Graphic Design Archive

  1. Double-standards-biennale-its-nice-that-list

    “When Okwui Enwezor the world famous curator calls to invite you to pitch for the Biennale Arte 2015, you don’t think twice,” says Double Standards, the agency that won said pitch to create the identity for the event’s World Futures exhibition. The show is housed at the Giardini and throughout other Venice sites and according to Okwui, All the World’s Futures is “a project devoted to a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things.”

  2. Simon_roth_posters_itsnicethat_list

    Living and working in Cologne, graphic designer Simon Roth has a wealth of strong poster work under his utility belt of design. Bright, punchy and bold, there are multiple nuggets of cool composition and imagery in his work. While there’s an air of familiarity to some posters, like the orderly type set against elegantly folded paper, his portfolio still has great variety. Many of his posters have been created for artist talks and exhibitions, with the Simultanhalle series he designed with Lisa Pommerenke standing out most to me. It’s great to see Simon’s uninhibited use of colour not just highlighting the event but roaring about it.

  3. Makoto-itsnicethat-list

    Do you remember when brilliant Tokyo-based artist Makoto Azuma sent a bunch of flowers and a pine white bonsai into space to see what might happen? The whole world seemed to watch with bated breath as they slowly started to disintegrate, scattering petals and leaves across the Earth’s stratosphere. The project won a Yellow Pencil at this year’s D&AD awards, prompting us to take a deeper look at Makoto’s practice, and we’re awfully glad we did.

  4. List-saul-bass-the-shining-its-nice-that

    It’s a rare treat to see rejected designs at the best of times, those glimpses at the inner workings of the projects we love and what the client and designer really think. When that client is Stanley Kubrick, and the designer is Saul Bass, it’s just brilliant. While we’re a bit late to the party on this, we had to share these images of Bass’ rejected designs for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, found on cinema website The Film Stage. The images were taken by Bobby Solomon, and capture the essence of the exchange between Kubrick and Bass tantalisingly. “Hard to read, even at this size,” scrawls Kubrick on one. “Hotel looks too sprawling,” and “not compact enough” he bemoans on the other, cementing his status as a true auteur. It’s like overhearing a conversation between two real masters of their craft, and my God we’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall for those “make the logo bigger” style conversations.

  5. Home-identity-o-street-its-nice-that-

    Like a big, tricky baby gestating over three years, O Street’s identity for Manchester arts venue Home was finally born last week having been growing and changing since 2012. The venue is the product of a coming together of two of Manchester’s best-loved arts organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, and so it was never going to be easy creating a look and feel for something that not only didn’t exist yet, but that also carried such a rich heritage.

  6. Studio_reko_work_in_progress_it's_nice_that_list

    Studio Reko is the joint venture of Swedish graphic designers Ludwig Mattsson and Frans Wiklund. Together these two have pooled their talents in the realms of typography and print design to create Work in Progress, a zine compiling their favourites from a vast archive of found imagery they use as daily inspiration. Ludwig and Frans are both students of Forsbergs Skola in Stockholm – the city’s first institution to offer a course entirely devoted to graphic design – and also curate a Tumblr of their weird and wonderful findings. Playing on the idea of unknown sources, the all red, black and white first issue of Work in Progress features synonyms for anonymity as well as quotes from Aldous Huxley all printed in a bespoke typeface, and has already sold out.

  7. List-studio-des-signes-singapore-branding-its-nice-that-

    Bright and busy, the identity for the Singapore in France festival imitates the country celebrated by the event beautifully. The look was created by a studio called Des Signes, founded by Elise Muchir and Frankin Desclouds in 2003. The festival identity joins an ever-growing client list of cultural institutions including Paris Musées, and its direct, bold approach explains the studio’s success. “We created an identity like the image of Singapore: lively, teeming and modern,” the studio explains. The identity centres around a device showing the word Singapore written in the four official languages of the island – English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese. This makes the colours appear to “vibrate.”

  8. Mcknight-kauffer-itsnicethat-list

    How’s this for some poster porn to brighten up a gloomy day? A collection of posters by American-born, Britain-based advertising poster artist Edward McKnight Kauffer is to go on sale at auction Christie’s this week, giving us as good an excuse as ever to revisit his fascinating archive of work. Living from 1890 until 1954, the artist’s career spanned a pivotal period in the advertising industry in Britain, allowing him to apply abstract, Futurist, Cubist, Impressionist influences to the designs he created for clients including Shell Mex and the London Underground, among others. Find out more about Christies’ penchant for poster design here.

