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.


1194 articles
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    As image-makers go, Parisian photographer François Coquerel pretty much does it all. The 34-year-old maintains an open approach to his practise that means portraits, still life, reportage and fashion all feature equally in his portfolio and demonstrate the same effortless prowess. Still, his portraits are truly something to behold, capturing the essence of their subjects whether they feature seasoned celebrities like Vivienne Westwood, or friends of the photographer with whom the viewer has no prior relationship. Impressive stuff.

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    Normally when we feature a photographer like Grégoire Grange, we extoll the virtues of taking the mundane aspects of everyday life and making them seem somehow more exciting, less grey or even transforming them into something otherworldly and surreal. Not so with this Bordeaux-based photographer who seems more than happy to simply let the mundane speak for itself. Whether he’s walking the streets of his hometown picking out parked cars and empty cafés, or taking his first trip to America to focus on the minutiae of a dropped McDonald’s cup, one never feels that Gregoire is trying to put his subjects on a pedestal. His images are just beautifully-composed snapshots of world’s we’re all familiar with, yet somehow they stand out in spite of that.

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    If you read this website regularly there’s a good chance that at worst, you have a passing interest in books, and at best you’re a die-hard bibliophile. Though we try and keep on top of some great books on It’s Nice That, there’s still a tonne of beautiful volumes that slip through the net. Which is why resources like Bernd Kuchenbeiser’s A Good Book are so brilliant, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the documentation of beautifully written, exceptionally designed works of literature, history, architecture and design. The user-generated archive allows readers to submit their own favourite books to the already huge list, meaning we can all enjoy the rare collections and one-off collectors editions that would otherwise disappear from general circulation.

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    Eight months ago we crowned second year Falmouth illustrator David Doran our Student of the Month because his work was just plain awesome. The discipline and skill on display in his illustration was second to none and it’s only improved since. Also improved is David’s client list, which now includes The New York Times, Wrap, Hunger and Plansponsor which, given he’s still not graduated, is nothing short of extraordinary. So hats off to you David for being such an impressive illustrator – we’re sure your classmates must be deeply intimidated.

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    It feels like forever I’ve been on the hunt for a really great illustrator making work almost exclusively about the dark ages. Most commercial image-makers are so caught up in the here and now that they forget the wealth of inspiration available from mankind’s most barbaric era; the bear-baiting, the bloodthirsty duels, perpetual burning of witches and the frankly disgraceful personal hygiene.

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    We’ve been huge fans of Stefan Glerum’s work since we came across him way back in 2010. His distinctive ligne-claire style is fused with a colour palette that borrows from Toulouse Lautrec and vintage sci-fi posters with extraordinary results. He’s also got a penchant for the weird that we can’t get enough of. That said, we weren’t expecting him ever to venture into animation, or to be as delighted with the results when he did. But his debut piece of film for Dutch electro band RipTide is as stunning a piece of animation as we’ve laid eyes on in ages, drawing on the very best of his illustrative style and elevating it with cinematic storytelling and slick production from crooked line.

  7. Katie-list

    Way back in April 2011 we found Katie Scott’s work in a pile of emails and our minds were blown. The third-year Brighton illustration student was crafting some of the most intricate and beautiful imagery we’d seen in a long time, inspired by Japanese medical illustration, alchemical drawings and the elaborate biological paintings of Ernst Haeckel.

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    London-based studio MuirMcNeil have recently released four new digital typefaces and, to celebrate, four beautifully screen-printed specimen posters. The studio was set up in 2010 by Hamish Muir and Paul McNeil as a vehicle to explore parametric design systems – an algorithmic mode of design – within typography. The four faces draw on a variety of inspirations, many with historical foundations.

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    Illustration student Chritian Königsmann may still be in education, but his portfolio is already something to behold. Since the middle of last year he’s been experimenting heavily with his aesthetic direction, channelling the likes of Golden Cosmos and Ugo Gattoni to see what fits. Now he’s arrived upon a style that seems entirely his own, combining traditional print techniques and tonal shading to create truly charming illustrations. His work in progress shots of a comic dedicated to club scenes are a particular delight.

