Jc

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

jc@itsnicethat.com@jdmcartwright

1265 articles
  1. List

    It seems that Jacob Klein and Nathan Cowen are incapable of turning out a dud project. From their humble beginnings as a meticulously curated stream of stunning imagery to their present guise as multi-faceted design and art direction agency, the Haw-Lin boys just keep on coming up with the goods. This might not seem surprising to devotees of their original Haw-Lin blog, but it’s surprising how often arbiters of style lack substance. Not so for these boys; their fanatical eye for detail goes beyond simple aesthetic curation, extending into a portfolio of capsule collections for fashion brands, editorial shoots for the most erudite magazines and immaculate lookbooks that manage to add depth and pace to publications that can often be painfully bland.

  2. Pp-preorder-list

    We’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting to announce the arrival of the Autumn issue Printed Pages, but it’s going to be at the printers for another whole week, and we couldn’t handle the anticipation any more.

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    The death of legendary designer Deborah Sussman earlier this week has been keenly felt by the creative community at large. For someone who’d reached the very respectable age of 83, she was still ever-present in the public consciousness both for her continued influence over the visual landscape of Los Angeles and her seemingly boundless energy. She’d recently been the subject of a Kickstarter-funded retrospective at Woodbury University’s WUHO Gallery – proof if any were needed that she still had the ability to excite an audience – and as a result has been the subject of numerous magazine editorials over the past nine months.

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    In the year-and-a-half since we first featured Belgian designer Vincent Vrints on the site his fortunes have risen with the quality of his work. We were always enamoured with his canny ability to create aesthetically astounding imagery and merge it with equally appealing layouts, but he’s refined his process and embraced some new digital techniques resulting in a portfolio that floats between the retro and the ultra futuristic.

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    If we’re honest we lost interest in 3D printing for a bit there. After all the home-made gun controversy and the constant assurances it would democratise production processes forever more we had to deal very quickly with the reality that most desktop 3D printers were only capable of producing very small objects, and the materials they made them from were structurally unsound. We’re still holding out hope though.

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    The best of J.G. Ballard’s fiction is incredibly divisive. On the one hand readers are often disgusted by his brutality; an unparalleled ability to paint a picture of the world that is at once alluring and repulsive. On the other, devotees love that about him. As a result he encourages a near-obsessive loyalty among fans, for a body of work so distinct it’s been awarded its own adjective by the Oxford English Dictionary.

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    Circular is the members magazine of the Typographic Circle, a not-for-profit organisation that unites type designers and enthusiasts the world over. Included in its members’ list are names like Ken Garland, Angus Hyland and Jonathan Barnbrook, so the design of each issue HAS to be up to scratch. For its 18th edition the mighty Pentagram have continued their design duties, with Dominic Lippa and Jeremy Kunze overseeing the project.

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    When I was a teenager I’d have given my right arm for patches emblazoned with the lyrics of my favourite songs. It was the height of cool to be covered in brightly-coloured band paraphernalia (or at least I thought so). German artist Selma Alaçam clearly thought so too as her latest project Heartstrings combines some of her favourite song lyrics from the likes of Fiona Apple and Depeche Mode. The seven woven rugs – based on the traditional kelim, native to Turkey – have been hand-embroidered with bold typographic verses, whose personal importance is known only to the artist. To the rest of us these embroideries are like beautifully ambiguous album covers, enticing you in with their bright, bold colours.

  9. Main3

    Canadian-born photographer Stephanie Noritz lives and works in New York where she freelances for the likes of Monocle, Bloomberg Businessweek, Dazed and Confused and New York Magazine amongst others. Her imagery is defined by sharp lighting, relaxed atmosphere and – most importantly – a youthful subject matter – whether that’s kids skating vert ramps or fast-paced little league games.

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    Five years ago when we first discovered Swiss designer Mathias Schweizer (thanks to Côme de Bouchony) he was an incredibly elusive fellow, with no online presence to speak of and little work to be found anywhere on the internet. Since then he’s been nothing short of prolific, producing exhibition identities, posters, publications, typefaces, solo and group shows as well as out and out experimental pieces. In fact the one thing that seems to define his work is experimentation; with classic design rules broken all over the place in his vast portfolio.

  11. Kok-list

    Palm Springs-based photographer Brian Pescador is leading a double life. By day he makes his living chopping locks and trimming beards as a travelling barber, and by night (also quite often during the day, but presumably when he’s not cutting hair) he’s an incredibly talented photographer. Naturally as a resident of the Coachella Valley, he’s got a wealth of stunning scenery to go out and shoot whenever he sees fit, but the best of his photography marries the people and places of his homeland into an idyllic portrait of youthful hedonism.

