1. Inca-list

    Taiwanese illustrator Inca Pan creates magnificent imaginary landscapes in sensitively coloured layers of gouache and ink. His influence seems to come almost entirely from the natural world, with lush vegetation featuring heavily throughout his portfolio and the odd flourish of eastern mythology thrown in for good measure. In spite of this fairly whimsical and delicate approach to illustration, Inca regularly produces editorial work for hard-hitting Taiwanese newspapers. This unusual pairing of current affairs and timeless imagery leads to some incredibly interesting results, the likes of which you’d be pleasantly surprised to see within the western press.

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    What’s your favourite French inspired tea and confectionary shop in Mexico? What none? Ok, well you should sort that out we reckon – as for us we’d plump for Bonnard simply because of their really eye-catching identity created by Anagrama. The splashes of colour are based on the work of postimpressionist Pierre Bonard and the simple, clean art direction and unfussy typography is all designed to create an air of Gallic cool. There’s also a nice touch in that the rounded cross detail in the typeface is based on the shape of macaroons, one of Bonnard’s specialities. Now look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t love to sashay into the office with one of these tea cups?

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    Here at It’s Nice That we love Emily Maye, and not just because the majority of us are cyclists. Her unbridled passion for cycling as a sport, a hobby, a pastime or a reason to live is present in nearly every single one of her stunning photography projects, as is the palpable excitement from other cycling enthusiasts who she never fails to recognise in these series.

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    Remember those pencil drawings circulating the internet ages ago that featured animals locked in passionate embraces? Well this is the guy that drew them! Saimon Chow is back and producing some rather different work in the way of these tribal, inked images. Simple yet bold enough to catch attention, these are reminiscent of the sort of work you may expect to find on the wall of a cave if a descendant of Matisse lived there. The best part is that they’re for sale, so you are fully at your leisure to put them up in your own cave if you so wish.

  5. Base-list

    It’s common knowledge that when it comes to great design, the public sector’s output is woefully lacking. Here in London it’s easy to forget that public communication isn’t simply limited to the excellent way finding and signage on the Underground, but extends to a whole host of printed and online communication that’s frequently incomprehensible.

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    Although I’ve been known to own a dance floor in my younger days (you’re right Shakira the hips DON’T lie) ballet is still an art form I’m fully to appreciate. But that might all be about to change thanks to Rick Guest’s beguiling new series of photographs of dancers from The Royal Ballet going on show in London later this month.

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    The inexorable rise and rise of Kickstarter was one of the defining creative stories of last year and if any of you still needed convincing as to the crowdfunding behemoth’s significance, this look back on 2012 should drive the point home. The numbers are staggering in themselves – 2.2 million people from 177 different countries pledging $319 million to help realise 18,100 projects – and Kickstarter is rightly proud of their increasing reach. But perhaps more interesting is the amazing away of projects which have come to fruition in this way – from films and computer games to a municipal font, a banana piano and a pizza museum. And then there’s the cultural milestones, such as the fact that 10 per cent of the films at Sundance started life as Kickstarter gleams in their creators’ eyes.

  8. Philippejarrigeon-list

    When we first featured Philippe Jarrigeon’s portfolio of photography we completely fell in love with his high-fashion aesthetic, curiously applied to food photography. We’d never seen anything quite like it and his zesty compositions of vibrant oranges fast earned him a comfortable place in our 2012 Annual.

  9. List-okolo

    Liguria: coastal region of north-western Italy, home of pesto and Christopher Colombus, and now inspiration for the beautiful fourth issue of OKOLO’s annual magazine. We last praised Czech publishers OKOLO for their imaginative tribute to Italian designer, architect and ski enthusiast, Carlo Mollino. Now they’ve teamed up with collector and curator Fulvio Ferrari of Casa Mollino to produce this exploration of the “hidden architecture, design and culture gems of Italian Liguria coastline.”

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    Creative studios are really only as good as their ideas, and with that in mind Amsterdam’s Natwerk are absolutely brilliant. They’ve worked with a range of big name clients (like Diesel, Grolsch and Puma) to make interesting, fun and memorable brand experiences and eye-catching ad campaigns but it’s in their self-initiated work that we see their weird and wonderful collective mind run wild.