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    Since September 2012 Matthias Friderich and Julian von Klier (also known as Strobo) have been responsible for the branding and identity of Kunsthalle Bielefeld, a prestigious contemporary art gallery in north west Germany, where they’ve developed an existing identity by Thomas Mayfried and Swantje Grundler. The duo graduated in 2011 from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and The University of the Arts, Berlin respectively where they’ve honed impressive skills, particularly in typography.

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    To show off the latest features in Sony’s new lens-style QX100 camera-phone, Wieden+Kennedy Portland have put together a stonker of a campaign that combines childlike wonderment with cutting-edge miniature film-making.

  12. Lists

    There’s a lot of great process films out there that take you behind-the-scenes in the studios of fashion designers, illustrators, artists and designers. There’s absolutely shed-loads that demonstrate a specific print technique in real depth, but there’s really not many that show the intricacies of a process with enough detail to allow you to have a crack at it yourself while simultaneously captivating your imagination with the simple poetry of the process on show.

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    Japanese/Milanese design studio Nendo have been creating challenging products, buildings and experiential environments since 2003, led by the creative vision of Oki Sato. Their approach to design is always one of new and progressive thinking, taking products that we see as everyday due to their ubiquity and reevaluating our whole experience of using them. As a result these guys are highly sought-after; everyone wants of piece of their design philosophy.

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    James Graham has been a fully-fledged freelance illustrator for going on two years now. The RCA graduate has built up an extraordinary portfolio of sharp editorial illustration that can transform the most mundane of subjects (home insurance, tax returns, reliable computer hardware) into witty, brilliant imagery that grabs you by the retinas and holds you there. Since we last checked in with him it seems he’s been reducing his practice into even simpler forms, boiling his image-making down into a simple graphic language of monochrome perfection.

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    Danish designer Camilla Bengtsen has done a terrific job of reinventing global retail chain Intersport, providing them with an identity that’s much more fit for purpose than the current set of brand guidelines they follow. Her approach was to take some of their most popular products and reduce them to a series of graphic icons – a pair of Adidas trainers become eight blue rectangles, Nike’s Lebron basketball is minimised to four bold lines – unifying the brand with a simple graphic language and allowing each individual product its own distinct visual. For a piece of personal work this is a terrifically considered project; it’s just a shame Intersport haven’t commissioned it.

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    Not since July 2011 have we checked in with French illustrator Paul Loubet and his playful, multi-layered illustration. Thankfully he’s still producing sensational images that combine neon colour palettes, platform-game aesthetics and characters rendered like futuristic punks. He’s also added a new strand to his work; big, bold paintings that reference 1980s hair-metal album covers and all the best bits of glam rock. It’s pretty weird but we bloody love it!

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    Bradford-born photographer Robert Chilton has a formidable talent for creating simple, bold images that turn all the mundanity of daily life into something acutely interesting. He shoots dilapidated houses, the fringes of allotments, pylons, flower beds and rock faces – all fairly straightforward stuff – but manages to imbue each image with a poignant sense of narrative and purpose; as though a momentous event might be about to occur. He’s also a brilliant portrait photographer. Witness the man with a rabbit, the woman and her dog and a number of bearded eccentrics. Lovely!

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    I found out today that Viktor Hachmang and I are the same age which, if I’m honest, really pisses me off. I’ve been watching this guy improve and diversify over the past few years with eager anticipation – it’s extraordinary to see what new stands of imagery he adds to his oeuvre with each new update – but was convinced that he had to be at least 35 years old. His style fuses traditional ligne-claire with bright psychedelia, bold abstraction with delicate, figurative mark-making and he switches fluidly between retro-futurism and traditional subject matter. Nobody in their 20s should have such an expert mastery of draughtsmanship and a brilliant imagination to boot. But he does, he REALLY does, and for that he deserves our utmost respect.

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    The start of February means only one thing for the people of Stockholm; Design Week. This year is no different from any other and the city’s streets will be littered with the produce of Scandinavian and international craftspeople. As ever the annual Örnsbergsauktionen is in full swing, with some truly bizarre and beautiful objects up for sale from the likes of Nathalie Du Pasquier, Lex Pott and Stina Lofgren. There’s luxury jewellery made from human hair, a table that glows in the dark and an extraordinary machine made from a mutilated SodaStream – which is why we keep on enjoying this auction year in, year out.

