Article Archive

  1. Things-05-05-2015-itsnicethat-list

    The last time I wrote a Things round-up was back in December 2011 so please forgive me if I’m out of practice. Of course I’ve been furiously tearing into the post on a daily basis since my last instalment, but I’ve not been able to wax lyrical about it as regularly as I’d like. I’m going to relish this opportunity. So without further ado here’s my top ten tasty treats from the plentiful pile of post this month. Somebody stop me!

  2. Lift-type-itsnicethat-list

    If you’re a young freshly launched type foundry, how do you go about demonstrating to the rest of the world how fun and cool you are? A Tumblr showing off your wares in situ is a good start, as French foundry Lift Type has learned. Their blog hosts a smattering of bright, flashy GIFs, mocked up posters, scans of printed specimens and playful headers, and it’s an irresistible invite to get involved with what they’re offering.

  3. List--itsnicethat-ppic0035_picasso

    It’s always great to see another side of the biggest names in art, and in this selection of posters from artists including Picasso, Henri Matisse, Yves Klein and Le Corbusier, our curiosity is amply satisfied. These masters’ works have been drawn together for a London exhibition showcasing lithographic posters from the archive of Galerie Mourlot, which originated in Paris but now calls New York its home. Each of the posters is lithograph printed, and all are fascinating; many showing a looser style to the ones we’re so familiar with from these big names.

  4. Sunnation-faragepints-itsnicethat-list

    The UK is gripped with election fever this week as we decide which middle-aged white man we want standing up for us at the world’s top table. As polling day draws ever nearer, media coverage is reaching fever pitch despite the fact it increasingly resembles a tallest dwarf competition. Kudos though to the creative community who have come up with a whole host of election-related projects ranging from the genuinely thought-provoking to the gloriously ludicrous. Here are some of the ones that have caught our eye and tickled our fancy…

  5. Radimpesko-fugue-itsnicethat-list

    Since we launched the new issue of Printed Pages a number of people have been in touch to ask what font we’ve been using on the promotional materials surrounding the mag – the lovely serif that’s been featured on our banner ads and Instagram. Rather than just get back to those people we thought it would be better to let everyone know, and blow the trumpet for the designer who created it too.

  6. Toroymoi-itsnicethat-main

    WHY has no one utilised the dry-ice in the fruit and veg section in a supermarket for the inspiration behind a music video before?! It’s strangely hypnotic seeing it waft all over the aubergines, falling gracefully over the shiny brown onions as if it were landing softly on the round toe of Gene Simmons’ shoe in 1975. Picture Pictures, the guys over in the US who have made some of the most fantastic music videos on It’s Nice That in the past few years, have recently completed this masterpiece for super nice man Chaz Bundick AKA Toro Y Moi.

  7. Tomium-itsnicethat-main2

    Last week a woman called Jaci Kessler emailed in showing us some of the art direction she’s done for Bloomberg Businessweek’s ETC section. As well as working directly with some of my absolute favourite illustrators such as Jan Buchczik, Golden Cosmos and Dan Stafford to make the spectacular, rule-breaking editorial features they are famed for, Jaci also introduced me to a whole host of other artists who totally blew me away. In particular New York illustrator Tomi Um, whose work is crisp, cute and funny and illustrates the chaos and cheerful aspects of modern life. Honing in predominantly on crowd scenes, Tomi is at her best when illustrating bustling ski slopes, busy shops or dramatic events like horse racing. Her piece for Popular Mechanics is neat as a pin, as well as representing the article she’s illustrating perfectly. No wonder she’s in such high demand at the moment. Well done Tomi, and thank you Jaci for the heads up!

  8. Nike-pacquiao-itsnicethat-list

    Did you watch it Saturday night? The Big Fight? The Fight of the Century no less? Personally, I didn’t; it was very expensive and a man in the pub persuaded me that watching people take punches to the head was morally wrong. But however you feel about the fight itself it’s impossible to deny the thrill of an event that’s captured imaginations worldwide.

