Graphic Design Archive

  1. Music_bfc-annual-report-its-nice-that-list

    Annual reports aren’t the most exciting sounding of entities, but in the right hands, they can certainly become beautiful. Take Manchester agency Music’s designs for the British Fashion Council’s 2014/15 annual review. With an all-black cover, gorgeous imagery and bold typography, you’d do well to tell it apart from a slick coffee table tome. The book The showcases the BFC’s “five strategic pillars”, according to Music; Business, Education, Innovation & Digital, Investment and Reputation, with imagery from events including London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Awards and London Collections Men.

  2. Wonder-room-its-nice-that-lsit

    It goes without saying that we receive more information from screens than we do from paper. But posters are such a superb platform for graphic design experimentation that they seem unlikely to become obsolete. Instead, they’re adapting, and a wonderful example of that shapeshifting is in the smart moving posters of agency Wonder Room. The man behind them is Steve Hockett, who made them in response to seeing his poster designs diluted for online platforms.

  3. Evan-grothjan-spaces-its-nice-that-list

    You know what we’re like, always going all gaga over pretty colours and GIFS like little typing magpies. But we’re not all about a pretty picture over here at It’s Nice That; and neither is designer Evan Grothjan. While we admit we were initially drawn in by his vivid tones and abstract compositions, it turns out there’s a lot more to his Spaces series than crowd-pleasing aesthetics. Instead, the images form an ongoing investigation into the relationship between space and emotion; something Evan’s been interested in since studying animation as part of his Rhode Island School of Design course.

  4. Typesnap-itsnicethat-list-new-3

    Experiments with web-based typography have reached new heights. One minute we were happily reading from books and newspapers, and then before you know it Wieden + Kennedy was testing us to see how many words we could read per minute in a new ad for Honda. Just in case you were getting too comfy, the newest development in this arena comes from graphic designer Masato Nakada who has come up with a new concept designed to expand the capacity of web-based type, through an experimental typography website called Type Snap.

  5. Unfun_itsnicethat_list

    These jazzy posters created by Nuremberg-based studio Unfun for a massive electronic dance club in Germany somehow manage to be both lairy and sophisticated at the same time. Computer generated illustrations leak onto black backgrounds in each poster but the series cleverly draws on different stylistic references from 90s net art to regimented grids and lines.

  6. Steph-roden-adder-stone-its-nice-that-list

    Not only is it refreshing to see a grad project that eschews the debate over whether or not print is dead, but it’s also great to see a young designer so politically engaged. It’s especially good when the work looks like that of Steph Roden, whose Adder Stone project manages to combine considered design with a lively, yet impartial look at the debates around the Scottish referendum for independence. Taking the form of a proposed biannual magazine, Adder Stone examines four questions per issue, each from a different source, and all relating to Scotland. As well as these catalysts for political exploration, there are also four pull-out posters, referencing the Yes and No posters seen everywhere around Scotland in the buildup to the referendum.

  7. Acacio-ortas-itsnicethat-list-2

    Scrolling through Acacio Ortas’ portfolio feels like stepping into a world that has been frozen in time since the late 90s. Picture it: Windows 95 still reigns supreme, you’re renowned throughout Year Nine at school for being the local champion of Minesweeper, and you can’t so much as compose a letter to your pen-pal in Microsoft Word without that blasted paperclip popping up to “help.” Dabbling in that grey area between illustration and design, Acacio’s work is pure internet age gold – all gentle gradients, bar-charts and word-art, determinedly retro but weirdly new-feeling, too. It’s tongue in cheek but also unlike anything else, and we can’t resist an awkward comic strip.

  8. Tokyo-olympic-logo-its-nice-that-lost

    The Kenjio Sano-designed 2020 Tokyo Olympics logos have been unveiled. The Japanese graphic designer and founder of Tokyo-based studio MR_DESIGN created both the Olympics and Paralympics logos, using a red circle in each to reference the Japanese flag. These form a pattern with blocks of grey and gold. Elements of the pattern are isolated to form a letter T for the Olympic logo – said to represent “Tokyo, Tomorrow and Team” – while the Paralympic logo uses those shapes to form a vertical equals sign.

  9. Field-glyph-index-int-list

    Digital studio FIELD is something of an anomaly in the realms of both design and technology. Known for its striking audio-visual installations and pioneering artwork for digital platforms, the London-based duo Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn’s creations are always as beautiful as they are cutting-edge. We waxed lyrical about its video storytelling application Energy Flow back in 2012, which brought together ten films that could be viewed in endless sequences and from any angle. Most recently, FIELD teamed up with typeface library Monotype to explore the future of typography with three installations, asking how type can become responsive, or even emotional, and still be communicative.

