1. List

    Remember how that strange girl did that ridiculous song Friday threatening to ruin the best day of the week for EVERYONE? We do too, but in the ongoing effort to repair the aural damage done by her bizarre screeching, the It’s Nice That podcast Studio Audience is here again to soothe your lugholes. This week we’re talking photography, sexy animation and Kevin Bacon, plus Vimeo’s new pay-per-view experiment and the battle of the Christmas ads. Listen out also for a torturous Wizard of Oz reference and the lad klaxon. Enjoy!

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    Photographer Lucia Morate boasts a portfolio packed with artfully-shot enigma. The Madrid-based creative enjoys taking familiar set-ups and then twisting them to confound our expectations in a pleasantly disorientating way. So in Cactus in Bloom he takes the trust exercise of a person falling into someone else’s arms – a real office training favourite – and recreates it in all manner of striking locations. Similarly a series of small plastic animal figurines shot in shadowy profile raises any number of questions, to which the project title – Plastcized – teasingly hints at some answers.

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    No big deal but I’ve just been sitting here with my eyeballs turning into curry thanks to the wonderful animations of artist Rhys Coren. It’s Friday, so a little bit of coma-inducing pattern-shifting is totally allowed, nay recommended. A man with more projects under his belt than you can shake a USB stick at, Rhys has been at the forefront of young, contemporary artwork since 2008, relentlessly putting on shows and collaborations with some of London’s freshest thinkers such as Luckypdf and B.C.

  4. List

    Loving both science and art, their schism makes us feel like a bewildered child caught in the middle of a divorce we neither want nor understand. We know they both still love us and it’s nothing we’ve done, but it’s troubling. So imagine how much we enjoy the increasing moves to reunite these separated parties through a series of projects, the latest of which has raised hopes of a more permanent rapprochement.

  5. Ringgenbergfoam-list

    Gerrit Rietveld Academie graduate Mathias Ringgenberg trained in graphic design but, since leaving education, has expanded his practice into disciplines rarely associated with traditional design. Equally comfortable laying out a magazine for high-end fashion publications as he is putting together a performative piece for a live audience, it’s this willingness to experiment and broaden the scope of his work that sets him apart from his peers.

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    It’s fair to say there are quite a few of these sorts of projects floating about on the internet at the moment, but something about Bryan’s technique made this one stick out a little further than the others. Delving deep into the mining communities of the American West, Bryan has captured the ageing locals and the atmosphere of the once thriving, now dilapidated towns where they reside.

  7. Offf-list

    How do you advertise a creative conference in cinematic form? Short video profiles of each of your speakers? A walking tour of the venue you’re using? Perhaps something colourful and typographic? No, none of these things quite cut the mustard for OFFF 2012, one of the highlights of the conference calendar. A batsh*t crazy B-movie epic on the other hand did just the trick.

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    You know the feeling at a party when someone with no grasp of personal space talks at you and you politely lean back as they inch slowly towards your petrified face? That’s kind of the feeling you get when confronted with the close-up, gap-tooth photography of Ian Markell, who Vice tells us rides around on a motorbike and takes photos with one of these bad boys.

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    Andrew Lyons is an illustrator based in Normandy, France where he discovered a love for bandes dessinées with their clear line styles, but his individual method developed when he took a break from the exhausting process of trying to work a style towards the abstract/minimal and figurative methods. “One day I tried drawing without giving it too much thought and it all just came together,” he says and Andrew’s client list – which includes Wired, Creative Review and many more – seem to agree as they clamour for his jazz-age infused illustrations.

  10. List

    It’s always nice to come across a big juicy set of updates from a studio well-versed in the whys and wherefores of quality graphic design and the newly published work from Sawdust certainly fits that bill. The London-based studio of Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton work in various media across various sectors combining interesting ideas and flawless execution. I was particularly drawn to the redesign of Who’s Jack magazine where their art direction and custom typography produced a thoroughly engaging publication and I also liked the abstract print for Maison Alice but if you’re in any way into design, you’re likely to find something here to get your teeth into.

  11. Janieairey-list

    We’ve been waiting to see some artfully shot photographs of this year’s Olympic architecture – those astounding structures are owed some much-deserved lens love – and finally we’ve found them courtesy of photographer Janie Airey. Janie’s magnificent images capture some of the event’s stand-out venues in crisp definition, abstracting their unique and innovative features in ways you wouldn’t expect. Commissioned by the Olympic Delivery Authority they offer a surprisingly fresh take on corporate architectural photography and serve as a wonderful legacy to a Games that we still can’t quite shake off.

