Graphic Design Archive

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    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 five 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.

  2. The-plant-art-15-its-nice-that-list-

    Staying two seasons ahead (calendar-wise, at least) of the autumn art fair scrum, Art 15 takes place this week over in west London, heralded by some unmissably bright new branding by The Plant. The annual fair – now in its third outing – used to take place in February, and its new look aims to reflect its sunnier spot on the calendar. “As it’s spring and it’s a fairly new fair, we felt [the new identity] needed to look quite bold,” says Matt Utber, founder of The Plant, who also designed the fair’s initial identity. “We chose colours that were very bright and vibrant because of that light change – it reflects new life, flowers bursting into existence, it’s that kind of feel.”

  3. 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.

  4. Chwast_nose_08-1020x1600its-nice-that-list

    I don’t use the word “iconic” lightly, but in the case of designer Seymour Chwast, it fits. Co-founder of Push Pin studios, Seymour shaped what graphic design and being a graphic designer meant in the 20th Century, creating images that not only looked incredible, but distilled a message that could be anything from a light-hearted comment on design itself to an anti-smoking poster. His much-imitated graphic and illustration style still holds up brilliantly today, as proved by a fantastic new online resource, the Seymour Chwast archive.

  5. List-naonori_yago_laforet_itsnicethat_1

    I’m all for a bargain but when I hear about people queuing up at 4:30am for the big Next sale every year I can’t help but sigh. Surely sleeping is more preferable to numb lips chapping in the wind as you stand next to other haggard shoppers? Even bigger than Next’s sale is Japanese department store Laforet HARAJUKU’s annual “Grand Bazar,” which has taken sale shopping to a new level.

  6. Ah_ha_ciclovia_de_aveiro_it's_nice_that_list

    “Studio AH-HA started as an experiment. We never took ourselves too seriously, and we think that is why things have been working out,” say Carolina Cantante and Catarina Carreiras. For the last three years the Portuguese designers have been making lovely things out of their studio just a stone’s throw from the Lisbon City Museum and the university where they studied and met. Between them, Carolina and Catarina cut their teeth working with some of their heroes; Catarina at Fabrica with designer Sam Baron, who they still collaborate with, and Carolina at the renowned OMA led by “starchitect” Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam.

  7. List-vasundhara-pachisia-its-nice-that

    Brookyln-born graphic designer Vasundhara Pachisia is still studying, but has managed to clock up a CV including work with MoMA Design Studio and Ralph Applebaum Associates. Not bad at all. She’s currently studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where she’s making some great work combining vivid colour palettes with some gorgeous experimental typography. This is perfectly exemplified in the piece Until Perfect Comes , a typeface the designer says is “an ode to Victor Vasarely.” We’re sure the “grandfather of op-art” wouldn’t be disappointed.

  8. Antonio_ladrillo_lines_it's_nice_that_list

    Back with a colourful series of minimal, origami-like creations, Antonio Ladrillo’s Colors, Lines and Dots continues the same optimism and sense of play that has made the Barcelona-based illustrator is an It’s Nice That favourite. You may remember our enthusiasm for his exhibition of 40 small paintings on repurposed wood, Crash or his book Being a ghost is cool! The three new softcover books are designed with the same cuts, folds and palette but use different patterns, taking on multiple 2D and 3D combinations like folding cards. Part papercraft, part publication, like all of Antonio’s sunny portfolio, Colors, Lines and Dots is simple yet striking.

  9. 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.

  10. Alain-vonck_ruins_it's_nice_that_list

    Whether it’s glitchy internet art, streamlined design and art direction or bespoke typefaces, Alain Vonck has been building a strong portfolio since graduating from Paris’ ESAG Penninghen in 2012. Concentrating on visual identity as well as editorial and web design that communicates a passion for pattern, Alain confidently moves between a variety of commercial and self-directed projects. Whether a book and net archive inspired by early web designs and 90s digital culture, ilIustrations for the daily French newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July, Libération, or super minimal art direction for a digital magazine, the Parisian designer has proven his approach is both contemporary and versatile.

    The pixelated, retro-tech visual language of many of his self-initiated projects has taken cues from GIF revival and the unrefined aesthetic of the internet’s early days, carving him a niche as something of a digital archeologist. Further illustrating his creative range, one of Alain’s most recent commissions marked a departure into new stylistic territory with a bright book of over 250 block-coloured illustrations vaguely reminiscent of Matisse cut-outs for Franco-Lebanese publishing house Tamyras.

  11. Alex-horne-do-it-poster-its-nice-that-list

    As the likes of Haw-Lin and Tom Darracott have proved in recent years, club posters are no longer the all-caps, bright yellow, shouty things on lampposts they used to be. Well sometimes they are, and there’s something quite charming in that (UK GARAGE SENSATION in Surbiton, anyone?), but there’s certainly a finessed approach to many of the posters now, as Alex Horne proves. The designer, who also founded label Fine Grains Records, hails from Aberdeen but now lives in London, working with clients including The Financial Times, The Vinyl Factory and Vice. Today though we’re looking at some great music posters, namely those for AV collective Do It! and Oslo-based club night promoter The Drop, which Alex runs alongside Norwegian record label boss and musician Andre Ishak. Throughout the work there’s a leaning towards Bauhaus-esque typography and clean, graphic shapes, with crisp layouts proving once again that the marriage of graphic design and electronic music is one made in heaven. Or in this case, in Aberdeen, London and Oslo.