  11. Herero-list

    Shot in the bright, white light of the world’s largest desert, Jim Naughten’s portraits of the Herero tribe of Namibia look almost unreal. Dressed in ceremonial garb creatively re-appropriated from their colonial past, the men, women and children stand statuesque with distant stares. They could have been set up in an early 20th century photographer’s studio, with a propped-up backdrop and a Victorian fancy dress box to hand.

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    When is a painting not a painting? When it’s the work of Jonathan Gabb, a South London based artist who creates extraordinary 3D pieces by mixing PVA glue and acrylic paint to produce his wonderfully colourful work. At first glance it appears to be pretty playful, which it is, but there’s also a real bedrock of theory behind his pieces and his references range from rococo architecture to Art Nouveau to Damien Hirst and Wayne Thiebaud.

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    Yeah it’s one of 5,000,000 other burger blogs on the fountain of knowledge that is the World Wide Web but this one is particularly hilarious. If you start at the bottom of his blog when these naturally anonymous French guys began making it, and slowly work your way up, you’ll see the transformation from casual burger restaurant Instagrammers to full on artists.

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    In the thick of 1980s political dissent, Creative Salvage welded art, furniture, hip-hop and junk metal to change the course of design. Spearheaded by the likes of Tom Dixon and Ron Arad and inspired by a broad mash-up of influences, the anarchic design of Creative Salvage has now become (almost) establishment.

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    There’s a lot of ancient art cropping up in contemporary culture these days – it’s hard to endlessly scroll through visual feasts of blogs without coming across a Titian next to a pair of rare Nike Air Max’s. Ernesto Artillo is making blog-worthy collages combining high-end, seriously trendy photography of supermodels and ancient pieces of art in a terrific dusty fig/Italian sunset palette. The way he combines epic-worthy muscles with kind of terrifying plants is pretty astounding. Doing a bit of fashion editorial? Need some visuals? Ernesto’s your man.

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    Today is an historic day, for today birthday boy David Bowie released his first record in 10 years. The track Where Are We Now? is a haunting elegy to his Berlin days, a melancholy ballad that builds up to something quietly, beautifully epic.

  17. Ford-list

    Raised on a strict diet of Hergé and mid-century Americana comics, Jason Ford is a man of excellent illustrative tastes, producing characters and scenes imbued with the rich emotive expressions of the likes of John Kricfalusi and Hanna Barbera. Packed into each of his pieces are the honed skills of a master-draughtsman, skilled painter and sensitive colourist, not to mention a talented storyteller.

  18. Opinion-list

    Editor Rob Alderson looks at the whys and wherefores of so-called ruin porn and considers the contexts in which it has creative or cultural merit. As ever we’d love to know what you think and you can add your voice to the discussion below…

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    Sergio’s been on It’s Nice That a few times recently, but what are we meant to do when he just keeps on producing such brilliant illustration? His style, a beautiful car crash of retro and contemporary aesthetics, is becoming rightly recognised by all the right people, particularly those in the music business. Check out his concert posters for very cool, notoriously fun bands such as Dent May and The U.S Girls – Sergio is totally flying the flag nay resurrecting the love of the classic gig poster, which, at one stage, looked like it was about to die. Spend a little time on Sergio’s website, he’s done a heck of a lot of great work, and he’s got a massive pencil.

  20. Battin-list2

    Philip Battin is a design talent to be reckoned with. The young Dane has forged an impressive career in graphic design, art direction, strategy, web and product design that began aged 18 when he set up his own business selling web solutions. Since then he’s won numerous awards, kept his own business going strong and even held the prestigious role of art director at luxury street wear brand Norse Projects.

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    In 2012 a strange thing came over the people of these fair isles – for a time people were proud to be British and united in a warm, fuzzy patriotic glow. In the main of course this was thanks to the efforts of Team GB, our athletes who performed so heroically in the Olympics and Paralympics but it also gave us an opportunity to look around and appreciate what we have (rather than moaning about the weather, which was admittedly disappointing).