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    It’s hard to get across just how important this man is in just a few sentences, but it must be done. Mati Klarwein was the man literally responsible for every great, legendary record cover you’ll see — if he didn’t do it, he inspired it. A student of a Jerusalem art school at the age of 15, Mati began incorporating his spiritual beliefs into the images he was creating of the mountainous landscape he felt such affinity with. Brief spells in Paris, Mallorca and St.Tropez cemented his style and he soon became legendary for the trippy, erotic scenes he was able to produce unlike anyone else. Timothy Leary (who loved drugs) once said of Mati that he was one of the only artists at the time who “didn’t need psychedelics.”

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    Here’s a project that warms the creative cockles. Designers Michael Willows and Wayne Trevor Townsend, who between them make up Not on Sunday, have launched their first publication – a magazine with a worthy cause as well as beautiful design. The concept is based around giving one day back and designers, artists, typographers, and illustrators from the UK and Ghana came together collaboratively to produce a poster inspired by the figures 24/6.

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    Welcome to the subversion of ordinary, overlooked and everyday things into new, intriguing sculptural forms. Welcome then to the world and work of Chris Labrooy, who uses the advancements in 3D technology to explore CGI as a creative medium. After initially using these tools to visualise the projects he couldn’t afford, Chris then developed a practice that takes on the conventional visual codes; throwing the surreal into battle with the ordinary while introducing them both to a pot of colour and a family of effects. The way this process has worked out isn’t the disjointed scrap for attention between each element you might expect, but an overall feeling that the ordinary and surreal can sit together harmoniously – complementing each other in their mutual eccentricity. This alone makes the Shrink Wrap Stills both believable and realistic to our senses while inducing a level of absurdity. It’s almost a visual paradox, but one I’m very happy to live with.

  15. Keatonhenson-list

    It’s safe to say that Keaton Henson is uncomfortable in front of the camera, in fact he’s just plain uncomfortable in front of people. The 24-year-old musician and illustrator has notoriously crippling stage fright – he’s has only ever played a handful of live shows – and until now has never appeared in any of his own music videos. Which makes his latest offering Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us all the more extraordinary. William Williamson’s four-minute video for the track feature’s the artist’s face exclusively, fixing his unwaveringly painful gaze until he can take it no longer. It’s the kind of film you can get utterly lost in and are sure to watch again and again. Breathtaking.

  16. List

    If creativity is catching then Barcelona has been in the grip of an epidemic this past year. So much fun, interesting and exciting work has been produced there these past 12 months across a host of disciplines that it’s never a great surprise to discover a project we like hails from the Catalan city. The latest we can add to the list is Midi Colors by lagranja design. This new collection of tables, cabinets and shelves for the Sistema Midi company uses a bright colour palette and extruded aluminium as the starting points to create really eye-catching, playful and good-looking pieces of furniture.

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    It’s not often you actually laugh at someone’s drawings but Pete’s image of a man tickling a happy pig’s belly is perhaps the most hilariously pleasing picture ever made. Working in a style that brings to mind Acme towers and the classic advertising styles of New York past, Pete’s editorial work is second to none. Using a recurring visual trick of imitating the old-fashioned four-colour-process, Pete transforms his illustrations into the kind of thing you may get in a vintage newspaper — albeit with added speech bubbles containing words like “douchebag.”

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    The It’s Nice That Annual is now on press and no word of a lie we are counting the days until we can hold one in our human hands. The hardest thing about our newest project is conveying how big this thing is – sure the numbers above give you an idea of the kind of scale we’re talking about but we felt we needed a way to make it crystal clear.

  19. Process-list

    Studio Verse are a Melbourne-based gang of designers producing work across digital, print, branding and type. Most notably they’re contributing designers to the highly respected Process Journal, sister publication to MADE Quarterly, that explores the very best of antipodean and global design.

  20. Vonlist

    I find that in polite society, birds can be a bit divisive. For every person who sees in them the majestic realisation of our flight fantasies, there’s someone else who finds them a bit scary and flappy. But even the most unimpressed of this latter group might reassess their position on seeing HelloVon’s sumptuous new collection Flight. The London-based illustrator has today released the limited-edition collectors’ box set featuring five gorgeous new giclee prints which reflect his own fascination with “intricate structures, geometry, grace and inherent beauty” of birds. The abstracted images mark Von’s return to his hugely popular Animals series for the first time in more than a year and the hand-made box is a handsome looking thing too.