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    We’ve been following Carrie Strine on Instagram for a good few months now, watching her large-scale textile projects evolve and develop over time. She’s a New York-based quilter who specialises in doing everything by hand, which means she has the patience of a saint. She’s also got an exceptional eye for colour and composition, meaning her quilts are nothing like the tawdry swathes of fabric your grandma used to pile up on her bed – these are vibrant, exciting pieces of bold geometric pattern and minute hand-detailing that it’s actually possible to lust after.

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    Before setting up on his own practice under the name Scott Reinhard Co. Scott was a senior designer at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, producing a prolific stream of artist books, exhibition catalogues, signage, way-finding, promotional materials and all the other trappings of graphic design for the professional art market. Now that he’s out on his own he’s widening his remit a little, taking on branding (he’s the man responsible for Colossal’s identity), print and book projects for clients all over Chicago. Even so he’s still got time to produce some fantastically lo-fi personal work like this selection of riso prints and a poster dedicated to Woody Guthrie. Nice to see that even the pros still like to have fun in their spare time.

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    With three posts on the site since August 2012 (one each from myself, Liv and Maisie) it’s safe to say that Sergio Membrillas is a firm favourite here in the It’s Nice That offices. We love the way he can turn his signature style to literally any subject – Chinese industry, the stock market, television addiction, or just a straight-up gig poster – and make it both engaging and beautiful.

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    In honour of the relaunch of Carl Burgess’ More Soon site (the home of his team’s phenomenal work) I’ve gone through and watched every single piece of film and 3D animation to choose the “best bit” to post today. I’ve seen in-store visuals for Prada, a stunning collaboration with Jonathan Zawada, Thomas Traum, Tom Darracott and Pharell Williams, re-watched his video for Ratatat’s Drugs and enjoyed some lovely fashion films for Kenzo.

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    If there’s one thing that Parisian designers Ill-Studio know better than anything else it’s 90s pop culture. The pair seem to base their entire practice around FILA leisurewear, contemporary cartoons, any number of pairs of AirMax and that horrendous DVD logo that haunted us through the early years of films on disc.

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    In the era we grew up in we’d sadly missed the golden age of music magazines. The NME had long since lost the relevance it once prized so highly, Rolling Stone was similarly falling from grace and we had to battle with a slew of dubiously-written metal titles like Rock Sound and Kerrang! who championed some truly terrible bands (though maybe as an ex-goth that’s a problem specific to me). But then we found Pitchfork at just the right time, pointing its fingers in the direction of excellent new music and embracing the kind of critique that most had abandoned in favour of indie celeb-spotting and Smash Hits-style boot-licking. And it was all available for free on the new-fangled internet.

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    Berlin-based artist Maiko Gubler can usually be found creating deceptively three-dimensional imagery utilising a mixture of 3D modelling software. She’s created glossy ceramic-like fruits for magazine covers, metallic fish for German club albums but now she’s actually making objects that exist in the real world. Her collection of Gradient Bangles are created from 3D-printed gypsum and uniquely coloured to create an extraordinary range of jewellery. Lovely stuff.

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    One of the great things about having niche interests in Japanese comics that nobody else in the office cares about is that sometimes I stumble across a piece of historic gold. This time round I came across an archive of behind-the-scenes stills from various Godzilla films, shot between the mid-1950s and early 1960s, while on the hunt for some god-awful Manga. And because it’s Friday, how could I not share these gems with you. Look at that shirtless man tramping around a tiny Tokyo with his lizard legs! Thank me later.

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    I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret; most artist books are incredibly tedious. For one reason or another artists and designers can’t seem to get their act together to collaborate on printed works that are formally beautiful and rigorously conceptually communicative. Either the artist is too precious, the designer too zealous or the whole thing gets lost in a web of conceptual nonsense that renders the reading experience hopeless. And so good ones don’t come along very often.

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    Rodan Kane Hart is a South African artist and graduate of the Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town. Having only received his bachelors degree in 2011 he’s got a pretty impressive body of sculptures to his name already that broadly deal with the colonial origins of modern South Africa. Though I’d struggle to say that I appreciate the fine details of the concepts behind his practise, I’m incredibly impressed by his use of materials; the balance of industrial and natural substances and the interplay he creates between geometric forms and landscape. Definitely one to watch.

