1. Sotm-list

    Things have been quiet on the Student of the Month front lately, but that’s not because we’ve forgotten about you guys out there in full-time education, it’s because we’ve been trying our darndest to think of the best way to put your work out there and give you the recognition you deserve. We figured there had to be a way to shout about all the talented students of the world even louder and more frequently than we currently do. So we’ve had a bit of a rethink and changed things up; meaning there’s a brand new format, but still the best student work, worldwide, being showcased on our site.

  2. Main

    There’s a generation of artists emerging who have grown up utilising Microsoft Paint as an artistic medium (I speak from experience). Once you’ve nailed monsters, blobs, squiggles and a palette reminscent of early Saved by The Bell episodes, you’re pretty much there. Tim Colmant has totally mastered this particular technique, and has been beavering away making pleasant patterns and cheery creatures for a while now. Fancy a scroll through a lovely, squiggly bunch of images? Just head on over to his website.

  3. Yan-nascimbene2

    We’ve only just discovered the beautiful watercolours of Yan Nascimbene. The late French/Italian artist and writer produced over 60 illustrated books and over 300 book covers. His details are exquisite and his smooth, rich washes are gorgeous. But it is the space in Nascimbene’s work that really makes the viewer draw breath.

  4. List

    Zine lovers of the world rejoice, your insatiable appetite for limited-run, cheaply produced publications is about to be sated by a unique and unusual online service. Anonymous Press is a small publishing platform that allows you to select an online database of your choice, pick a subject you’re interested in and produce an image-based zine that’s available to print on demand. Each one only costs three dollars and is permanently stored in an online archive, ready for re-printing whenever there’s demand. Think of it as the online photocopier you never had, just waiting for you to churn out fanzines on John Ruskin, inter-dimensional travel or whatever else your niche interests require. And they keep saying print is dead…..

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    There’s something about a glorious lampoon that really floats my boat, and the latest genre in the crosshairs is the uber-affected arty fashion film. Directed by Matthew Frost and starring Lizzy Caplan, Fashion Film is a thing of proper piss-taking beauty, ticking off self-indulgent clichés with brutal, sun-kissed efficacy. So Lizzy is all about quirky objects, little-known 1960s bands and vintage paperbacks (called Vintage Paperback), she has her art, likes to frolic outside and admits: “Sometimes I think to myself in French.” It reminds me of Adam Buxton’s wonderful take-down of self-conscious music videos and Fashion Film relies on some high production values to really ramp up the ridicule. Kudos to all involved and in particular Viva Vena! the brand for whom this anti-film is a promo.

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    Rarely has a photographer portrayed artists in such a friendly manner as Eamonn McCabe in his series of portraits of artists in their studios. Eamonn has been working as a freelance photographer since 1976 and has broken a record by being crowned Sports Photographer of The Year four times! His ability to bring a welcoming, friendly view on all matter of subjects has earned him not only a place in the Guinness Book of Records but also a few spots in the National Portrait Gallery, where you can currently see a few of his images, in particular his portrait of Sarah Lucas which is being displayed as part of the 2013 Taylor Wessing Prize.

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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.

  8. Thework-list

    Ben Campbell has been in the business of design and art direction for over ten years, working under the moniker of There Work. He specialises in motion graphics with a particular focus on indents, tittle sequences and animated logos. While his portfolio of commercial work definitely demonstrates impressive skill, we’re incredibly partial to his personal experiments in motion graphics. His blog is full of looped animations, taking recognisable geometric forms (think Pepsi logo and RCA’s old vinyl centre labels) and turning them into mind-bending gifs. There’s a real charm to seeing these beautiful marks moving with such fluidity and we’d urge you to go and have a look at them all for yourself. Lovely stuff Ben!

  9. List-crb

    Café Royal Books was set up by Craig Atkinson in 2005. Based in Southport, he publishes around 15 short run artists’ editions a year. The mostly black and white photographs and drawings form an eclectic library ranging from China Slides to Geriatric Kama Sutra. Uniformly presented as stripped-back zines and wordless save for title and artist, each fascinating little book is produced on quality paper with a smooth finish.