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    We’ve all heard the phrases “you are what you eat” or “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” which unconsciously barge into our thoughts seconds before we bite into a second helping of delicious guilt drizzled cake. With this in mind it’s far too tempting when speaking about Paris-based artist Mathilde Roussel to say we’re hungry for more. Limping cliches aside, the politics and importance of food to our existence is central throughout Roussel’s Lives of Grass. Her living grass sculptures marry recycled materials with soil and seed to create a living representation of life, growth, and inevitably decay.

  22. Chicagoinstallation-list

    Not that long ago, August in fact, we featured the work of designer Mathis Pfäffli and mentioned that he and his collective Detektiv Bureau were in the middle of a residency in Chicago. Well they’re still busy over in The Windy City but have just sent through some absolutely stunning images of what they’ve been getting up to since we last spoke.

  23. Domingo-list

    If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the comics and illustration world there’s a very good chance you’re familiar with the work of José Domingo; if you’ve not, allow us to introduce you. The Spanish illustrator is fast becoming a firm favourite among a new generation of comics writers, creating work in a distinct ligne-claire style that’s exuberantly surreal. José is equally at home reinterpreting book covers for legendary Beat writers as he is constructing a playful narrative for children’s stories. What remains consistent in his work however, is the skill with which he applies his trade and his canny use of colour. This is one man you’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

  24. Bread

    A pillar of any culinary scenario, and the ultimate underdog of sustenance — where do you even begin talking about how unbelievable bread is? Well, you can’t, because it’s too good. You’d think that for something this important it would be championed more often, but it took the collective brains of Omar Sosa and Ana Dominguez of Apartamento magazine with the artistic eye of photographer Nacho Alegre to make what can only be described as one of the most perfect homages to bread ever conceived. By selecting what looks like some of the finest bread in the world and stacking it up, Nacho created an appropriately simple and entirely effective still-life photo shoot.

  25. Opinion-list

    This week Liv Siddall looks at whether, with increased scrutiny on brands’ Christmas adverts, we should toss aside our cynicism for the festive season. As ever we’d welcome your comments below as well.

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    With a lot of design agencies putting their work up on their sites immediately in blog fashion, sometimes the older work can get a little lost. Studio Luc Derycke from Ghent have unflinchingly put up all of their graphic design work since 1990 on their site in a very attractive and simple archive. After 20 years of designing books they are, not surprisingly, incredibly good at it. Many galleries hail this studio as the go-to designers to make the books to accompany key exhibitions, so fingers crossed this very talented trio will help enormous pieces of art work their way onto meticulously designed pages of publications for many years to come!

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    I don’t work in advertising but if I did, I’d be the guy shouting outlandishly unrealistic ideas during creative meetings much to the chagrin of my colleagues. I like to imagine that’s how the new Saatchi & Saatchi spots for the 4G mobile network EE came about – that from the idea of connectivity came a reference to popular dinner party/drinking game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and from there someone shouted insolently: “Why don’t we get Kevin Bacon to play his own game?”

  28. Joekessler-list

    Remember our old mate Joe Kessler? ‘Course you do. He was one of our Graduates way back in 2010 and a prodigious cartooning talent. Since we last met Joe’s been embroiled in the creation of a new anthology of comics, a 44-page screen printed beast that he’s named Windowpane. Within its glossy pages are no fewer than seven brand new and original stories rendered in Joe’s distinctive style – fluid organic shapes interspersed with complex multi-point perspective.

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    The human form is a beautiful thing be it small, large, wobbly or as taut as Robin Hood’s bow. This beauty is the starting point for artist Kohei Nawa’s solo exhibition TRANS presented at Sandwich in his home town of Osaka. Kohei begins his transformation of the human form by utilising cutting-edge sculptural techniques involving 3D scans, computers and a whole load of distortion, manipulation and even more smoothing out. This computer process is called ‘texture mapping’ whereby the collected data can be tinkered with to create things that, at times, only hint to their original state. The resulting fluid, three-dimensional surfaces evoke a sense that these forms are not part of this world, but parallel to it.

  30. List

    Filmmaker Andrew Telling is a master of the less-is-more creative approach. For his new film released today, Andrew travelled to Vardø in Norway with artist Conor Harrington as he took part in Komafest and the result is four minutes of pure, pared-back perfection. Packed full of sumptuous shots, it’s a contemplative, atmospheric piece that luxuriates in the visuals and spins out the narrative at a leisurely pace. And the music – specially composed by Andrew and Lucinda Chua – adds an elegiac feel to the film which dovetails with the aesthetic restraint. It takes real talent to make a film as quietly confident as this, but Andrew is certainly the man to do it.