  9. Kia-tas-peace-itsnicethat-list-

    Just over a week ago, graphic designer Kia Tasbihgou was finishing up a ten-week freelance stint with us at It’s Nice That, during which time he designed the identity for the Graduates 2015 competition, among a bunch of other stuff. So we knew he had some skills under his belt – bespoke typefaces, lettering, web design, etc. What we didn’t know until his last day was the the Kingston graduate had just finished off a personal project called Peace, a fully-formed Neo-Grotesk typeface, which Kia manipulated so that its first letter can also tell the time.

  10. Marta_gawin_itsnicethat_list

    Designer Marta Gawin flexes her graphical muscles in this beautiful and thoughtful identity for last year’s Ars Cameralis Festival in Katowice, Poland, creating a look inspired by the sculptures of Auguste Rodin. For the look and feel of the arts, literature, music and film festival, Marta created flat silhouettes of Rodin’s works as the main graphic theme. 

  11. Fons-bees-itsnicethat-list-3

    Fons Hickmann m23’s latest number is ostensibly the yellowest book we’ve ever covered on It’s Nice That. Appropriately it’s a declaration of love for one of the yellowest animals, the bee, and all the reasons we should be doing more to save them.

  12. Syfon_studio_collage_dehuman_it's_nice_that_list

    Warsaw-based creatives Urszula Janowska and Filip Tofil are no strangers to working with some of Poland’s foremost art spaces. Since meeting in a poster design class at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts, the founders of Syfon Studio have striven to be part of the city’s aspirational art initiatives. From creative direction for champions of Polish contemporary art like the Zachęta National Gallery, to editorial design for the right-bank creative hub Soho Factory that has attracted a wave of exciting galleries with its industrial edge, the young designers are ones to watch. What’s more, when they’re not working on these citywide design projects, they still manage to make time for self-initiated projects like this brilliant publication of Filip’s collages.

  13. Morphoria_diegrosse_itsnicethat_list

    There’s a reason why black and white is still a strong combination. It doesn’t shout, always looks cool, and allows the design to speak for itself. It’s the reason I was so drawn to German studio Morphoria’s identity and exhibition design for DIE GROSSE Kunstausstellung NRW 2015

  14. 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.

  15. Claudia_basel_doing_fashion_4_it's_nice_that_list

    Looking through Claudia Basel’s vast repertoire of impressive print work, its forward-looking, monochrome design for Doing Fashion Paper really holds its own against some of their brighter projects. Helmed by Roland John, Thomas Bircher and Jiri Oplatek, for the last five years the Swiss studio based in Basel have designed each issue of the Institute of Fashion Design’s annual publication showcasing students’ work. Like its posters for the young art fair in Basel, Liste we featured last year, the bold alphabet spreads and nudes overlaid with text for Doing Fashion Paper stand out from what is fast becoming an overflowing, first-rate portfolio.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Groszcolab_ascuiandco_itsnicethat_list

    The power of colour and its ability to influence our visual language is fascinating. Using colours to signal change and progression is Australian studio Grosz Co. Lab and their identity for architecture firm Ascui & Co. Architect.

  20. 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.

  21. Eddie-opara-pentagram-frida-kaho-its-nice-that-list

    While there’s no shortage of Pentagram projects on It’s Nice That, a partner whose work we don’t show too often is Eddie Opara. We’re not sure why, but remedying that we bring you this lovely project from Eddie and his team in the form of the catalogue for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Mexican Modern Art. Showing the famously monobrowed mistress of 20th Century painting and her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera and letting the imagery speak for itself, the design is simple, strong and confident, using a bright blue for the book’s spine inspired by Casa Azul, the couple’s home in Mexico City. Elsewhere the palette draws on the colours of Mexican folk art, while the striking large portraits on the front and back covers look to “position the pair as icons,” according to Pentagram. The catalogue accompanies an exhibition entitled Kahlo, Rivera and Mexican Modern Art, currently on show at the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.”

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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. 

  35. 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.

  36. 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.”

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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.