  12. 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.

  13. Mirko-borsche-itsnicethat-list-2

    Is there no end to Bureau Mirko Borsche’s brilliance? Having already produced season after season’s worth of printed collateral for long-term client the Bayerische Staatsoper, Mirko’s eponymous studio has just released its newest collection of work for the theatre. Spanning a series of events entitled Die Unmögliche Enzyklopädie, plus posters for the house orchestra Bayerisches Staatsorcheter and premiere posters too, the newest selection might even be the most diverse to date. 

  14. 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.

  15. Studio-mennicke-care-affair-its-nice-that-list

    Chatting to designers about what being a “designer” means these days, you’re often met with the same response – that titles like “digital designer,” “graphic designer” and “motion designer” are becoming blurred. The advertising and design worlds are increasingly passionate bedfellows, too, and as such studios are often looking to become jacks (and masters) of all trades. One such studio is Cologne-based Studio Mennicke, which can take care of pretty much any design task you care to throw at it, from film to advertising to curation to copywriting, illustration, packaging, wayfinding… you get the idea. It sums it up far more concisely than us: “We deliver straightforward creative services for all mankind.”

  16. Nick-mattan-itsnicethat-list-2

    Dutch furniture design collective Onbetaalbaar found a rare gem in Belgium-based designer Nick Mattan. Describing itself as a “research project born out of love for objects,” Onbetaalbaar (which translates as “priceless”) is both a workshop and a kind of think-tank “where furniture makers, upholsterers, writers, philosophers, product designers, restorers and graphic designers” can get together to work on a variety of projects – and with a brief that broad, it can be hard to find a designer with the right solutions. Nick has been working on the graphic identity of the collective for some time now, creating posters for various exhibitions and events, applying a consistent, relatable but still open-ended aesthetic to both digital and printed ephemera.

  17. Secret-7-itsnicethat-hattie-stewart-8

    If you’ve passed through the hallowed halls of Somerset House at any point between 10 April and 4 May you’ve likely admired the 700 sleeves on show as part of Secret 7”, the best kept secret in London’s creative scene, and a pure, joyful celebration of illustration, photography and design. This year as always the line-up of names taking part was a star-studded bonanza, including the likes of Martin Parr, David Shrigley, Sir Peter Blake and Yoko Ono, and as of this weekend, the creators of each have now been revealed!

  18. Ordinary-people-itsnicethat-list

    Ordinary People is a design studio based in South Korea, but if you think their name implies that they create similarly run-of-the-mill, humdrum work, you’re very much mistaken. On the contrary, their portfolio is so stuffed with first-rate creative projects, from exhibition design for Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art to some utterly irresistible poster design, that we scarcely knew where to start. So we had a chat with Jin Kang of the collective to find out its story.

  19. Homework_fischerspooner_its_nice_that_list

    Danish studio Homework does luxury very well, so much so it’s like they’ve subtly crowned each project with a sprinkling of truffle shavings to make each one look even fancier. The monograph they’ve created for art pop provocateurs Fischerspooner is no exception with striking images bleeding into pristine white pages to create something truly handsome.

  20. List-dan-romanoski-its-nice-that-4_900

    Some bands thrust their fans’ hands into their pockets with things like “pussy rings,” a “tedious beer” or a box set of dildos, as James Cartwright found out.. Others are content with great graphic design across posters, record sleeves, patches and T-shirts, and that’s where Dan Romanoski fits in. Dan is a freelance designer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. His work careers through numerous styles and concerns, from some 80s-like colour combinations reminiscent of the big, baggy things my mum wore when I was small to more industrial-led monochrome works, all executed with finesse.

  21. Therese_ottem_nyc_opera_its_nice_that_list

    There’s a bittersweet note to Therese Ottem’s identity for the New York City Opera. While the Swedish designer was working on the project, the company (which launched in 1943) unfortunately filed for bankruptcy and now no longer exists. But, chins up everyone and let’s appreciate the wonderful work Therese created for it anyway. Modern and fresh, the colour palette dances within the soft waves used throughout the identity. Therese manages to balance the elegance and high culture expected at the opera with the innovative and contemporary work the company was known for perfectly. The bold initials are striking and I love how they trip gracefully off the edges of gift bags and banners.

  22. List-michael-bierut-usa-milan-pavilion-its-nice-that-

    Michael Bierut has created the graphics for the USA Pavilion at this year’s Expo Milan. The 2015 event takes the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” with the USA pavilion, designed by James Biber of Biber Architects, named “American Food 2.0, United to Feed the Planet.” Michael’s graphics combine the American flag and the image of a knife and fork, which replaces the stars of the traditional flag. The title uses the typeface Titling Gothic, and the graphics are also painted onto the pavilion itself directly onto corrugated steel. Pentagram says: “Like a roadside sign, the massive flag helps the building stand out in the Expo grounds, and at night it is internally illuminated.”