  10. Herburg_weiland_itsnicethat_list

    Munich-based agency Herburg Weiland’s portfolio of editorial design and branding is sophisticated, refined and cooly bold. This is reflected perfectly in the posters, identities and covers they’ve created for numerous galleries and magazines.

  11. Made-by-sawdust-itsnicethat-list-2

    When Nike Jordan approaches you with NBA champion Kobe Bryant’s name and existing brand identity, and asks you to create a fully functioning bespoke typeface to accompany it, the pressure is on you to deliver something good. Fortunately, Sawdust, AKA Jonathan Quainton and Rob Gonzalez, is more or less au fait with work of this calibre, having worked on typography and identity projects for clients like The New York Times and Coca-Cola. 

  12. Timeline_promo_2geographical-north-its-nice-that-list

    We regularly harp on about the union of great music and great design, but when projects like Geographic North come into our vision so regularly, who can blame us. The label is about graphic design as much as it is about music, founded by design graduate Farbod Kokabi and radio music director Farzad Moghaddam back in 2008. They were later joined by pals Bobby Power and Lee Summers, who formed the formidable team that now releases records with beautifully abstract, clean and bright sleeves and covers.

  13. Dalziel-_-pow-rebrand-its-nice-that-list

    Surely the toughest client there could be is yourself. So it’s always rather intriguing to hear about design agencies rebranding themselves, and imagining the endless wranglings such a project must entail. We reckon London-based design agency Dalziel&Pow hasn’t done too bad though, launching a newly playful identity to bring it firmly up to date. According to the consultancy, the previous logo “just didn’t feel like us anymore – not all that surprising considering it was created over 15 years ago.”

  14. List

    The Bank of England has revealed the visual art stars that could be gracing the new £20 note. In a rather long shortlist of 592, the names shown are all those nominated by the public that fit the criteria that the artists must be dead and have worked within the field of visual arts. Among those nominated are graphic designers Barney Bubbles and Alan Fletcher; photographer Tim Hetherington; performance artist Leigh Bowery; inventor and artist William Heath Robinson; illustrator Aubrey Beardsley; artist Eduardo Paolozzi and filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and Derek Jarman. The Bank has said that “a number of names have been included whose eligibility will be considered more carefully by the Banknote Character Advisory Committee before it starts to shortlist the characters in September,” and a final decision will be announced next year.

  15. Sb-studio-itsnicethat-gif

    Remember The Brutalist Playground, the Assemble and Simon Terrill-created project we were harping on about a few weeks back? Built out of reconstituted foam in the narrow halls of the Royal Institute of British Architecture’s housing archives, it sees the Turner Prize-nominated design collective turn our attention to what editorial assistant Alex calls “these relics of post-war play.”

  16. Emil-kozole-seen-typeface-list

    In the week that Instagram banned #curvy, we bring you a typography project that looks at censorship in a way that’s thoughtful, powerful and brilliant executed. Seen was created by Central Saint Martins MA graduate Emil Kozole, and takes the form of a full typeface examining “privacy and the interception of our communications by the NSA,” says Emil. “It automatically strikes through so called ‘spook words’ as they are written.”

  17. Sunny-parks-its-nice-that-list

    With Sunny Park, our curiosity was piqued with that glorious name; our hunger for great graphic design satiated with her brilliant portfolio. The New York-based designer recently graduated from Yale, and it was her thesis book project that really caught our eye. The publication is formed from a series of fold-out posters created using multi-colour Risograph printing. They manage to look both clean and bold in their approach, with a deft knack for layout and a wonderful way with type. The John Cage stuff is particularly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see what Sunny gets up to post-Yale.

  18. Stephanie-passul-itsnicethat-list

    Clear, cohesive, commercial graphic design is all well and good, but every now and then it’s nice to give your brain a stretch, and Stephanie Passul’s MA project, entitled The City in Six Pieces, provides the perfect apparatus for a mental workout. The project, which was developed as the final product of Stephanie’s MA at Dusseldorf’s University of Applied Sciences, explores narrative structures which have been developed as a result of the changing ways we consume information.

  19. Bereza_figures_gif_1_small-a20-its-nice-that-list

    Poor old Studio A-2-O. Its site has been hacked by Turk Hack Team and now looks like this, with some less than aesthetically-pleasing graphics taking the place of the studio’s usual output, which is rather lovely. Thankfully though, there’s a Behance site that shows off their projects, and the one that caught our eye in particular was the identity for Bereza, a milling workshop in Russia. The name is Russian for birch tree, a signifier which has fed into the logotype design, which the studio says uses letters arranged “in a way that represents an abstract pattern of birch tree bark.”

  20. Bau-magazine-ica-its-nice-that-list

    There’s something about central Europe and graphic design, and if we needed any more proof of that, the ICA has drawn together a stunning collection of covers of Austrian architecture magazine Bau. To gives it its full title, Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning was unusual in its glossy-magazine stylings, and fostered a brave, interdisciplinary approach to looking at the built environment; examining its relationship with politics, art and people.

