1. Fontsmith-list

    Type fanatics of the world rejoice; that limited selection of Swiss modernist type faces you’ve been using for the past decade has just been increased by one; and it’s a beauty! The respectable folks over at Fontsmith, in particular type design director Phil Garnham, have spent the past two years developing FS Emeric, a sans serif with a distinctly modernist flavour enhanced and updated with some additional contemporary flourishes.

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    Thomas Albdorf (strong name) from Vienna was one of our Students of the Month back in January 2011 when he blew us away with his mystic photographs of shapes in odd environments. Now he’s back with this bountiful, extensive project entitled Former Writer, Part 1: Colour on Surface that explores his teenage habit of graffitiing anything that stayed still long enough to be spray-painted.

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    Beautiful book identities here from 1:2:3, a Swedish design studio started by Axel von Friesen and Petter Törnqvist that work with “film, art direction, books and identities.” Their new work for skilled publishers B-B-B-BOOKS is something very magical indeed, featuring a spinning golden coin as a logo and (from what it looks like) a sort of talisman freebie. As well as creating this unique visual identity, 1:2:3 has also designed a very lovely website to show off all their lovely publications. I’d best be off now, I’ve got a lot of books I need to A) earn the money to buy and then B) buy.

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    How the jiggery did we not know about this super project from Paris-based Korean designer Yvette Yang which has been going for SIX years now. For every season since 2007 Yvette has produced a Fashion-Font which turns the trends of that particular set of collections into a typeface. The hand-made results are fascinating, reflecting the whims of our sartorial overlords in a quirky, communicative and novel way.

  5. Listimagethomasslater

    Not only does Thomas Slater have the cutest dog ever, his illustrations are rather brilliant too. Thomas’ desire to put a smile on people’s faces has certainly paid off, especially Bad Guys Doing Not So Bad Things, where you come across Bond villian Oddjob casually walking his neighbour’s dog (what a nice guy!).

  6. Swine-list

    Studio Swine are pretty unique in their commitment to sustainability in the luxury product market. There’s not many other designers out there that would trawl the oceans for plastic to create a bespoke stool or use human hair as a production material for luxury eyewear. It seems to us that they’re almost single-handedly championing recycling and reusing in their area of the creative industries – which is all well and good on its own, but all of Swine’s output also looks fantastic.

  7. Listsamuel

    In honour of the appearance of spring, we thought we all deserved the sun-drenched, vivacious photography of Samuel J Davison. Born in Melbourne and now living in Berlin, his photographs capture all that is fun and happy-go-lucky about the summer months. From the travelling side (the odd fry-up to remind you of home) to frolics in the sun, I can tell excitement is welling up inside you. In Samuel’s words, “Party all the time,” which is probably the best advice I’ve ever heard. Bring on the summer!

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    We shouldn’t need to convince you how enamoured we are by the creative process – in fact if you didn’t know that about us then I think we should see other people. But even by our own insatiable standards, a new lovely book by Laura Heit has ticked all sorts of boxes. Animation Sketchbooks does exactly what it says on the tin (cover), opening up the notebooks and skecthpads of more than 50 top animators working across a host of styles. Featuring the likes of David Shrigley, Isabel Herguera, Jeff Scher and Koji Yamamura, it’s a beautiful and insightful peek into the way these leading lights work on paper. From really minimalist markings to full colour treatments via lists and storyboards, it’s a good reminder of how everyone has their own way of doing things.

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    Here at It’s Nice That we pride ourselves on knowing and keeping up with the majority of people doing amazing artistic things, but sometimes like a slap in the face in the dark, someone comes along who we’ve never heard of, with such a magnificent body of work it blows us away. Brian Scott Campbell came into our lives yesterday via The Fox is Black and, as you can see, he’s something rather special indeed.