  23. List-hero-jelle-marcehal-atelierfolder-its-nice-that

    Belgian designer Jelle Maréchal isn’t doing too badly for himself at all: he’s designer and art director at Antwerp’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and also manages to find time to work on numerous other projects on the side, from branding high-end bicycles to creating slick websites and posters. One of the ones that caught our eye is the design for a sweet book promoting performance organisations from The Netherlands and Flanders, and is initiated by The Netherland Consulate General and Flanders House in NYC. The book was designed in collaboration with Dutch NYC-based designer Kees Bakker. As in Jelle’s work for Atelier, the clever use of colour and line make for an engaging but clean aesthetic. We’re also bringing you some op art-inspired posters created for Fresco, a video installation by Antwerp-based art collective Lampekap. The graphics use four different silhouettes taken from stills from Jeroen Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, placing them in a neat grid that adds order to some rather trippy ideas.

  24. 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.

  25. List-opener-for-the-new-night-shift-illustration-by-jan-buchczik-bloomberg-businessweek-etc-its-nice-that

    As far as editorial design is concerned, Bloomberg Businessweek has practically become a byword for brilliance. It’s long been celebrated for its innovative covers and spreads, shaped by the razor-sharp mind and smart eye of former creative director Richard Turley and Rob Vargas, who now holds the role. Each part of the magazine is so carefully considered, from layout to illustration to photography, and the ETC lifestyle section is no exception.

  26. Maddisongraphic-whowerethefallen-itsnicethat-list

    I’ve not been in touch with Maddison Graphic since I discussed their collaboration with the Methodist Church in Printed Pages Autumn 2014, but they’re carrying on their good work with religious establishments with this beautiful commemoration of the victims of World War One in Corpusty and Saxthorpe, two villages in Norfolk. Set in Albertus and Plantin it demonstrates tidy typesetting and a considered use of archival imagery. As ever it’s the rare marriage of great design and religious subject matter that makes Alfie and Edward’s work stand out from their peers.

  27. List-huiqian-wu-strip-its-nice-that

    Huiqian Wu is a New York-based, China-born designer whose site is a glorious, Technicolour wonderland. It looks like how we imagined the internet in the past – all bold abstractions and saccharine tones, set off with icons that move for no apparent reason. But aside from this all-singing-all-dancing feat, Huiqian has produced some pretty great work too. Having graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design she now freelances, creating work that she says is “influenced by internet culture and social networks” to “transmit the diverse and often abstract reflections of her mind to the real world.”

  28. Studiosmall-margarethowell-itsnicethat-list

    Studio Small has just celebrated its tenth year working with fashion brand Margaret Howell, which is cause for celebration. Over the years they’ve helped define the look and feel of the brand through store signage and packaging, digital platforms and all print collateral for their shows, producing pared-back designs for this revered brand. Of course ten years of visual output is pretty hard to sum up with a few words and a couple of images, but hopefully this gives you a sense of the scale of Small’s involvement.

  29. Mucho-bulo-itsnicethat-list

    If you’re based in the UK then today is a pretty big day for you. The General Election is finally here! And what better way to acknowledge that from a design perspective than to explore Mucho’s politically motivated work for type foundry Tipografies.

  30. 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.

  31. List-ecal-typefaces-its-nice-that

    The students of ECAL know a thing or two about typography. Shame then that designers or those of a typographically-discerning disposition can’t make use of their lettering, should the students wish them to. But wait! They can. ECAL Typefaces is an online type foundry selling fonts designed by students from the BA Graphic Design and MA Art Direction courses, set up in collaboration with Swiss Typefaces, the brainchild of three alumni of ECAL – Ian Party, Maxime Büchi and Emmanuel Rey.

  32. Marianne-beck-itsnicethat-list-2

    When presented with a stray piece of paper my reflex is unfailingly to attempt an origami vagina (surprisingly difficult) so I feel that Marianne Beck’s recent undertaking is especially admirable. The Danish-born, Paris-based designer was able to create an entire typeface out of neatly overlapped paper using a few scraps and some clever folds, in an uncommonly cohesive and well executed series.

  33. Lit-my-name-is-wendy-byland-its-nice-that

    Many designers talk of the importance of play as a way to explore creativity and come up with solutions that rigorous hard-work might not unearth. Parisian studio My Name is Wendy has taken this to its logical conclusion, by creating a board game called Byland. As with the studio’s previous output, it looks stunning, and mixes gorgeous graphics with a strategy-based game combining cognition and aesthetics. We’re not sure we totally understand the rules, perhaps due to a combination of them being slightly lost in translation and our own inability to finish a game of Snap, let alone Risk, but boy does it look good.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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    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.

  38. 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.”

  39. 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.

  40. 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.