brilliant Breda-based design studio Hedof on the site before. The studio is really just one man, Rick Berkelmans, whose single-minded design aesthetic is deliciously versatile, working as well on editorial pieces as large-scale murals, clothing brands and posters.

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    Winter may be here, but let’s think back to sunnier times with this identity for an artisanal ice-cream shop by Serbian studio Lorem Ipsum. Initially founded in 2011 by Nemanja Jehlicka, Bratislav Milenkovic and Nikola Zmajevic, the trio have now parted ways with just Nemanja taking the reigns. Their new website has a host of interesting stuff to explore across art direction, design, type design and illustration, but we were particularly drawn to this work for Moritz Eis. Through the stylish logo, new wordmark and the bespoke typeface Nemanja and his team created, they’ve produced a look and feel that proves they have killer design instincts.

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    This week on the podcast we kicked off with a few thoughts about purported plans for a Wes Anderson theme park before moving on to talk about the new Ok Go video which is taking over the internet and the latest episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

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    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.