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    Here we have it, our brand spanking new Students of the Month! Hailing all the way from Vancouver, Knauf and Conrad are in their fourth year of studying at Emily Carr University and produced this rather beautiful Profile Chair last year. Of all our entries this month, Conrad and Knauf showed a rare knack for collaboration and a strong sense of the importance of the finished product. This subtle yet incredibly beautiful chair is a testament to how well they work together as a duo, which we will hear much more about below (along with some top tips on how to make your student work as lucrative as possible).

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    Carson Ellis has a compelling story to tell in more ways than one. She’s been a “hot dog vendor in California, a chairlift operator in Vermont, and an artist’s model in Montana.” Nowadays she’s happy to be an illustrator based in Oregon, and what an illustrator she is! Carson received the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in 2010, and has also provided artworks for not just two, or three, but FOUR New York Times bestsellers. So, it seems we have quite some talent here and this Saturday sees Carson Ellis’ return to Nationale with Mush, Mush, The Sloping Midnight Line and it’s all too enchanting not to have a good gander at.

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    Like most designers that have graduated from the Rietveld Academie, Aude Debout knows her way round the business end of a grid and has a serious talent for creating beautiful publications that range from the intellectually challenging to the plain bizarre. Whether she’s explaining the role of the MacGuffin throughout the history of western storytelling or celebrating contemporary furniture designers Vitra, Aude’s guaranteed to produce something incredible looking (check out the typographic saddle-stitching in one of his projects for proof).

  34. List

    As both its acolytes and detractors never tire of telling you, east London is many things, but a home to dubstep-danicng dinosaurs? That’s a new one for us. Luckily Reed + Rader’s mind works exactly like that and the New York-based duo have taken over the 18 Hewett Street gallery with a surreal Gif-tastic celebration bringing together prehistoric critters and cutting edge technology.
    The best thing about Pamela (Reed) and Matthew (Rader) is that they don’t take themselves too seriously and so let their imaginations run riot in ways which make their work all the richer.

  35. Stiff-list

    We’re not condoning pipe smoking (much), in fact we’d be inclined to suggest that inhaling tobacco smoke through a wooden receptacle probably isn’t the best idea you’ve had all week. But let’s just say for argument’s sake that you’re an enormous fan of this luxurious, effulgent pastime and you’re in the market for a new piece of hardware to meet your smoky requirements. Wouldn’t you like it if the pipe in your hands was as sartorially elegant and well-crafted as the shoes on your feet? We don’t know, we’re wearing Vans, but if they were a polished pair of brogues our answer would be “Yes, of course!”

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    Big statement coming up, but this publication is the reason that people continue to love zines. There is no other format that a collection of images such as these would work, apart from perhaps on a funny-image-bank website à la Buzzfeed. The thing is, this collection of stills of books featured in the 600+ Simpsons episodes to date is a very laborious and personal project by French graphic designer Olivier Lebrun, and deserves much more substantial recognition than a fleeting, shareable link. Luckily for Olivier (and us) the good people at Rollo-Press have published the 174 best images of Olivier’s collection in this small and perfectly-formed zine that will probably sell out faster than you can say “Springfield.”

  37. Lucasage-list

    You can’t fault the photographer that goes to great lengths to capture their subject. Whether armed with a telephoto lens in the middle of some horrific conflict or integrating themselves for months at a time in a foreign community, their commitment to capturing an incredible image is admirable – allowing those of us with less adventurous dispositions to enjoy a side of the world we may never actually see with our own eyes.

  38. List

    Well, well, well, Monday’s morning’s rolled round again like a cheeky, weekly rolling thing and if your ears have been uncharacteristically twitchy today it can only mean one thing – the It’s Nice That podcast is BACK. Ok it’s usually Friday but there was an iTunes thing going down, but never fear it is here! This week we took on the visual collateral of the US elections, whether the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize judges got it right as well as some of our top treats from the site this past seven days. Sweet, huh? Also look out for some bullying of the host and a slightly disturbing cat anecdote. Enjoy!

  39. List

    Twitter was full of references to this last week but I didn’t get round to investigating this properly until the weekend. In terms of productivity that was an unwittingly wise decision, as this is one of those sites that swallows up whole hours with effortless ease.

  40. List

    It’s an unwritten universal law that graphic design and cask ales are not the best of friends. Your local boozer tends to have about as much visual charm as a primary school tea towel; menus cobbled together by the landlady on her afternoon off and laminated in the local post office. The more highbrow establishments tend to opt for the ‘master’ chalk-writer approach, decorating their A-boards with grotesque monochrome sausage and mash or a frothy pint of bright white beer. Not good.