  10. List

    Earlier this week Martin Parr unveiled a brand spanking new website and it’s an upgrade worthy of the work of one of the defining photographers of modern times. Gone is the retro living room around which the old site was designed, and in its place is a sleek, easy-to-navigate affair which gives his brilliance due room to breathe. This is exemplified by the sheer joy of flicking through his recent series on Atlanta, which juxtaposes stereotypical scenes of the American South with the city’s vibrant gay community. There’s also a really comprehensive FAQ section with some genuinely interesting insights, a blog and a rundown of his books and films.

  11. Nice_wednesdays_master_int_post__copy

    Here at It’s Nice That HQ we’ve been looking for an excuse to get together a whole heap of interesting people for regular meet-ups. Given that it’s been cold here in London (any excuse will do), what better way to lift our spirits than by launching our first monthly event, Nice Wednesdays?

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    Rand Renfrow’s illustration is dreamy — squiggles, plants, computers, vases and Pokemon characters make up his wonderful brain-spillings. We wanted to ask him a few questions about his work process out of sheer curiosity. Turns out Rand is almost exactly how you’d image he’d be — happy, enthusiastic and just the right amount of weird.

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    The new Guy Ritchie-directed short film (come on guys, it’s an advert!) for H&M has just been released and it’s a nice little piece of viral fodder. The premise sees David Beckham chasing down his family car after being locked out of his house, and as he runs the rest of his clothes come off in a variety of ways. The gratuitous shots of Becks’ body are knowingly down and there’s some neat touches along the way, plus an ending I didn’t really see coming. All in all not a massively original idea, but beautifully shot (the swimming pool scene filmed from inside the house is gorgeous) and a good example of a big mainstream brand playing the populist card neatly.

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    More often than not, when it comes to theorising design through discussions and seminars, aesthetic considerations go out of the window. It’s common to see art and design experts explore big ideas against dull, uninspiring or oddly clinical backdrops. But not so in Sweden, where artist Kustaa Saksi and architect Gert Wingårdh have created the most extraordinary setting for the Hello events programme at Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Using an incredible 700,000 illustrated sheets of A3 paper and 44,000 suspension points, the duo have produced a jaw-dropping physical space in which discussions will take on a whole new dimension. Mirrored table tops help add to the riot of colours and shapes suspended from the ceiling.

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    Apologies in advance if these images churn up a barrel-load of public schoolboy anger from the pit of your gut. Personally, I happen to love looking at these images and imagining I’m a 12-year-old boy, munching on an apple in prep, casually reading the The Financial Times and looking forward to playing rugby.

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    Remember a while ago we posted a photo of a chicken in a tank? Well, you may not, but at the time there was discussion as to whether it was the best picture that had every appeared on the site. Big call. So now Paul Herbst is back in our lives with some new visuals that both confuse us and fill us with a strange, palpable kind of curiosity. Why are those baseballs attached to that rainbow ribbon? Why does that block of wood look so sexual? All valid questions with regards to his new series Dream Material, which is as intriguing as it is aesthetically pleasing.

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    Central heating is fun isn’t it? Any boiler anecdote is likely to go down a storm at a dinner party, no? Just me? Ok I’m lying but thanks to superb photographer Carl Kleiner and prop builders Attributverket a certain District Heating are making a play for a different kind of identity, and a very successful play at that. These intriguing images reimagine the mundane process of central heating in all sorts of odd ways, suggesting some very creative alternatives to the current modes of warming our homes. Why don’t we use red hot horseshoes to boil our water? Oh yeah, logistics and that. Stupid, dull reality…

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    Bit of an exciting one from the guys over at Ideas Factory who have just finished rebranding Highgate estate agents Benham and Reeves. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t. Put aside your phobic attitude towards those real estate vendors and just enjoy the fact that for once, one of them has an identity that’s actually rather pleasant to look at.

