Miscellaneous Archive

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    We’ve got an interesting new design competition for you, bringing together a Scottish whisky brand and a really worthy cause. The Bunnahabhain distillery has partnered with The Fishermen’s Mission to challenge designers to come up with a new label for the bottle, putting a contemporary slant on the brand’s longstanding identity based around a travelling helmsman returning to the safety of the distillery.

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    Hey gang – prepare for your Tuesday to get at least 50 per cent more tremendous courtesy of the wonderful Times Haiku blog. Subtitled “Serendipitous Poetry from The New York Times,” the project is the result of an algorithm designed by the newspaper’s own technical team which sweeps the Times’ website for snippets of articles which fit the syllable criteria for a haiku. The best are then posted on the site.

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    We’ve all got objects we can’t live without, be it your favourite pen that enables you to be a better draughtsman, or the tin opener that helps you open tins like a total pro — to lose these objects is to lose a part of yourself. It took Time magazine to collect some of the world’s most influential brains and ask them about their sacred objects, and the results are fascinating, in a pleasantly humdrum kind of way. Behold, Michelle Obama’s gardening gloves, Sam Yagan’s Algorithm for Lovediagram and a book Perry Chen turns to for inspiration. So great.

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    I remember when making your own time capsule used to be a big deal, the pressure to compress your life into a small space was not to be taken lightly. Now the fine folk from Retronaut have used the internet and its infinite space to bring us Anywhen. The concept is still the same, but with the ability to categorise the date, and theme of the item, you can spend hours, even days, just looking through bizarre and kooky fragments of the past. Expect anything, from an early Michelin Man sporting a cigar and roller-skates, to strange Japanese map illustrations.

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    Ohhhh this is so nice. Last November, while you were perhaps been toiling away at a tax return or flicking numb-eyed through the Argos catalogue that you found on the bus, friends and occasional artistic collaborators Michael Crowe and Lenka Clayton were up to something very special indeed. Every day in November Michael and Lenka would create one drawing of something they had witnessed first hand that day, using only a typewriter as their medium.

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    Hot diggity damn! It seems like Coney Island in the 1970s was the place to be. Beach babes in every direction, and no one captured it better than Bruce Gilden. POINT have produced over four hours of material with Bruce Gilden and have given us a short excerpt with the man. Comments like he is only nice with his “wife and cats, and sometimes my daughter,” and exclaiming that he doesn’t want his subjects feel special, you can’t help but start to love the guy for his indirect charm. The complete version will be shown at the POINT Authenticity Conference at RIBA on May 2-3.

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    Our jolly good friend Paul Smith (that clunking sound was the BIGGEST name being dropped) is opening a new shop in London’s Soho and he wants you to help decorate it. Paul gets sent the most extraordinary array of things from around the world and his studio is jam-packed with everything from scale models to hand-knitted blankets. He is always particularly struck by the beautiful envelopes and packages that arrive at his offices every day and that gave him an idea. So for his new Beak Street store he plans to showcase some of the weird and wonderful envelopes that he receives – you can send them to Paul Smith, 46 Beak Street, London, W1F 9RJ and make sure you include a return address as well. The closing date for entries is May 27.

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    If you’re the sort of person who has ever sat inside on a summer afternoon paint- bombing the walls of the frigate in Goldeneye, or spending countless hours zooming in on villagers’ faces in the market square of Hyrule, you’ll probably be into this. Andy Kelly, who writes reviews of video games and other “modern lyfe” accessories for fine publications such as Edge, The Guardian, PC Gamer and Total Film, and many other fine publications, has created this fantastic compilation of all the toilets featured in video games.

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    In today’s creative community, it’s all about convergence. Multi-skilled practitioners are well-versed in producing stupendously good results by combining different genres, collaborating with different peers and colliding different visual styles. That goes to the heart of the new campaign for adidas originals, with the brand partnering with Talenthouse to offer you the chance to remix their look and feel in whatever way you see fit, and win £5,000.

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    We’ve all been there, I’m just going to go out and say it. Whether it’s your own darling offspring, or someone else’s that you’ve had the pleasure of looking after, sometimes kids are real jerks. Considering that everyone is super-nice to them and panders to their every need every single second of the day, you’d think they’d be a little more grateful wouldn’t you?