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    Elena Stonaker is part fine artist, part fashion designer with the sensibilities of a quilter thrown in for good measure. She makes dolls, paints pictures, and fashions bizarre wearable sculptures from amalgamations of fabric, jewels and imagery that sit somewhere between tapestry and garments. In short, she is one of a kind.

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    In about 12 hours Laurel Golio is off to shoot a story for the next issue of Printed Pages, and as we were emailing I realised she’d never been featured on the site before. Time to acquaint you.

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    Since we featured his collaborative graduate film Eclipse in 2012, ex-Goebelins student Theo Guignard has busied himself working for French animated film giants Xilam. He now spends his days designing backgrounds for Je Suis Bien Content, experts in animation for television. Thankfully, for those of us that love his personal work, he’s still creating imagery for himself – hunched over a desk late at night we’d imagine. His inky sketches have a retro-futuristic feel to them, featuring strange characters composed from loose geometric shapes and rendered in ink-washes that lend them an antiquated feel. They might not move around on cue, but they’re pretty spectacular to look at all the same.

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    This is now the fifth time we’ve featured Swedish studio Bedow’s work on the site. First it was for thermosensitive beer labels that changed design according to their temperature, then for some incredibly tasteful cosmetics packaging. Next there was the book about hand-carved spoons and then finally this record label identity.

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    What do you get if you combine the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of O’ahu, some pro-surfers and a quadrocopter with GoPros attached? (This isn’t a joke by the way, the answer isn’t even funny). You get the most mind-bending surf film you’ve ever laid eyes on. This four-minute snapshot of (tubular) genius is the work of Eric Sterman, a young Hawaiian surf film-maker, and is a compilation of the best wave rides of the 2013 season. Not much else to say here apart from just continuing to babble on about how great this is, so just sit back and enjoy!

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    Before there were cycling cafes, before fixed gear bikes became the trademark of hipsters, before the word hipster even existed (just imagine it!) being a cycle courier was just another way of making a living, and not some kind of misguided fashion statement. Don’t believe me? Check out these photos of cycle couriers in Toronto that were taken over 20 years ago. Look at them all, relaxing for lunches in summery parks and hammering it across town in the bitter snow. Looks like fun right? And it makes us nostalgic for something we’ve never, ever experienced. Thank you Trevor Hughes for sharing these gems.

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    Tal R is an artist usually recognisable for his vibrant use of colour. He’s built his reputation on packing every degree of the spectrum into a single canvas. So long-term fans might be surprised to discover that his latest book, The Moon , is much more chromatically restrained than usual, printed in muted blues and reds. Don’t worry though, inside you’ll find that Tal’s sense of mischief is still very much intact, the characters within engaging in all sorts of lewd acts and deviant behaviour. They’re all smiling too, so what’s not to enjoy?

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    To announce the results of the 2014 Wallpaper* Design Awards, Christian Borstlap and his team at Part Of A Bigger Plan have produced this beautifully simple film that takes us through the roster of judges and winners one by one. But why should you watch this video when you could just read the names from a list? Well, the guys at Part Of A Bigger Plan are particularly adept at crafting terrifically slick animations and this one is no exception to that rule, showing off the winning fashion, architectural and interior collections with geometric precision and style. Enjoy!

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    This week editor James Cartwright laments the loss of ham-fisted cinema and urges us to let Kickstarter revive it. As always, you comments are encouraged below.

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    Siren Elise Wilhelmsen is a Norwegian product designer based between Bergen and Berlin. She produces objects that challenge the concept of traditional functionality and transform natural materials into intricate mechanical objects. Through her practice she seeks to find “a conceptual way to stimulate ideas and discussions around our everyday objects, rituals and culture.”

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    Now we know for sure that the residents of China aren’t watching their sunrise on a giant plasma screen (phew!) we thought it was high time to investigate how the most populated nation in the world actually spends its days. Enter Zhang Xiao, a 32-year-old photographer from China’s Shandong province. Since graduating with a degree in Art & Design from the architecture department at Yantai University he’s been documenting his homeland with an insider’s attention to detail and an unflinching eye for composition.