  22. Expedia-list

    Goodbye festive season, hello relentless January and the steady rhythm of the daily grind. I don’t know about you but right now I could use a little luxury weekend break, a round of spa treatments or maybe even just a week on the beach.

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    We like posting about Obama because quite frankly he’s the more-ish photogenic equivalent of a packet of Jaffa Cakes. The White House are wise to this, and have been updating an official White House Flickr account with photos of everyone’s favourite president and his smiley family. If you had just been plopped onto Earth unaware of who this man was and you were presented with this Flickr stream, you would be fully forgiven for thinking he was some sort of movie star or a very good looking messiah. The photo of him snogging Michelle at the basketball is so good – your permission to waste time on this Flickr account all day is officially granted.

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    We were already big fans of Dutch illustrator Merjin Hos and his vibrant, colourful work but his newest offerings have cranked that admiration up to 11. The pithily titled Wood Sculptures comrpises 109 wooden sculptures ranging from five to 14 inches high, each of which is bursting with character in a deliberately simple, playful way.

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    We’re no strangers to photographic projects that remind us of the weird nature of Britain like a cold smack in the face with a 99p flake, (see Taylor Wessing winner Jooney Woodward’s work) but sometimes one project comes along that captures a joyous corner of this little island with complete perfection.

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    It’s Monday morning, sometimes things can get pretty blue. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you this is anything other than one of the most heart-achingly sad videos ever created, but I am going to reassure you that it is also overwhelmingly uplifting. Well-known illustrator Christoph Niemann “stumbled” across an audio interview with legendary Where the Wild Things Are creator Maurice Sendak and was so moved by what he heard that he decided to turn it into an animation. Prepare yourself to hear an old, wise man tell soul-crunching stories of how he cries for his lost loved-ones, and the natural progression of appreciating true beauty in old age. This animation puts almost every internet video to shame.

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    Christmas comes but twice a year when the Things stocking has been left to fatten for a few weeks. What an inspiring haul this is! We’ve got school scribbles, golden MJ, failure with aplomb, type anatomy and an innovative letterpress-loving portfolio. It’ll be a thriller…

  28. Jvdvd-list

    Since I last wrote about him in August of last year, Jan van der Veken has been working tirelessly to raise his profile from well-respected but mildly obscure illustrator genius to worldwide household name. His online presence has maintained a pleasing consistency, with updates coming thick and fast – much to the delight of those of us still waiting to see his work in some UK publications – and there are rumours of a monograph of his work appearing some time over the course of this year.

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    Lots of art galleries and museums spend vast amounts of time (and sometimes money) considering how they can attract more young visitors and they come up with all manner of clever solutions. But it’s surprising how rarely these institutions tackle the issue in the most straightforward way imaginable – by putting on a show aimed squarely at this demographic. Credit then to Frankfurt’ s Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) which is currently hosting Pssst, featuring 17 artists (nine local and eight form the UK) who have produced work for children aged between five and 12, based around the theme “secrets.”

  30. Toro

    We know Chaz Bundick (aka Toro Y Moi) has a keen eye for beautiful things, as we found out he trained as a graphic designer in our feature with him in Issue #6 of our magazine. So, whenever a new video lands on our doormats with his name on it, we’re always excited. Say That is no exception, and sees Chaz occupy various different locales in a rather fetching orange jumper. No, you’re right it doesn’t sound too riveting, but combine the stunning art direction (well done Cooper Rodgers) with his dulcet tones and brilliant directing from The Harry’s and you have yourself a fine piece of film to kick off 2013.

  31. Snowdonblue-list

    Famed for his exceptional fashion and portraiture shoots, legendary British photographer Snowdon has been at the forefront of the European artistic (not to mention aristocratic) elite since the 1950s. His reputation as a prodigious photographic talent was compounded by his unusual quirk of requesting that many of his subjects pose in clothing of his own choosing; namely blue shirts in a variety of different styles.

