Author Archive: Rob Alderson

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Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

@RobAlderson

2279 articles
  1. Martinapaukova-itsnicethat-list

    Slovakian illustrator Martina Paukova is just coming to the end of her Illustration MA at Camberwell but her fledgling career seems in rude health. Already clients like The Guardian , The International New York Times, Wired and Converse have turned to Martina to bring her bright, busy visual sensibility to all manner of commissions. Occasionally the work reminds me of Andy Rementer in its composition and the way figures are depicted but that’s no bad thing, and that same combination of technical skill and a sheer sense of fun should ensure that we’ll hear much more about Martina over the next months and years.

  2. Jennyzylch-itsnicethat-list

    I came across Jenny Zych’s work thanks to Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson who Tweeted about her talents a couple of weeks ago. She only graduated from The School of Visual Arts in New York in 2013 but already she’s built an eclectic portfolio of work, both under her own name and her alter-ego Jenny Knifefight.

  3. Johankramer-manelvich-itsnicetaht-list

    Tomorrow night Barcelona take on Juventus in the Champions League final, a game which (for better or for worse) sums up much about modern football. It’s easy to forget quite how much the game has changed but one man who has literally watched that happen is Manel Vich, the 77-year-old who has been Barca’s matchday announcer for nearly six decades. He first stood in as a favour to the stadium manager back in the old Les Corts ground in 1956 but has gone on to become part of the club’s fabric. Incredibly he’s missed only three games during that time – two because he was in hospital and once because the match clashed with his daughter’s wedding.

  4. Pagantempleiceland-itsnicethat-1

    A neo-Pagan temple is being built on an unassuming plot of land on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Liv Siddall went to meet those whose visions are taking shape…

  5. Cripsta-itsnicethat-list

    Alessandro Crippa, aka Cripsta, is a Milan born image-maker and one fifth of the TURBØSAFARY collective, about to complete an MA in Illustration here in London at Camberwell. There’s not a whole heap more information about him out there but no matter, we’re more than happy to let these images speak for themselves. This recent work collides various motifs – classical, Egyptian, and just sort of weird – into colourful and mysterious creations – named after various gods – which gently mock the viewer, challenging us to find meanings but playfully suggesting that such a hunt is entirely futile. His varied portfolio suggests Alessandro is still experimenting with his style but this work will hopefully herald more of the same as his fledgling career develops.

  6. Carolineroberts-graphicdesignvisionaries-itsnicethat-list

    As someone who came into design journalism from the outside, it was a challenge to get to grips with the famous graphic designers blithely referenced in talks or other publications. Who were they? What did they do? And maybe most importantly, why are they important? How I could have done with a book like this new addition to the Laurence King Visionaries series, which contains profiles of 75 graphic design luminaries alongside large, full-colour reproductions of their significant and groundbreaking work.

  7. Linaforsgren-satisfactionguaranteed-itsnicethat-list

    Nowadays we consumers are pretty savvy about how we’re manipulated by the advertising and marketing industries, but does this make us better-placed to resist or merely more complicit in our exploitation? It’s this idea that Swedish designer Lina Forsgren explored in her graduation project at Beckmans College through an installation, film and publication that questioned our own role in the commercial process.

  8. Chadwicktyler-itsnicethat-list

    There’s an awful lot to like about American photographer Chadwick Tyler – his name, his wonderful work, and the first answer he gives during this 2009 interview with Dazed.

  9. Nature_nicertuesdays_itsnicethat_list

    We went back to nature for last night’s Nicer Tuesdays with four speakers who explore, question and help make sense of the world around us through their creative practices.

  10. Lundgrenlindqvist-hbtqrethink-itsnicethat-list

    Icon magazine’s Rethink feature – which challenges studios to redesign a well-known identity or industry – has long been a source of innovation and inspiration. In the past we’ve covered Design by St’s fish packaging, Manual’s new US road signage and Studio Makgill’s funeral parlours.