  21. Bryan-mayes-do-not-cover-its-nice-that-list

    While I’m undoubtedly an easily pleased woman, it’s a rare graphic design project that makes me laugh-out-loud, spit-out-my-tea chuckle. However, Bryan Mayes (not the one from Queen who’s into badgers, a graphic designer) got in touch lately with his Do Not Cover project that he’s created with his pal Will, and boy oh boy did I titter. Do Not Cover is a series that showcases album covers for a diverse range of musicians; rappers, techno acts, crooners and krautrock pioneers all make the cut, with album artwork utterly befitting of their sound and personalities. The thing is, they’re all totally fictional, but crafted with such a fine backstory detailed with word-perfect bios that you can almost hear the working mens’ club tones of “housewives of the Wirral favourite Bob Panini” or the sexy drive time tunes of “ worldwide sex symbol” and “silky smooth crooner” Gary Wonder.

  22. New-list

    Degree show season might be the very best time of the year to be in the It’s Nice That studio. Not least because we have more invitations, flyers, posters and catalogues flying through the letterbox than at any other time, all plying us with free semi-chilled beers and frazzling our eyes with a wealth of new work.

  23. Piano-ensemble-uncanny-editions-its-nice-that-list

    If you say Piano Ensemble, I think tuxedos and stuffy cruise ship entertainment that smells of old vol-au-vents. Turns out I’m all wrong, if six-piece Piano Ensemble Piano Circus is anything to go by. The group makes minimalist, bold music; and as such needed a bold, brave identity to herald its 25th anniversary relaunch concert.

  24. Marta_veludo_itsnicethat_list

    Marta Veludo’s design work is bright, fun and happy. Just one look at her website and it’s like walking into a toyshop of vibrant projects that beg to be picked up and played with. Inspired by pop culture, folk art, pound shops and Tumblr, it’s this abundance of references that make the Amsterdam-based designer’s work so interesting.

  25. Temps-de-vacances-itsnicethat-list

    Photographer Adrià Cañameras has made long glittering stretches of Mediterranean landscapes his bread and butter, so when it came to contributing to the new issue of Temps de Vacances, a biannual indie mag-cum-travelogue, he seems to have been a natural fit to contribute.

  26. Barbican-list

    “We wanna be free, we wanna be free to do what we wanna do,” as we heard through Primal Scream (it’s a quote from the film The Wild Angels , fact fans). Now for the Barbican’s mammoth Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening show by Doug Aitken, artists from Gillian Wearing to Bob and Roberta Smith and graphic design studios including Zak Group and Good Wives and Warriors have created posters responding to the concepts “free” or “freedom.” As you’d expect from such a varied bunch, the posters show a huge range of approaches to the brief, including a depiction of a smoking vicar and a few simple, typographic responses from Ruth Ewan and Zak Group. The idea behind the posters’ creation was to echo “the sprite of Fluxus happenings,” according to the Barbican, and will be pasted throughout the centre-wide show.

  27. Mcq_aw15_int_list

    Alexander McQueen’s insouciant little brother McQ has unveiled its AW15 campaign and a new brand identity in one fell swoop. Young London photographer Harley Weir lends her brazen brand of sullied joie de vivre to the campaign, styled by Jodie Barnes and starring models Tobias Lundh and Alexandra Elizabeth Ljadov. The new identity bares a bold new logo across flashes of pale skin, crossing out the fashion house’s name in a thick white line leaving only “McQ.” This irreverent new branding simultaneously allows the offshoot brand to strike out on its own whilst still maintaining a strong hold on its grander, subversive roots.

  28. Penguin-go-set-a-watchman-cover-its-nice-that-list

    First, we brought you the charming illustrations for the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman, the new release from Harper Lee (and the first since 1960’s seminal text, To Kill a Mockingbird.) Now, Penguin has revealed to us how it set about choosing the cover image, and Penguin designer Glenn O’Neil talks us through an unusual process for the publisher, in which all six in-house designers and art directors in the Cornerstone art department were given the chance to submit proposals for the title.

  29. Sunshine-agency-roald-dahl-its-nice-that-list

    How on earth do you approach rebranding one of the most famous and best loved children’s authors out there? When agency Sunshine was tasked with rebranding Roald Dahl, they took the smart approach of doing as he or his characters might, with a playful colour palette including “Willy Wonka Purple” and “Enormous Crocodile Green.”

  30. Sarah_boris_int_list_image_

    As part of Le Havre’s design festival Une Saison Graphique which closed at the end of last month, the indefatigable Sarah Boris was invited to stage an exhibition of her work in the unlikeliest of venues, the town hall’s cavernous theatre. The French graphic designer we have come to admire through her work for some of Britain’s top art institutions, including the Barbican, Tate and art publisher Phaidon has won us over time and time again with an undeniably strong body of work that only continues to grow, and her site-specific installation Le Théâtre Graphique is one of her most ambitious projects to date.