  19. Pantone-list

    It’s no secret that we love a little bit of wordplay and an intelligent visual trick (anyone following our Twitter feed on Friday can confirm we’re also not bad at coming up with them ourselves, #designfilms). But we were blown away by the simplicity and brilliance of Chic & Artistic’s latest series, Panto’N’Roll that’s about as good as a design joke gets. Taking Pantone’s indexed colour chips and merging them with famous song titles Chic and Artistic may have created one of the most shareable design memes we’ve ever seen. Only time will tell…

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    Don’t be distracted by the less-than-high-res screen shots in this post (sorry), this is a video you gotta see. You like GIFs? Of course you do. You like crazy olden-times retro footage? Of course you do. And you can find them both in the latest video for Bonobo, who it’s worth noting, usually has a cracking video to go with his much-appreciated music. Cyriak who, on further investigation, is a professional GIF maker, has spliced together clips of a 1962 film about consumerism to make this whopper of a music video. For more of Cyriak’s animations go to his website and check out Queen Elizabeth II – 60 years in 60 seconds and this animation he made for Flying Lotus.

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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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    There are two ways in which product designers can be game changers. Etiher they can introduce a new, unexpected model that takes the market in a brand new direction or they can apply their technological and innovative nous to an existing type of product and blow the competition away. It’s this second route that best describes James Dyson’s new project unveiled today in London. Building on his previous success with hand-dyers, he has taken on the all-in one tap and hand dryer which up until now has usually comprised a dribble of water followed by a waft of tepid air not dissimilar to a kitten’s burp.

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    AG Rojas has always been a little rebellious with his filmmaking. From making Jack White run about with some dangerous kids to making a short film about aliens and drugs, he knows how to keep his audience clawing at him for more. His latest piece is part of TRIBUTE, a “series of short films about youth” that has been recently debuted on Dazed Digital. In Cody, Rojas focuses on a boy who, we find out, is involved in a rather sinister turn of events

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    Guillaume Kashima is a bit of a restless soul. After graduating from a graphic design degree in 1999 he went roaming across Europe, taking in Paris, Barcelona and Toulouse, working in advertising and graphic design along the way. None of this was to his liking at all and it wasn’t until 2005 that he found his niche working as a freelance illustrator. Since then he’s made one final move to Berlin “the coolest city in the world” where he runs his freelance business.

  25. Opinion-list

    This week editor Rob Alderson looks at Blackberry’s decision to hire Alicia Keys as global creative director and what message that sends to designers everywhere. As usual come join the debate on the thread below…

  26. Ap-list

    It’s deeply satisfying when a piece of sculpture stops you dead in your tracks while you work out exactly how it was made, and nobody knows how to bring about that feeling of intrigue more than Alejandro Almanza Pereda. The Mexican-born, Brooklyn-based artist creates the most intricate constructions fashioned from precariously balanced household objects, found ephemera and neon lightbulbs. The combination of fluorescent light, old wood and the glossy marbling of bowling balls creates a pretty striking visual in its own right, but the real genius of Alejandro’s work is the feeling of suspense; you can never really be sure that the whole thing won’t come crashing down at any minute – and that’s exciting stuff!

  27. Raw-list

    These oversized, misshapen, foamy straightjacket bundles were made by Eindhoven-based duo Raw Color for design collective Dutch Invertuals. In a sweet range of minty pastels they look like they should provide a comfy bed, but wrapped around a head they’re more likely to suffocate.

  28. Scanlabs-list

    3D Scanning masterminds ScanLAB have more or less got the market cornered when it come to their specific field of expertise. Using a range of precision technologies they’re able to capture three-dimensional structures in millimetre-perfect detail, making them indispensable to architects and geologists, but also incredibly interesting to laymen like us.

  29. Cosy-list

    With sun-dappled bookshelves, stacked multi-coloured stools and copper candlesticks in rows, Johannes Romppanen’s beautifully shot project for Monocle magazine, Cosy Residence, is a very nice sight indeed for sore Tuesday morning eyes. Johannes has captured daylight playing across floor boards, hinted at sculptures perched on sides or placed in corners and honed in on some extremely nice chairs. That’s more than enough for us. Nice work Johannes!