  10. Opinion-list

    The publication that brought us “Position of the Month” is no more – this week assistant editor Liv Siddall looks at the demise of More! magazine and suggests that we should show solidarity with all of those fighting the good fight in print. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

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    What better way to open our arms to the new season than with some illustrative updates from one of our favourite Swedish illustrators, Malin Rosenqvist. Malin’s recent work has a strong floral theme running through it, made all the better by her trademark pastel fine-liner style. A lot of this new work, although it mingles with her personal sketches, has been commissioned by interesting publications such as Canadian magazine Mindful, German train magazine DB-mobil and, fittingly, Allt om Trädgård, a Swedish gardening publication. Happy spring!

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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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    London-based performance poet Musa Okwonga’s new offering is a homily to his hometown, a celebration of the characteristics that convince him (and many others) that this is the greatest city in the world. For the accompanying video, Musa has been filmed walking through the streets of The Big Smoke as his ode unfolds, and the viewer is able to click and drag the camera angle 360 degrees to explore the city with him. This kind of technology is not new, but while often it comes across as gimmicky, here it really enhances the message, immersing us in the very city to which the poem pays such glowing tribute. As ever Musa’s linguistic skills are a treat, as is his jaunty pork pie hat.

  14. Witz-list

    Last year we came across the hyper-real oils on canvas of Chicago artist Dan Witz and were completely blown away. His vastly complex studies of mosh pits defied belief and were so laboriously constructed we could hardly believe that Dan could find time to do anything else. In actual fact he’s produced an intimidating number of hyper-real paintings over the course of his career and also managed to maintain a pretty illustrious practice as a street artist.

  15. Lisssstmate

    What’s that you say? Toiling over how much pasta to cook for numerous people has gone for good? Well Studio Lievito has designed a beautiful accessory which might just have ended that conundrum for good. Made from a single piece of white Carrara marble, each slot caters for one, two, three or four people. It’s an Italian hunk that not only is ridiculously good-looking, but means you will never let pasta go to waste again. Along with the spaghetti measurer, Studio Lievito presented an variety of elegant and practical products at Milan Design Week 2013, including this dry-rack suspended by a perimeter of natural bristles. Benissimo!

  16. Hojmark-list

    If you like cycling around on sunny days and aligning type in InDesign as much as me (you don’t, nobody does!) then you’ll probably appreciate Ineo Designlab’s latest work for Højmark Cycles. It’s a Danish-via-Norwegian bike company based in Berlin that specialises in handmade frames of exceptional quality and with ‘handmade’ the operative word in the Højmark ethos, Ineo incorporated a number of hand-rendered details into the brand visuals including a tasty embossing kit and a custom-drawn logotype. Take note Condor and Cinelli, the discerning cyclist likes their bike emblazoned with a beautiful logo just as much as they care about the quality of the steel (maybe).

  17. Nr-list

    It’s close to a year since we checked up on the brilliant Nathaniel Russell to see what was cooking in his kitchen so, because we’re polite (and because we’ll take any excuse to spend an hour or so on his site), we thought it was about time to update you on his progress. If you’re already familiar with Nat’s work you’ll know why we like him. If not, allow me to explain – he makes use of colour like no other illustrator we know, he also uses plain old brush and ink like an absolute pro, creating sinister, surreal images with short, punchy scraps of written narrative thrown in for good measure. He’s a maker of giant screen prints, a painter of vibrant pictures and he thinks the cosmos is cool! Anyway, most importantly he’s got new work on his site which (SURPRISE!) is really good.

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    Aha! I know you thought when you clicked on this post we had succumbed to really crass advertising. Do you think we would do that to you? Really? We will put our hurt feelings aside (because we love you), and reveal that these adverts are actually a French literacy campaign, created by ad agency DDB Paris. Clever eh?

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    If you’re London-based and the sight of your own bare flesh is enough to make you want to put sunglasses on, then this playlist is for you! That’s right, the sun’s out and we can stop crying ourselves to sleep every night in our beds full of dry skin and sadness. This calls for new music, so here’s the It’s Nice That Monthly Mixtape #3 with the apt theme of spring! A collection of songs inspired by beer gardens, roast lamb, daffodils and driving with the windows open. What are you waiting for? Click this link and crank it up to eleven!