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    These houses are amazing, and that’s before you even realise that they are actually teeny tiny miniature reproductions of real houses! Crafted by Narcissa Ward Thorne, known more commonly as Mrs James Ward Thorne, in the 1920s and 1930s, they’re exact replicas of classical interior and exterior architecture that define the periods they were designed in. From contemporary dining rooms to classic English libraries, the mind-boggling craftsmanship that have gone into these works of art is pretty staggering.

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    We’re all prone to a bit of gormless down-time, scrolling through seemingly infinite lists of collated failures and funnies, it’s just the cultural climate, amiright? The other seemingly infinite thing that takes up an allotted slot in our day is commuting, so what could possibly better than to have a funny list of commuting photobombs? Some clever people has been folding their free newspapers and magazines into clever masks for unsuspecting commuters making for a seriously hilarious collection of photobombs. Well done people!

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    There’s been a fair amount of chatter around the launch of the HTC One and now they’ve partnered with Talenthouse to give you the chance to help define the look and feel of the national billboard ad campaign. As well as the exposure, there’s also £1,000 prize money and the chance to win £5,000 for a charity of your choice.

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    Technically this isn’t art or design, it’s science, pure and simple; psychology to be precise. But we’re prepared to bend the rules a little here, because the one thing you can’t deny is that these mind-blowing visual illusions are insanely creative. Produced by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a psychology professor at the Ritsumaikan University in Kyoto, Japan, who specialises in visual perception, these experimental images are intended to reveal quirks in the mechanical and cognitive systems that contribute to our personal perceptions of the world. It’s mind-bending stuff, so take care, if you’re susceptible to dizziness then the following pictures might not be your thing.

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    Our brand new intern bowled up at It’s Nice That HQ this morning, ready, willing and able to write the heck out of some top art and design over the next ten weeks. So we are delighted introduce Holly Wilkins – everyone this is Holly, Holly meet everyone. Read on to find out about what she learned about living in Los Angeles, what really goes well with peanut butter and which Power Ranger she most wanted to be…

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    This week I was lucky enough to go to The Future Laboroatory’s LSN Global Trend Briefing in London where one of the sessions focussed on the rise of the i Generation. These are the children who have grown up with technology as something constant and ubiquitous in their lives, and amid the fascinating insights and LSN ‘s love for a portmanteau (sharenting anyone?) they played this video created by Soulpancake featuring their regular character Kid President. Now I know there’s something a bit light entertainment about kids behaving in adult ways but cast aside your misgivings because this is BRILLIANT. Really nicely shot, undoubtedly uplifting and with some absolutely killer lines (“Not cool Robert Frost”) it’s no surprise this has been viewed 14 million times. Believe me this will get you pumped up and ready for the weekend and remember – “What will be your Space Jam?”

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    From Lernert and Sander, the genii that brought you the melting chocolate bunny and the woman with a year’s worth of make-up on her face comes a rather extraordinary new venture into the world of perfume. Endorsed by celebrities and brands since, well, forever, perfume and the idea of marketing a scent that represents a brand is a continuously fascinating subject. Lernert and Sander have, like with every project they do, hit the nail firmly on the head with Everything: a potent combination of every single one of the 1400 fragrances released in 2012.

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    It took a lot of energy to not start crying at the thought of a platform game about my favourite novel, but I just about managed. After all, it’s hard to cry and control NES Nick Carraway running through Gatsby’s mansion, picking up bonus cocktails and shooting down waiters. This has to be one of the best things on the whole internet at this moment: a true work of art of a game that is so true to the novel and the NES style. Oh God it’s amazing. I’m going to go and play it again now (I haven’t got past the garden stage yet) and then I’m going to write to Charlie Hoey at The Barbarian Group, who made this incredible game, and thank him profusely. You should too.

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    One thing we really love about our jobs is having the freedom to trawl the web for some of the strangest, most obsessive creative projects out there. We like it when people do great things for no good reason other than having an inexplicable passion for something niche and far too much time on their hands. Which is why we like Glasgow-based artist Adam Shield, a man with an unhealthy interest in abandoned mattresses that he’s channeled into a bizarre creative project.