  9. Weekender-list

    If you’re in the UK, IT’S BANK HOLIDAY SEASON, PEOPLE. We’re downing our pens and replacing them with pints, and we’re not going to stop until it’s Monday afternoon and we’ve got tennis elbow from all the lifting.

  10. Madethought-gfsmith-collection-itsnicethat-list

    If you’re the kind of person whose blood pumps a little faster when perusing beautiful paper, I suggest you sit down before going any further. G . F Smith has just released an extraordinary 400-page book which shows off every paper in its repertoire and it’s a thing of awe. Created with longtime collaborators Made Thought, The Collection shows off 45 paper ranges created over the company’s 130-year history.

  11. List-blank-editions-its-nice-thatchris-petit

    Collector’s editions, luxurious foils and sculptural, perspex packages are all well and good; and one of the reasons that vinyl continues to flourish in the digital age. But the real joy in music for many of us is in a sense of community, of doing, of making friends and persuading existing ones to be as excited about a band as we are. It’s those very visceral, social aspects of music that make it such a wonderfully emotive medium, and they’re the reason that graphic designer David Blanco decided to turn the skills of his day job to his out-of-hours passion: seeing great bands, talking to them, telling other people about them and forcing their sounds into the earholes of others.

  12. Manvsmachine-itsnicethat-list

    In 2014 ManvsMachine were never far from our thoughts what with their rebrand of Channel 4’s Film4 service, and their frankly breathtaking work for Nike’s Mercurial Superfly. This year they’ve already produced some sterling work for the likes of Honda and Xbox, so to celebrate this blooming portfolio of digital branding they’ve updated their website to better showcase their practice.

  13. Harrymitchell-itsnicethat-main

    There was a time a year or two ago when we were inundated with hazy, throwaway-camera shots of far off places and short-lived holidays. Nothing wrong with that sort of thing, but we’re definitely receiving less. When Harry Mitchell submitted his work the other day I thought this was going to be another one of those projects born out of a gap year, a cheap camera and some long-limbed friends. Turns out I was totally wrong. Harry’s documentation of India is absolutely mesmerising, highlighting the cluttered corners, particle-thick light, chaos, street signs and throngs of people. His series for menswear brand Neuba sees him stepping into an Indian tailor’s and snapping the archaic wooden machinery and cheerful, dusty faces of the workers with a quiet respect to their craft. Just when you start thinking Harry’s a one-trick pony you then stumble across his editorial portfolio and realise that his style is constantly undulating from ultra sharp to mega lo-fi, always remaining very, very cool.

  14. Christophniemann-esgibtnichtgutes-itsnicethat-list

    My colleague Emily Gosling wrote a great piece for the latest issue of our Printed Pages magazine in which she called out the patent nudity of the emperor by saying that in reality, the creative process can be pretty dull to witness. Obviously that’s not to say that we want to see slick creative work with all traces of the artist removed; in fact in our digitally-defined age we delight in being able to see the spirit of the image-maker writ large.

  15. Bbdfaotw-itsnicethat-list

    Studio Johannes Bissinger’s catalogue for the Stiftung Buchkunst, a compilation of the “BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD,” is a publication I’ve had on my desk since it arrived in the post last week, and which nobody has been able to walk past without picking it up to thumb through and remark “ooh, this is nice.”

  16. List-found-footage-film-festival-its-nice-that-magical-rainbow-dee

    When a digital format takes over from its analogue predecessor, often the rougher, nostalgia-infused antecedent takes on a charming quality. The fetishisation and popularity of vinyl is the prime example, but many also look to the big, bulky VHS video as something to be cherished. Few perhaps cherish it more than the people behind the Found Footage Film Festival, which is currently touring the world from its New York home.