  12. Opinion-list

    This week editor James Cartwright wonders whether it was right to remove the Chapman Brothers’ controversial sculpture Piggyback from a Roman gallery or whether it’s an affront to creative freedoms. As ever your comments are welcome below…

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    It’s plain to see that Lee Marshall’s artwork is a product of the digital age; his smooth gradients, vectorised objects and figures apparently created in an early version of Corel Draw all evoke the atmosphere of an abstract digital landscape. But Lee’s creations all exist in the real world as paintings, drawings and sculptures, bringing a unique physicality to environments we’d expect to experience on a flat screen. The Norwich School of Art graduate has been perfecting this signature style since his student days, but with an ever-increasing list of group and solo shows to his name we’re expecting more great things from Lee over the coming months and years.

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    We’ve been harping on about what a terrific illustrator, and all-round cheery chap Ryan Gillett is for quite some time now, and it seems people have been taking notice. Ryan now counts the likes of Virgin, The Sunday Times, Anorak and Smith Journal among his many clients, who keep him busy at all hours on commissioned projects. It’s not hard to see why either; Ryan’s cheerful scenes made with the sensibilities of a traditional print-maker ought to excite even the most severe clients. But he still finds time to do the nice things that remind us what a stand-up guy he is; like producing screen printed postcards to send out to all his fans (including us). When they arrived the other week they brightened up our days, and also made us realise it was about time to praise Ryan once again…

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    With Richard Turley now utilising his skills for the betterment of MTV’s creative offering, Bloomberg Businessweek has been left in the hands of his two former proteges, Rob Vargas and Tracy Ma. Rob’s work is already pretty well known by devotees of the title, but Tracy’s is arguably the most experimental of anyone working for a global publication like Businessweek. Her use of layout and typography is arresting to the point of distraction, but is always used in a manner that serves the story first and foremost. Similarly her aesthetic choices often feel informed by a lifetime spent online, with brash colours, textures and stock imagery proliferating her spreads – which for a title that deals with the politics and economics of the digital age feels impeccably on point.

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    You know how it is; you’re filming your latest music video, taking instructions from cue cards administered by an overbearing director when suddenly he’s distracted and is no longer showing you what to do. Do you stop what you’re doing and risk looking like a chump or just keep on dancing until the next cue card flashes up? This is the great existential debate at the heart of Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace, which sees him taking this line of inquiry to extremes; crashing cars and terrorising families in the process. Fun times!

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    Roosje Klap and Mathias Schweizer have just finished work on a pretty extraordinary piece of digital collage for Dutch literary magazine De Gids – a publication that’s been in existence since 1837. The images on display propose rooms that reference literary voices of the past like Ovid and Baiga, compositing various erotic references into surrealist dreamscapes. The pair worked on them in tandem in the manner of an exquisite corpse – building on each other’s work in stages over time – only instead of strange little bodies as the final product, we’re met with what Roosje refers to as “graphic sex cadavre-exquis!”

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    Suzanne Bakkum is a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague where she studied graphic design. She follows in an incredibly long line of talented designers to have passed through the city and already has an impressive portfolio to show for it. Her work is concerned predominantly with pattern and texture, creating typographic, abstract and geometric forms from complex arrangements tone and line.

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    Last week we were duped into running a project on the site that turned out to be a hoax. Here Rob Alderson explains what happened and why it’s left an unsavoury taste, while James Cartwright disagrees and congratulates the artist on a spoof well done. As ever you can leave your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

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    On 25 August 2014 XL Recordings launch Pay Close Attention, a one-off compilation album that spans the London label’s 25-year history. Over the years XL have worked with everyone who’s anyone in the industry, starting with underground electronic acts like The Prodigy (at one point they weren’t famous) and Hip Hop artists like House Of Pain, as well as Adele, Radiohead, Dizzee Rascal, The XX, Ratatat, Vampire Weekend and MIA. See why we’re getting excited?

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    Former Fabrica designer and art director Dean Brown has just upped sticks and left the confines of Treviso in Italy to set up shop in London. He’s spent the last four years honing his skills designing conceptual products, installations, interiors and exhibitions with collaborators at both Fabrica and COLORS as well as further afield. Last year we fell in love with his witty take on rug design, and now he’s impressed us again with his ability to turn knitwear into an engaging, immersive environment through texture and colour.

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    I’ll be honest and say that usually when I see the words “exquisite corps” in relation to a creative project, I immediately lose interest. So often this collaborative idea – used by the surrealists as a liberating drawing exercise – is used without imagination or flair. But a current exhibition at Walls Gallery in Amsterdam looks like a fantastic exception to my rule.