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    I seriously hope you’re not coming here for answers as to how this man constructed these super fun 1950s underwater photographs, including persuading those beautiful pin-up girls to hold their breath for that long, because to be honest we have no idea. What we do know is that Bruce constructed a makeshift underwater camera shortly after arriving in New York (as you do) and took it straight to the big dogs in Hollywood where it was immediately put to use.

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    The great thing about Fred Perry is that the classic polo t-shirt is not just a great wardrobe staple, it’s synonymous with everything from This is England-esque skinhead party scenes to strawberries on the lawns of the mansions of famous tennis players. Now this classic brand is turning the ripe old age of 60, it has summoned some of the best creatives in the world of art and fashion to reinterpret the t-shirt as they see fit.

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    Good afternoon everyone this is your editor speaking. We are currently cruising at the optimum It’s Nice That altitude and are looking forward to a turbulence free month of March.

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    Everyone loves Olly Moss, and do you know why? Because he’s one of the only graphic designers out there who makes genuinely good homages to pop culture. Remember his Star Wars posters that made the knees of every nerd in the country knock together in wonder? He did those. Remember the spectacularly clever Oscars diagram where every Best Film winner was represented as an award? He did that too.

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    And now the end is near and so The Ideal Studio faces its final curtain. For the past four weeks we’ve been working with Represent Recruitment on a quest to discover which factors designers, studio managers and experts believe contribute to a productive creative environment. For this final week we lined up a diverse group who brought a really fascinating set of ideas to the project, rounding us off in style.

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    Rightly or wrongly, Instagram has become something of trek through the mundane and formulaic – the sunset, a trendy burger, infinite cats. But Jung von Matt and Alster are trying to turn those cliches on their head with their new Untamed campaign for Mercedes. The challenge is simple – Instagram users are invited to take and upload an image which encompasses the idea of “the natural enemy of the average.” They’re looking for unusual, intriguing, provocative and inspirational photographs with the best projected as part of a digital installation in Paris throughout April. So spare us another snap of your dinner and let’s start seeing something out of the ordinary.

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    Every night before I shut down my computer I kneel beside the monitor, light a candle, and give thanks to Buzzfeed. Now we don’t know where they’ve got most of this absolute treasure trove of old, questionable cereal from the 1980s from, but we do know that some of it is from the online archive of New York candy-lover Jason Liebig. Jason’s site is a homage to the spectacular, colourful packaging to be found on the shelves of the supermarket. You can see why people actually collect these old boxes — the bubble-type, the lurid colours and the hand-drawn cartoons are such a far cry from nutritional advice and pictures of healthy people you get on cereal these days, and are actually brilliant pieces of design that define an era. Check out some more drool-worthy packaging over on Jason’s Flickr page.

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    For the third week of our search for what makes the ideal studio with Represent Recruitment, we changed gear a bit and threw it open to some designers rather than people who run studios. We approached some freelancers to pick their brains about the various studios they had worked in, and we spoke to a couple of young designers to get a fresh perspective as well. You can add your thoughts as well using the discussion thread below…

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    As a kid I spent more than my fair share of time moving pixels around on a screen about half the size of an iPhone. I could kill hours in this fashion, endlessly tapping away at buttons that only made the most incremental differences to the images that appeared in front of me. Back then it never crossed my mind that platform gaming wasn’t the height of interactive excitement and that one day games like Grand Theft Auto would completely blow my mind.

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    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone – sorry to plunder your most famous work W.H. Auden but this needs a little quiet. Boston-based firm WobbleWorks have launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for the 3Doodler, billed as the world’s first 3D printing pen. This is by far one of the most interesting, exciting developments in this realm I’ve seen for ages and, for anyone else familiar with early 1990s cartoon Penny Crayon, our dreams may be about to become a reality.

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    This is simply tremendous. Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo have started a blog which showcases the poetry of Google’s predictive search facility, building its suggested searches into strange, moving little works of art. The often baffling juxtapositions of song lyrics, sayings and bizarre sentences come together to reflect some of our age-old preoccupations – love, sex, death, religion etc. Whatever else you’ve got on today, take a few minutes to visit this special little corner of the internet.

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    We’re now half way through our Ideal Studio project with Represent Recruitment and this week has seen another five studios sharing their ideas about what they believe makes for the perfect creative environment.