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    Not often does furniture actually make you dribble, but the images on Al Que Quiere’s stylish site had half the editorial team open-mouthed and more hypnotised than the Podlings in The Dark Cyrstal. Drawing influences from the Doric pillars of ancient Greece, this Los Angeles furniture and object-making collective have some of the most original and mystically beautiful pieces we’ve seen for a long time. No detail spared, even their info page, which can notoriously be quite lifeless, is genuinely engaging and fascinating. Bravo, Al Que Quiere! Bravo. Beware though, Prices on request.

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    You may have seen 27 year old Kevin Okafor on the news last week, displaying his hyper-real pencil drawings and discussing how people often mistake it for black and white photography. On his fascinating blog, Kevin shows us step-by-step images of how he creates these frankly mind-boggling precision portraits. The level of accuracy and detail is mesmerising, and has sparked debate over whether something so close to photography can actually be described as art. Kevin’s portraits of famous musicians have most certainly caught the eye of the public, but it is his intimate portraits of friends such as Mana that are the standout pieces.

  32. Aw1314-list

    Don’t ever say we don’t keep you updated with the latest menswear trends. The fact that I’m wearing a ragged old woollen jumper as I write should do nothing to dissuade you from the fact that we know a good AW13/14 collection when we see one. This one in particular has got us incredibly excited for its distinctly graphic sensibilities. Études is an intercontinental collaboration between Parisian artists Aurélien Arbet & Jérémie Egry. Operating between Paris and New York the pair work on a variety of creative projects ranging from book design and publishing to men’s contemporary fashion.

  33. List

    Even among the great line-up we secured for our creative conference Here held last September, there was one talk in particular that few present will ever forget. Photographer Giles Duley lost an arm and both legs when he stood on a landline while embedded with US troops documenting the war in Afghanistan. And yet these life-changing injuries were only part of the extraordinary story he told us; a story which saw him turn his back on celebrity and fashion shoots to concentrate instead on using his talents to cover humanitarian tragedies the rest of the world was happy to ignore.

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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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    London publishers Unit Editions have gathered and maintained a relentless momentum with their output over the past few months. Following the huge success of their mammoth volume dedicated to design legend Herb Lubalin, they quickly followed up with a retrospective of British hero Ken Garland and now they’re at it again. Their latest project focusses on the experimental typography of Dutch designer Jurriaan Schrofer, a man renowned for his adventures into perspective and perception within the framework of type design.

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    There was a time when drug references had to be smuggled into lyrics lest the moral sensibilities of the squares were piqued. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds represents the apogee of this knowing subterfuge but how times have changed, bottoming out with Afroman’s Because I Got High. But forget Afroman for a moment (if you can) and check out this awesome collaboration between artist Jon Burgerman and photographer Kirsten Becken, named after The Beatles’ surrealist hymn to the powers of mind-altering hallucinogenics. Colour and composition combine with real aplomb to produce a series that keeps on giving.

  37. Siulist

    Think you’ve seen everything snow globes have to offer? Think again, because Craig Ward has had some fun with the idea to launch a brand new professional awards programme from YCN. Creatives from around the world who’ve graduated within the last eight years are invited to share the best of their work; submitting a portfolio into this year’s categories for either design, illustration or animation.

  38. List

    Some things around the Superbowl are predictable annual occurrences. The same joke about superb owls being made all over Twitter, Brits who have no idea about American football casually dropping phrases like “Hail Mary Pass” into conversation, and of course the eagerly anticipated advertising bonanza. With a 30-second spot apparently costing up to $4 million but an estimated audience of more than 90 million people the pressure is on for all the brands lining up for the evening’s bug creative showdown.

  39. Niceideaeveryday

    With all this hoo-ha over Vine this week, I was reminded of how brilliant A Nice Idea Every Day were at the much spotlighted simple gif-like moving image technique. To my delight I found their new-ish promo showing off their now trademark stereoscopic technique for Bring me the Horizon, and it’s a belter. Forget what you’re watching on Vine – these guys wrote the book on engrossing repetition of still imagery.

  40. List-things-01

    Through the letter box this week we received Southampton’s industrial infrastructure, a comprehensive guide to contemporary typography, evolving brand identities, a young invalid’s visitors and a white porcelain conversation piece. Go on, get stuck into this week’s Things.