  32. Thmain

    Tom Hines is responsible for one of the most jaw-dropping pages in the It’s Nice That Annual, a double page spread of two girls holding an enormous loaf of bread. His portfolio has a certain feel to it that you just can’t put your finger on, something in between witchcraft, suburbia, a kind of dark magic in a world of permanent twilight. Read on to hear truly insightful reviews of the fantastic books that have inspired Tom’s work, and about his switch from book collecting to digital reading.

  33. Weekender-list

    Here are The Weekender’s New Year resolutions in no particular order. 1. Exercise more. 2. Cut down on cheese consumption (goat/sheep, not cow). 3. Keep old love letters, throw away old bank statements. 4. Quote Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen wherever practical. 5. Spend less time obsessing over the finite nature of human existence and the overwhelming futility of life. 6. Floss. 7. Master the Charleston. 8. Marry someone (as in perform the ceremony). 8. Entertain, inform and get away with it. Challo!

  34. List-washington-state-fish-steelhead-trout

    Quite how Americans manage to differentiate between 50 states is beyond me. No doubt it’s helpful to have culturally reductive official insignia to aid memory – lucky then that so many American states’ insignia consist of such wonderful and varied mammals, birds, foods, fossils and insects. For starters there’s the Tarantula Hawk Wasp (New Mexico), the Western Meadowlark (Kansas), the Nine Banded Armadillo (Texas), the Emerald (North Carolina), the Western Wheatgrass (North Dakota) and, of course, the potato (Idaho).

  35. List

    If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see enfant terrible of the illustration world Mr Bingo give a talk, you’ll know that he’s a charismatic chap who speaks about his craft with sly wit and brutal honesty. But if you’ve never had the pleasure then don’t despair, because have produced this excellent short little piece about the man and his recent triumphant work, Hate Mail. In just a couple of minutes we learn not only why he was moved to start sending insulting missives to strangers, but also how he got his name and we get to see him use a postbox. Come on, it’s Friday. pop your headphones in and submit to the Bingo…

  36. List-chris-hayward

    From a young age I’ve avoided any bright, loud spectacle involving comedy and audience participation. I fear the all-encompassing bellow, the communal haw-haw that chills me to my cold core as all around me laugh their heads off. Pantomimes, then, aren’t exactly my thing. Backstage photographs of pantomime dames, however, definitely are.

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    The umlaut is used in a variety of different languages to indicate a specific way of prenunciation. It is also commonly used in the names of heavy metal bands to suggest high levels of heavy and metal. In the case of Petra’s name, we can safely say that the umlaut is used purely for grammatical and phoenetic affect, due to the very non-heavy metal nature of her beautiful collage work.

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    In recent months we’ve seen lookbooks which pull out every trick in the attention-seeking arsenal in a bid to get noticed, often at the expense of the actual clothes themselves. It’s a refreshing change then to come across this collection from Berlin-based label mint & berry which is presented in a beautifully-designed little tome which hasn’t forgotten what it’s there to do. So really clean, crisp photography complements the garments (which combine contemporary Scandinavian style with vintage touches) and the whole thing feels effortlessly, coherently stylish. Top work all round.

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    Wies Preijide made her rather explosive debut in The Hague’s 2011 degree show, when she separated areas of the exhibition using dividing walls of meticulously woven thread. Hung against walls or used as a divider in a space, the lines of thread become almost beams of light in the room, casting colourful shadows and playing tricks on the eyes of viewers. “The textile walls make the existing space divisible, but also create optical transparency and spaciousness by the experience in perspective.” Wies says, “Through a combination of lines, color, views and passageways the spectator the idea of a transparent walking home.”

  40. Anafrances-list

    Valencian (it’s probably a word) graphic designer Ana Francés has an excellent portfolio full of commercial design work produced for an enormously varied body of clients. Equally happy making posters and print collateral for musical and cultural events as she is crafting logos for luxury cookie brands, it’s Ana’s stylistic diversity that makes her stand out. We particularly like these events posters for their combination of classic Renaissance imagery paired with contemporary block colour palettes and crisp type.