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    Can we just take a minute to close our eyes and give thanks for the internet? Once that’s done, have a look around this collection of naively brilliant Beware of The Dog signs from Nepal. These little nuggets of creativity warn trespassers not just of dogs, but of horses, cats, enlightened chickens and even spiders. The woman behind this awe-inspiring collection is Michelle Page, whose interest in the signs goes beyond their charming aesthetic.

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    This is unbelievable. Photographer Jon Crispin has visited the remains of an old psychiatric hospital, formerly known as The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane, and has discovered hundreds of old suitcases belonging to its former patients. Packed with trinkets ranging from letters to ornaments to photographs, these images tell the stories of every person who was committed to this famous psychiatric hospital back in the late 1800’s.

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    On Monday we launched our new project with Represent Recruitment looking at which factors, both physical and cultural, contribute to the perfect creative environment. There’s been lots of wisdom and insights from the five agencies we’ve focussed on this week, kicking off with Pentragram partner Angus Hyland who pointed to the partner structure as a key strength of their setup. “I think the atelier culture means we can have an overall Pentagram culture as well as strong individual voices,” he said, but he also praised the fact that with 65 staff in 16,000 square feet in their west London offices this “surfeit of space” was a “key ingredient” for a productive and harmonious workplace.

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    They say true beauty is a rare thing, but when it comes to manhole covers in Japan, these little gems are absolutely everywhere. Traditional-looking and ornate they may be, but these decorative beauties actually began popping up in the 1980’s. Depending on which region of Japan you’re in, the imagery and symbols will change, but the general style and colour palette remains. Not bad for something that, in all fairness, covers up faeces and gets walked on all day.

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    As you know I’m not one to point the finger of blame at anyone but my Editor’s Letter is a few days late and we need to find the culprit. Now I’m prepared – as the editor and the person who writes the editor’s letter – to take the lion’s share of the blame but I think maybe in the interests of ongoing harmony that we all learn a bit of lesson, collectively, and move on. Deal? Great, well let me crack on and tell you what’s coming up for February.

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    Last year Represent Recruitment spent the month of February delving into what creative businesses look for in new employees – from qualifications and portfolios to punctuality and enthusiasm. The project was a great success but some pointed out that there was a similar discussion to be had surrounding what creatives look for in the businesses they work for. And so this year Represent turned the tables and The Ideal Studio was born. It’s Nice That is delighted to have worked with the recruitment specialists to explore which factors help facilitate top-quality creative thinking.

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    Today there’s a lot of lucky people venturing up to the very top of The Shard to have a sneaky debut peek at the sights the summit offers. The good old Guardian have, of course, already seen it, and are generous enough to make this truly marvellous interactive map of the view. The blue icons give you information about key buildings, and the orange ones provide charming stories from popular British figures such as Antony Gormley and Tony Benn about the capital’s key locations. As well as making you definitely want to go up in that elevator as soon as physically possible, this impeccably built map makes you go all squishy about the city you live in when seeing it from such height. The soundtrack provided — lots of bird song and noise pollution from Heathrow’s flight path — is brilliant, but by all means mute it and put on The Kinks whilst you merrily browse the skyline.

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    “Now, I’m not going to pretend to you that what I do has any real worth. But then again, can any of us claim real worth?” are the words of Phil Lucas, our new favourite human. With Heat Magazine as his guide, and Photoshop as his sword, Phil has created a list of celebrities, working in dull office jobs and performing particularly mundane tasks that, coincidentally, rhyme perfectly with their name. There isn’t much left to explain other than this has validity because it’s not just some internet tripe, it’s the work of a very clever writer and comedian, who has officially just made our week. All hail Phil Lucas!

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    Do you ever think it’s worrying that there’s so much batshit crazy stuff on the World Wide Web that this concept, a dog wearing current trends, doesn’t even seem that weird anymore? Do you know what I mean? Anyway, this Tumblr is only a baby so there’s only four photos on it so far, but it’s enough to get the gist of what it’s going to include from now on, and that’s a fox-like dog from NYC wearing fashionable menswear. The submit section is, so far, empty, so if you’ve got a cute dog and some expensive denim…you know what to do.