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    If you haven’t already heard of Adam Buxton, you’ve clearly been living in a hole for the past decade. Adam is an actor, writer and director, and not to mention pretty damn funny. You probably know him from The Adam & Joe Show with partner in crime, Joe Cornish; their creative partnership spanned more than a decade and the duo were featured on Channel 4, Xfm, BBC 6 Music and E4.

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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 look forward to Pick Me Up a great deal – not only does it mark the beginning of spring and the joys of drinking beer outdoors, it also marks the point in the year where some of the world’s best illustrators and artists can bring their wares into one large area to exhibit to the public. What’s great is that most people, those outside of the strange hot-dog infused world of illustration, will never have seen a lot of these artists (and will be able to buy affordable items to take home with them).

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    I’m a big fan of the fact designers Ken Meier and Yoonjai Choi called their studio Common Name, but I’m an even bigger fan of the duo’s work. It’s no real surprise that this combination is so successful, with stints at 2×4 (Yoonjai) and IDEO (Ken) on their CVs as well as prestigious teaching posts, and the recent launch of their splendid new website is the perfect excuse for a snoop through their portfolio. From record sleeves to publications and in particular a host of impressive digital work, Common Name clearly have an uncommon knack for getting graphic design right. I was spoiled for choice in choosing some work to showcase but plumped in the end for this identity for Artsy, an art discovery tool for which they provided a simple, striking and versatile brand identity. Great stuff.

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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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    We don’t often write posthumous posts on It’s Nice That, but I can assure you that when we do it is definitely worth a read. In the case of Olle Eksell, I’d say that I’ve never come across someone’s work who is so quintessentially up our street. Eksell, who dipped his talented toe into the world of advertising, illustration, graphic design and writing, has a portfolio that is at once fun, humorous, well-informed and totally ahead of his time.

  26. Brulat-list

    During a year of international travelling, photographer Ruben Brulat undertook a personal project that saw him inviting strangers to romp naked across the exotic landscapes in which they found themselves – Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet and Indonesia. Stopping passers-by and asking for their participation Ruben amassed a series of images and stories of individuals and couples embracing the landscape with their whole bodies. At times erotic, at others like the result of some fit of reckless abandon the images all paint a picture of humanity at its weakest and most open; exposed to the elements and the whims of their surroundings. This series is reminiscent of John Crawford’s Aerial Nudes which we featured a while back but with less whimsy and more existential questioning.

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    If you’re the sort of person that likes roller coasters, strobe lights, fireworks and hallucinogens, this is the video for you. It’s directed by Morgan Beringer, a philosophy graduate with a penchant for the “unexplored conceptual space between still/moving image”. Not only is this a simplistic game-changer of a video, it’s also set to an impressive jazz punk track featuring honking, twangy music from the likes of Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear and Hello Skinny. More pleasing proof that you don’t need a Canon EOS-1D and some part-time models to make a perfect, shareable music video.

  28. Evian-list

    For some time now it’s been Evian’s prerogative to advertise solely through the medium of CGI babies engaging in strange physical pursuits (rollerblading and synchronised swimming in particular). While you can’t deny that the brand has been extremely successful in flooding the bottled water market with advertising that doesn’t just bang on about volcanic springs and the health benefits of keeping hydrated, those computer generated infants still have a habit of freaking me out – something about their automaton-like movements is wholly unnerving.

  29. World_around_1900list

    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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    We seemed to have stumbled across a fair few excellent Canadian illustrators recently and Quebec-based Sébastien Thibault is the latest to catch our eye. His strong portfolio includes work for the likes of TIME, The Boston Globe and Rolling Stone Italy who have all appreciated his talents for taking sometimes quite abstract or convoluted concepts and rendering them with wit and clarity. He’s particularly adept at tackling themes around technology and our shifting relationship with it, although he also does a nice line in more weird and wonderful subjects too, such as his spanner-weilding lobster.