  17. Merijnhos-itsnicethat-main

    When I see someone’s work and automatically create sound effects for it in my head, I know it’s super special. I’ve always felt like that for Dutch illustrator Merijn Hos’ work, and I tend to I hear trombones and comedy parps, whistles and one-man-bands when I peer at his celebratory, fruity characters. In his more subdued work such as his latest wooden sculptures for Kinfolk, you can hear someone playing a cello in a room a few doors down a corridor. His ability to hop like a happy frog from brand to brand, creating work that is totally different but perfect for each one is evidence of his genius as a commercial artist. Who else do you know who would get away with that drawing he did for corporate, slick sound company Bose?

  18. Black-yaya-comic-list

    You know Jeffrey Lewis draws don’t you? Of course you do. He’s been making merchandise for his own musical output since he first put audio on wax. You also might know that he’s a dab hand at telling surreal stories, both in musical and comic form. But what you perhaps don’t know is that Jeffrey’s a gun for hire (for the right bands) and can put together a hilarious, sci-fi inspired comics series for your latest release. That’s what he’s done for Black Yaya, the solo project of David Ivar. In it David battles various demonic beasts with his superior experience in the music industry, quashing their nefarious plans with anti-folk anecdotes. Take that!

  19. Unnamed-1

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words but where the It’s Nice That podcast is concerned, it’s the words that are doing all the leg work. Come with us into the thicket of this week’s offering and see what art and design treats we have in store. We look at JR’s cover for The New York Times Magazine plus Anorak’s new venture and an interesting project from Vangardist Magazine to tackle HIV stigma.

  20. Mobydigg-aandp-itsnicethat-list

    Say the words “management consultancy” and you’re likely to see the colour drain from the face of whatever poor unfortunate you’re talking to. The same’s probably true when a management consultancy calls up and requests that you take care of their branding. Aside from the packets of cash there’s unlikely to be many perks to the work ahead. Refreshing then that Moby Digg’s approach to the branding of M&P management consultants turns this idea of creative tedium on its head. Aside from the simple serif word mark and logotype they’ve given each member of staff their own painterly mark and accent colour by which they can be distinguished. It’s uncomplicated conceptually but brushes off the stuffiness with which this particular profession is typically associated.

  21. List-jon-bland-its-nice-that-50-things-1

    Graphic design has a lot of power: to persuade, to delight, to foster recognition. It also has the power to help make the scariest years of a school career that little bit easier, as a few recent projects have shown. One, which we featured last year, was the playful Studio Hato-designed tool for year six kids to express themselves, and now we’ve got the equally charming 50 Things to do before the end of Year 7. Created by designer Jon Bland and teacher Sophie Farrar’ the sweet little tome sets out tasks to complete during that terrifying first year into big school, and aims to help the kids – many of whom barely speak English – feel more comfortable within their school and their communities. The booklets were kept pared-back in design and printed on yellow school paper sourced directly from the good people at Manchester Academy, “a secondary school facing many challenges,” according to Jon.

  22. Scottking-popkultur-itsnicethat-list

    There used to be a comedy on British TV called Goodness Gracious Me which had a sketch where an Indian father would tell his son that every public figure you could possibly think of – from the Queen to David Beckham – was in fact Indian. There was something very funny about his claiming credit for anyone and everyone, and I was reminded of that idea when I saw Scott King’s new campaign for the Pop-Kultur festival.

  23. Aleccastillo-itsnicethat-main

    Groups of teenagers tend to gravitate towards big expanses of open parkland and grassy knolls. I used to, even when my hay fever was so bad I used to wear swimming goggles to protect my eyes from the pollen. Maybe it’s the adventurous feeling you get when you’re out in the wild, and how totally different it is to life in the small box containing your parents that is your home. Alec Castillo emailed a few days ago with these black and white medium format photographs of him and his friends seemingly doing whatever possible to not veg around in a house.

  24. 44flavours-lgc-itsnicethat-list

    In just a few weeks now the class of 2015 will graduate from art schools across the country – nay the world. For four years (at least) they’ve been honing their craft and developing their skills in the supportive student environment, but come the summer they’ll be leaving to make their own way in the creative world. It’s an exciting time for sure but it can also be quite intimidating with pressures and challenges as well as opportunities and new chapters.