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    Dutch graphic designer Koos Breen has a portfolio that’s laden with extraordinary work. The Hague-based creative utilises unusual print techniques and 3D methods within a practice that’s highly experimental. Part graphic designer part fine artist Koos seems equally comfortable producing for for clients as he is inventing material for a personal show, but throughout it all he maintains a respect for form over function that has led to a highly aestheticised body of work in which posters, prints, textiles and 3D objects all come together to create a highly original oeuvre.

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    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

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    Moving Mountains is the brainchild of Hawaiian designer Syrette Lew, who founded the company in Brooklyn as a vehicle for her stunningly simple designs. She has a range of jewellery and bags, but specialises in furniture, having launched her first collection last summer. The objects are all hand-crafted from wood and maintain a timeless sensibility, drawing inspiration both from traditional shaker furniture and modern geometric shapes and colours. The resulting objects are simple but stunning, showing off the marks of the maker’s hand to highlight the uniqueness of each made-to-order piece. They’re damn good at photographing their catalogue too…

  26. List

    In the October of 2013 Braulio Amado spent (maybe) millions of dollars putting together an elaborate and comprehensive promotional video to sell himself to the graphic design community at large. He wanted commissions, he wanted collaborations, he wanted access to the megabucks – plus he shot actual bullets from his hands at the end.

  27. List

    Jack Featherstone, Hans Lo and Simian Mobile Disco have long collaborated on music videos for the band’s singles, using highly complex analogue techniques to generate visuals that complement each song. But their latest offering may well be the most complex yet. Six months in the making, Tangents features live-generated digital imagery fed through an oscilloscope. The guys filmed, it, manipulated it and then knitted it all together into a four minute epic that builds from monochromatic morse dots and dashes to a full-blown crescendo of strobed psychedelia.

  28. List

    Almost exactly a calendar year ago we introduced Dan Woodger on It’s Nice That; showed off his desk-space, his process and some of his skateboarding Dinosaurs. Six months later he was contacted by an art director who’d seen that article and enlisted him to produce one of the most labour-intensive illustration projects we’ve ever come across, creating over 1000 unique images for an emoji app. By way of apology for this torturous commission, we asked him a few questions about how it went…

  29. List

    I’ve got a confession to make; I’ve posted quite a few people recently that I discovered on the website of a Dutch Risograph studio called Vinex Pers. Viktor Hachmang created their identity and they count some of my favourite illustrators as clients. Their website is packed full of exciting work from fantastic creative talents and I’d like to show you just one more.

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    When we last encountered Essex-based painter Simon Monk he was busy preserving toy superheroes in plastic bags and rendering them with hyper-real precision. Secret Identity explored the strange imbalance of the powers ascribed to superheroes and the powerless inertia of their model representations. Since then he’s focussed his attention on one plastic superhero in particular, treating Batman with torturous sadism and restricting him with any binding he finds to hand. He’s been netted, taped, cling-filmed and roped down, trapped forever in a compromised position thanks to Simon’s dangerously accurate brushwork.

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    This time last year Sam Bradley had just moved up to London to concentrate on his fashion photography – which we have to say, he was pretty damn good at. This year he’s still busy working away on fashion editorials, including a lovely shoot for the latest Wonderland, but he’s been getting outside a lot more, shooting mountaineers, skateboarders and racing drivers in a style so crisp you feel almost able to reach out and touch the scenes he’s captured. I’ll admit a certain bias towards photographers working in nature – I go mad for a mountain view – but Sam’s managed to make even tedious, high-budget motorsports look exciting and unusual, for which he deserves an enormous amount of praise.

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    When Rapha launched their brand ten years ago they did it with an exhibition on cycling history and a book that documented some of the greatest stars and stories of competitive road racing. The book showed candid shots of legendary riders like Fausto Coppi hanging out in his pyjamas and Bernard Hinault in a grump on the train, exposing these famous gents out of the saddle, carrying on like normal human beings. To celbrate their tenth anniversary Rapha have re-printed and re-released the book (no long out of print) upping the print and finish quality in the process. The results, we think you’ll agree, look pretty spectacular!

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    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

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    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

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    Belgian photographer Wouter Van de Voorde started out as a painter in his homeland before discovering that photography offered him more of the creative freedom and opportunity for introspection than his original medium. Since taking up photography he’s exiled himself to Autralia where he uses his outsider status as a driver for creative expression, exploring the quirks and nuances of Australian culture and landscape in the hope of creating a sense of belonging through his work.

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    Belgian graphic designer Broos Stoffels has it all; great poster designs, great typefaces, great Dance Organ-powered drawing machine for the creation of custom vinyl sleeves – no really! The young designer is a former student of Sint Lucas in Ghent, a institution with proven design pedigree, and has spent the last few years honing his practical and conceptual skills into a fantastically coherent body of work.

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    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.

  38. 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.

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    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…

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    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.