  11. Studiobaer-thomaslohr-itsnicethat-list

    When Studio Baer’s gorgeous book of Thomas Lohr’s plumage photographs arrived in the studio last week, I waxed lyrical about its Japanese paper cover, which felt unlike anything I have ever had the good fortune to stroke before. Add in the subtle, debossed title and I was in publication heaven, but the rest of the editorial team wasn’t so sure –“like weird rubber/reminds me of fingernails down a blackboard/gives me goose pimples” those philistines mewled.

  12. Danielrozin-pompommirror-itsnicethat-list

    There are a lot of artists doing interesting things with digital but for me the most engaging are those who explore the points at which human and computers come together to create something interactive – such as the Random International collective (of Rain Room fame) and Daniel Rozin. The latter, a New York-based artist, educator and developer, has just opened a new show at the bitforms gallery which includes one of the most striking interactive projects we’ve come across for ages.

  13. Sea-aiap-fedrigoni-madeinitaly-itsnicethat-list

    Europe has a fine graphic design tradition but certain countries – Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK – tend to predominate when it comes to coverage. And so we’re always keen to hear about initiatives that celebrate lesser known design scenes, such as SEA and Fedrigoni’s upcoming exploration of Italy’s graphics heritage. Made In Italy showcases post-war Italian graphic design by way of a show in east London and a series of monographs focussing on some of the most interesting practitioners – Ilio Negri, Heinz Waibl, Franco Grignani and Giancarlo Iliprandi. With amazing access to the Aiap archives in Milan, SEA has also put together a book for the show with the explicit aim of putting this “untapped” subject firmly in the spotlight.

  14. Universaleverything-sydneyoperahouse-itsnicethat-list

    It may be my former life as a hack but there’s something about the word “biggest” that always piques my interest. That said, ambition only gets you so far and you can’t sacrifice skill or style in a headlong rush for scale. With Universal Everything though, you needn’t worry. On Friday the studio created its largest projection to date, lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House with hand-drawn animations from 22 of the world’s best creatives. Every year the landmark commissions an artist to work on its curves and Matt Pyke and his team jumped at the chance to take on an opportunity that “epitomises everything we strive for.”

  15. 5173

    As the creative world digests last night’s big D&AD winners (those that scooped Black and White Pencils), there was a host of interesting work recognised in the 44 Yellow Pencils given out at the London awards bash. In total, the D&AD juries considered 847 projects this year and so less than one in 20 made the prestigious Yellow Pencil cut. Here’s our rundown of those winners that caught our eye for one reason or another – you can see the full list of winners over on the D&AD site here.

  16. Mattbooker-electiondrawings-itsnicethat-list

    It’s only been a couple of weeks but already the UK election seems a lifetime ago. If you’re into that kind of thing, there’s an undeniable drama about it all as the tension ratchets up across the campaign and breaks on election night itself as the results filter through from around the country. Topolski Studio commissioned eight young artists to capture the goings-on through the medium of drawing and the results will be published in its upcoming Election Chronicle.

  17. Thomaswilliams-bolo-itsnicethat-list

    Australian designer Thomas Williams’ work has appeared on the site several times over the years, in the shape of his editorial work for MADE, Nourished Journal and The Process Journal. He has recently decamped to Los Angeles and set up his own studio, Thomas Williams & Co., which comes complete with a newly updated site on which you can peruse his publication work alongside all manner of considered and communicative identity projects.

  18. Territorystudio-marvelavengers-itsnicethat-list2

    At last month’s digital-themed Nicer Tuesdays we heard from David Sheldon Hicks and Peter Eszenyi of London-based Territory Studio, which specialises in creating UI interfaces for Hollywood blockbusters. This year they have worked on two massive movies in the shape of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and the much-anticipated new Marvel offering Avengers: Age of Ultron.