  31. Vliisstt

    Meet Dave. Dave lives in a place called Here, an island where not a lot happens. It’s surrounded by a grey, ambiguous expanse called There, which the residents of Here avoid thinking about. Until one day, something issn’t quite right, and thoughts of the unknown begin creeping into Dave’s head…

  32. Atrak

    We’ve seen lots of Fischli & Weiss inspired chain reactions in creative work over the last few years, so this latest one for A-Trak & Tommy Trash’s Tuna Melt should be a total non-event. However, the charms of Kinetic King’s (AKA Tim Fort) unbelievable patience makes this one something to write home about, demonstrating that compelling content is a brilliant way to stop the viewer’s pesky skipping finger. The big final reveal had me literally laughing out loud (also, for the cynics – it turns out they really did do it.).

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    Are you a young, gangly man who smells of smoke and carries a guitar around stained duvet and fag-end strewn flats? Do you find yourself in dingy basements covered in your own, and other peoples’ sweat most weekday evenings? If so, there’s a high possibility that you have been snapped by the legendary Hedi Slimane and added into his colossal online diary.

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    Design studio Tappin Gofton have been working in collaboration with Nadav Kander following his exhibition Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man to create two sleek, hand-made book editions featuring Nadav’s human subjects. The first version features a black cloth cover with a foil blocked finger smear, made by Nadav himself. The second limited edition book features a unique hand painted cover (also by Nadav), and it echoes “the application of the hand applied white paint and dust used on all of the nude bodies.”

  35. Andy-list

    Nobody but nobody out there understands disco culture like Andy Massaccesi. Having worked in discos for the past eight year’s he’s got a pretty unique perspective on the strange happenings that take place in those vast, darkened dens of iniquity. In his attempt to reveal the strange nuances of human social interaction Andy has put himself amongst a plethora of partygoers; young, old, male, female, foamy, sweaty and off their nuts, each of them following the same ingrained rules of party-going.

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    It’s safe to say we’re pretty big fans of Osma’s photography. He’s been featured and commissioned in our two most recent publications, and we’ve wasted no time in putting his work on the site as often as we can. We know that Helsinki-based Osma likes to linger around middle-eastern markets and in Finnish woodland to capture his perfect shot, but which books inspired him to choose to do this as a career? No time to lose, let’s find out. Over to you, Osma.

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    We know that Things conjures strange, yet wonderful, feelings inside you. Don’t suppress them, you know it’s best for you and to give you a better reason, this week is especially full of marvellous items. What are you waiting for?

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    This week The Weekender has spent most of its time ‘a la Flashdance’, in a skin-tight leotard and leg warmers gyrating provocatively at a floor-length mirror and mouthing sexy lyrics to itself. And why has this been the primary activity in The Weekender’s week? Because of Daft Punk and Pharrell’s new single of course; The Weekender can’t resist that gorgeous man with his sensual lyrics, beautiful face and winning smile, nor the effortlessly catchy tunes of its favourite French electro pioneers. Sing it with me now: “We’re up all night to get lucky, we’re up all night to get lucky, we’re up all night to get lucky!”

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    It’s difficult to know where to start with Erik Kessels due to the sheer variety of his work. For starters, Erik is the creative director of KesselsKramer, a world-renowned communications agency based in Amsterdam. Since 1996, he has built up an accomplished portfolio for national and international clients.

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    We’ve collaborated with Zine Swap and graphic designer Patrick Fry (No Zine) to bring you Off Cuts – a two-day workshop offering you the chance to make your own zines. It’s taking place in one of the stunning galleries of the Tate Tanks, the impressive new spaces launched last year as part of the Tate Modern’s ambitious new performance and live art programme.