  25. Daehyun-kim-itsnicethat-list

    Artist Daehyun Kim started to create his evocative, mystical Moonassi world out of ink while studying oriental painting in Seoul, South Korea, and has continued to grow it ever since. “The series is my life-time project,” the artist explains on his website. “There is no specific background story or a theory about the drawing. Each drawing is created based on my daily thoughts and feelings. I draw to meditate on myself and others, and to be able to see the whole story of the series in the end.” Daehyun operates out of a world in which the oceans are both shallow and bottomless, light is dark and dark is light, the moon acts as a torch, an eye and a character’s inner being are one and there’s nothing to do but reflect on your own existence all day, and it’s completely spell-binding.

  26. Charlotte-molas-itsnicethat-list

    French illustrator Charlotte Molas’ work falls somewhere between the masterpieces pre-school children make with blow-pens and water-based paints, and expertly stencilled murals. She deals predominantly in texture, having developed a soft shading technique redolent of vintage luggage labels and tourism postcards of yesteryear, to build modular figures which aren’t always necessarily what they seem. Girls dancing and jumping around is one thing, but some of her pieces present couples making out masquerading as mountainous landscapes, and silhouetted trees hiding far saucier situations. Obviously we’re huge fans.

  27. Oddwood-itsnicethat-list

    Since we last checked in Anders Bollman’s Oddwood project has flourished from a simple selection of hand-carved spoons into a whole range of salvaged and re-purposed products. The Swedish creative is a graphic designer by day and busies himself with whittling in his spare time, making benches, chairs, vases and cutting boards for anyone with an interest in timber.

  28. Design-museum-designers-in-residence-2015-its-nice-that-list

    The Design Museum has announced its 2015 Designers in Residence, which sees four young designers spend four months developing projects around the theme “migration.” They will work with industry figures and the museum itself to create work to be shown in an exhibition from September 2015. This year’s designers are architectural designer Chris Green, product designer Stephanie Hornig, interdisciplinary designer Hefin Jones and Alexa Pollmann, whose work explores the intersection of fashion and technology.

  29. Blommersschumm-here-itsnicethat-list

    You can tell that Here 2015 is almost upon us as we present our final speakers, photographic duo Blommers Schumm. When it comes to client lists, few photographers can boast the breadth or quality of commissions that Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm have worked on. The Dutch duo started out working on still-­life and portrait projects before branching out into fashion.

  30. Acne-studios-peter-schlesinger-collectionitsnicethat-list

    The most fascinating collaborations grow organically out of obscure details discovered through a working relationship between two creatives. In this case, that detail is sculptor Peter Schlesinger’s love of silk pyjamas, a gem which was disclosed to Acne Studios’ creative director Jonny Johansson. The pair met working on collaborations between Peter and Acne Paper, and the decision to make a book about Peter’s work in tandem with a collection of Acne pyjamas based on his prints, and in colours inspired by his ceramic glazes, seems to have grown naturally out of this bond.

  31. Oliviacharlesworth-itsnicethat-1

    At a time when debates surrounding art and design education and the way they prepare students for the creative industries are intensifying, Kingston University tutor Zelda Malan explains why it’s still so important that creative courses continue to teach ideas. You can add your thoughts using the comments thread below…

  32. Mattwilley-avaunt-itsnicethat-list

    Back in March I was on a panel discussing magazine publishing with Matt Willey. We spoke in some detail about the challenges of making magazines work; something Matt is perfectly positioned to pontificate on seeing as he’s worked at a whole host of titles and even started his own in Port (although he’s no longer involved). Now based in the States as part of Gail Bichler’s design team at The New York Times Magazine, he seemed to have found the ideal fit for his prodigious editorial talents, but a few weeks ago news reached us confirming that Matt was starting a new magazine with longtime collaborator (and Port co-founder) Dan Crowe, and the explorer Ben Saunders. Why throw himself into these choppy, challenging waters again?