  19. Michaelcraig-martin-onbeinganartist-istnicethat-list

    In some circumstances, calling a book On Being An Artist would seem pretentious and pompous, but if anyone knows about being an artist, it’s Michael Craig-Martin. Over his extraordinary career he has studied with Chuck Close and Richard Serra, met the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, John Cage and Charles Saatchi, had work shown at Tate Modern, the Pompidou Centre and MoMA, and taught some of the YBAs’ leading lights including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

  20. Marcel-ingloriousfruits-itsnicethat-list

    After the Design Museum names its six category winners for the 2015 Designs of the Year, Rob Alderson argues that the victor in the graphics section is a very worthy winner. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  21. Andygilmore-itsnicethat-list

    It’s no real surprise to learn that image-maker Andy Gilmore is also a musician because his geometric compositions feel orchestrated. The New York-based creative brings colour, shape and pattern together in tightly formatted visual symphonies which swell to become more than the sum of their parts, dazzling the eye and tricking the brain simultaneously. It’s been three years since we last featured Andy’s work on the site but he’s as in demand as ever, with clients like Ogilvy NY, Wired and The New York Times queuing up for a bit of his brilliance.

  22. Chargedoubler-itsnicethat-list

    We’re drawn to a lot of the projects we cover by their aesthetic qualities but sometimes it seems right and proper to flag up something whose form may not promise much, but whose function is really exciting. So it is with Jorg Neugebauer and Kai Wiehagen’s ChargeDoubler, a USB that halves your charging speed to get your phone back up and running in super quick time.

  23. Shannonlea-philliplarkin-itsnicethat-list

    In our recent interview with Spin’s Tony Brook he spoke about the shift in his design approach towards a fixation on conceptual work – “I wanted reasons, I wanted intelligent thought.” Tony of course is one of the best in the business with a great deal of experience; it’s less common to see this same concept-driven lust in young designers, particularly those still learning their craft at university.

  24. Leemawdsley-millenniummills-itsnicethat-list

    We’ve featured architectural photographer Lee Mawdsley on the site a few times over the years and have often focussed on his masterful documentation of ultra-modern workplaces, all gleaming surfaces and tangled wires. But among his new updates, one project in particular demonstrates his versatility.

  25. Emilyscaife-cosmiccrisp-itsnicethat-list

    I’m a big fan of creatives who have the wherewithal to follow through on simple – and sometimes ostensibly silly – ideas. Jeff Greenspan is perhaps the high priest of this, but Emily Scaife has a nice line in realising pleasingly simple concepts with enough visual panache to make the results more than one-liners.

  26. Michaelbuck-airbnb-house-list

    A few years ago there was a great deal of interest in Artangel’s A Room for London project, which saw Fiona Banner and David Kohn Architects build a boat you could stay in high above the South Bank. Today Airbnb has twisted that idea round for its own stunt, floating a 70-tonne house down the River Thames. Designed by Steve and Nick Tidball, creative directors of the TBWA agency, it includes two bedrooms, a working bathroom and a garden with real grass and an apple tree. It will meander up and down the river throughout the week, hosting various events and even some sleepovers.

  27. Arthurfoliard-mood-itsnicethat-list

    Arthur Foliard has some impressive design experience on his CV – Pentagram, Landor and Moving Brands – and he’s been honoured by both ADC and the Cannes Lions. Not bad for a 25-year-old, but this London-based Frenchman has a portfolio of work that makes sense of these accolades.

  28. Thokamaer-itsnobiggie-itsnicethat-list

    It was way back in 2012 that we first featured Thoka Maer’s it’s no biggie, a blog of joyous GIFS that capture little moments in life, by turns sweet and surreal. A lot has happened since then – not only the fact that we can now actually embed GIFs on our site and show you Thoka’s creations in all their glory. She meanwhile has graduated from the Visual Communication course at the University of the Arts, Berlin, and inb (as all the cool kids are calling it) won the self-initiated category at last year’s Association of Illustrators awards.

  29. Studiodumbar-vbms-itsnicethat-list

    It’s all very well championing identity work for a cool club night or a hipster restaurant, but it’s more interesting to come across really impressive design for, how shall we say, less glamorous clients. And they don’t come much less glamorous than VolkerWessels Boskalis Marine Solutions, or VBMS, which specialises in “subsea power cable installation” (mmm, sexy). So it’s great to see the ever-excellent Studio Dumbar create a new look for the new company which was formed by the coming together of two existing entities.