  31. Mark_magazine_int_list

    From Jan van Toorn to Wim Crouwel, Amsterdam has been turning out cutting-edge graphic design talent for the better part of the last half-century. Carrying the torch along with design innovators like Experimental Jetset is Edwin van Gelder, the man behind one of the most impressive studios currently working out of the Dutch capital, Mainstudio. Favouring exactitude and a razor-sharp aesthetic of the kind he championed during his beautifully inventive redesign of architecture magazine Mark between 2008 and 2012, Edwin set the tone for his focus on editorial design for architecture and art publications. He has since designed an award-winning book for artist Thomas Raat, the identity for the IIT College of Architecture in Chicago and is currently working an architecture book for MoMA due out next year.

  32. Orlebar_brown_itsnicethat_list2

    Monochrome is forever in vogue and it’s inspired Italian architect, sculptor and designer Marcello Morandini for over 40 years. “I use only black and white and – like writing on a page – no additional colour is needed in order to interpret and understand,” he explains. Growing up in Mantua, Italy at a time when Futurism was widely regarded, Marcello adopted a graphic aesthetic of grids and lines early on, and his optical, illusory style is now synonymous with his name.

  33. Universal-everything-play-its-nice-that-hero-1

    A good identity conveys a complex idea in simple, beautiful ways; and boy, is Universal Everything’s branding for Editions At Play a good identity. The agency was tasked with creating the look and feel for Editions at Play by Google’s Creative Lab, which needed a clean, simple look and feel for the new digital publishing platform. The idea of Editions At Play is to create a space and publisher for “books that cannot be printed and immersive literature,” according to Universal Everything; so they distilled this complex notion into minimal typographic components that manage to marry playfulness and simplicity with the challenges of working in a new, challenging digital space. “The identity is inspired by books on a shelf and binary code. Bringing the two elements together, the brand mark can develop and grow with different authors’ approaches to the Editions At Play publications,” says the agency.

  34. Matt-lambert-yukiko-itsnicethat-list

    Moving through Matt Lambert’s portfolio is an intense experience. Based in Berlin, his work straddles photography and film, but regardless of his medium his primary occupation is capturing energy. Whether it’s unapologetic, animalistic lust, or a sedated, sunset-lit youthful ecstasy, an arrogant, passionate intensity underscores every image, making it emphatically unsafe for work.

  35. Steve_frykholm_picnicposters_itsnicethat_list

    Having worked at Herman Miller for 45 years, the vice president of creative design Steve Frykholm was taken on as the furniture company’s first in-house graphic designer. In the beautifully made short film created by Dress Code specifically for Herman Miller, Steve talks us through some of his most celebrated work – the posters he created for the brand’s annual picnic.

  36. Snask_washingtonpost_itsnicethat_list2

    Swedish design studio Snask is always going the extra mile in their work, and their latest project to create the cover for The Washington Post’s Readers’ Favourites issue looks like their most complex yet. The brief was to create something fun so Snask decided to create the cover and all editorial images by hand. The result is nine different letters that make up the word “Favorite” in glorious technicolour and a multitude of materials. 

  37. Unit-editions-lance-wyman-its-nice-that-list

    For such a renowned name in graphic design, it seems nuts that Lance Wyman hasn’t yet had a monograph devoted to showing his multifarious and magnificent works. Changing all that is Unit Editions, which is publishing a hefty new tome devoted to the career of the New York designer.

  38. Fraser-muggerige-barbican-happening-its-nice-that-list

    The worlds of conceptual art and functional graphic design cross perhaps less often than they should. But creating a piece of design that has to perform in a commercial sense and the expression of complex, looser artistic ideas can come together beautifully, as exemplified in the little corner devoted to graphic design at the Barbican’s current show by Doug Aitken, Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening.

  39. Nina_kazanova_token_itsnicethat_list

    Nina Kazanova captures the virtual world perfectly in the identity she’s created for Token, a virtual reality festival of the arts that focuses on new technologies and how they manifest themselves in our environment. While I’ve had trouble working out whether this Moscow-based festival even exists in the real world, it’s a great project that references the kind of futuristic imagery seen in the 80s and 90s with a fluorescently tropical palette of pinks, purples and greens.

  40. Dnandco-st-james-itsnicethat-list

    How exactly do you go about rebranding an area, especially one bookended by Mayfair and Soho in central London, which has been largely forgotten about by Londoners? When The Crown Estate turned to dn&co. for assistance in giving St James’s a bit of a makeover, the agency decided to consider every element of the region’s luxury status, from its street presence, through windows, hoardings and building wraps, to a new quarterly newspaper and website. Safe to say, it was no small task.