  30. Alexchinneck-londondesignfestival-itsnicethat-list

    A 35-metre high upside-down electricity pylon was the stand-out project announced for this year’s London Design Festival today, but once again none of the headline projects are graphics focussed.

  31. Lukestephenson-pizza-itsnicethat-list

    Sometimes when you ask a creative about the genesis of their project the answer is pretty predictable, and sometimes it really isn’t. Photographer Luke Stephenson sent through his new series Pizza – a series of portraits of pizzas he ordered alongside the men who delivered them – but the initial inspiration actually came from jockeys, or rather paintings of jockeys on a collection of cigarette cards Luke stumbled across on Flickr.

  32. Uniteditions-spin360-itsnicethat-list

    Tony Brook is clearly knackered. The 520-page monograph of his studio Spin produced by Unit Editions, the publishing imprint he co-runs with Adrian Shaughnessy, is just weeks away from publication and his pride is cut with obvious exhaustion.

  33. Secretlifeofpencil-itsnicethat-1

    There’s a famous story about the 1960s Space Race in which the USA spent millions developing a pen that could write in zero-gravity. The Russians, meanwhile, used a pencil. Alas it turns out to be a myth but even though apocryphal, the tale’s enduring popularity speaks to the simple brilliance of the first bit of creative kit most of us ever used.

  34. Robertnicol-itsnicethat-list

    It’s been a few years now since we posted the work of artist, illustrator and Camberwell tutor Robert Nicol, but our tardiness only means there’s a heap of new work for us to enjoy in his portfolio. From paintings to book covers, editorial illustrations to ceramic sculptures, Rob’s able to turn his versatile talents to a number of different ends. It’s interesting to look at his work together and see how he can amplify or refine certain traits depending on the job in hand. So we have his wonderful paintings where bold colours and surreal characters are given free rein, contrasted with his stylish book covers where hints of narrative achieve a lot in a quieter context.

  35. Davebrown-electioncartoon-itsnicethat-list

    It’s election day here in the UK and so shrouded in uncertainty is its outcome that we’re going to the polls without really any clue about what we might wake up to tomorrow. God bless democracy! We thought it would be interesting to see how cartoonists have covered the campaign but to be totally honest it was a struggle to find that much to get excited about. Too often key players and recurring themes were reduced to glib stereotypes – at best spectacularly unfunny and at worst patronising, sexist and xenophobic.

  36. Esquire-itsnicethat-list

    “Many of us – most of us, probably – fear change, even (perhaps especially) of the new-hairstyle variety. Change is scary, upsetting.” This is how Esquire editor-in-chief Alex Bilmes sets up the magazine’s redesign in his editor’s letter and with a new masthead on a bright coloured bar, a new colour palette focused on deep reds and blues, new supplementary typefaces and some structural changes to the culture and style sections, it’s fair to say creative director Nick Millington has overseen more than a “new-hairstyle” change.

  37. Onionredesign-itsnicethat-list

    Redesigns are hard. From agreeing on the initial brief right through to weathering the brickbats hurled at you if you change anything people don’t like, it can be a traumatic process. Because of that those undertaking a redesign often tread very carefully, and present their new look and feel in the softest, blandest and most conciliatory ways imaginable. Unless you’re The Onion. The Onion did nothing of the sort.

  38. Newyork-itsnicethat-list

    One of the biggest cultural shifts in the past 20 years has been the emergence of TV as a credible and innovative creative medium. New York Magazine produces an annual TV issue and this time around they commissioned Italian illustrator Giacomo Gambineri to create a mural for the cover, featuring a staggering 146 memorable small-screen moments from the past year. There’s spoiler alerts aplenty but with nods to Wolf Hall, Mad Men, Gotham, Game of Thrones, House of Cards plus Katy Perry and her dancing sharks and a very rude scene from Girls , this is a comprehensive cavalcade of the characters that have defined another stonking year of TV. The good people at Vulture have broken them down if you want to see all 146 represented on the cover.

  39. 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…

  40. 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.