Archive

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    All too often big, successful companies get caught up in pouring hundreds of thousands of pounds into adverts which still won’t hit the nail on the head, no matter how many celebrities driving sports cars into simulated fires are featured – which is perhaps why it’s so refreshing to see Haribo’s new simple 30 second slot garner so much attention. The ad sees a corporate company meet to discuss their classic Starmix sweets, with the only twist being that they’re lip-synching along to audio of children debating the best ones. The resulting ad is short, funny and to the point, and includes a tip or two on how best to get the most from your confectionary, including fashioning inflatable rings from jellies. Sweet.

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    Johnny Kelly’s bio on the Nexus site reads like a dream to-do list of any animator. An award-winning filmmaker and high esteemed creative, hardworking Johnny has carved a name for himself in the design and filmmaking world by making charming, beautiful short films that have won him countless prizes and worldwide affection. Has he got a favourite music video? Of course he bloody does! And it’s not surprise that it’s an absolute banger. Here he is telling us about Shynola’s work for Radiohead’s Pyramid Song.

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    The UK has taken a real battering from the sky of late, leaving towns all over the place drowning in seemingly endless floods. The news have become accustomed to using the term “Dunkirk” when alluding to the spirit of the townspeople in the most hard-hit areas, which is accurate to say the least. Photographer Charlie Clift decided to champion the members of the public who have been waist-deep in water (sometimes sewage) for the last few weeks and take their portraits for his new series Faces of the Flood. “I realised I needed to do something to record the floods and help those affected. After a small bout of research I realised that the efforts of volunteer groups and services were amazing. So I travelled to the Somerset Levels to join them.” Charlie told us.

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    Normally when we feature a photographer like Grégoire Grange, we extoll the virtues of taking the mundane aspects of everyday life and making them seem somehow more exciting, less grey or even transforming them into something otherworldly and surreal. Not so with this Bordeaux-based photographer who seems more than happy to simply let the mundane speak for itself. Whether he’s walking the streets of his hometown picking out parked cars and empty cafés, or taking his first trip to America to focus on the minutiae of a dropped McDonald’s cup, one never feels that Gregoire is trying to put his subjects on a pedestal. His images are just beautifully-composed snapshots of world’s we’re all familiar with, yet somehow they stand out in spite of that.

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    We’ve all been there, sitting on a plane awaiting take-off and the in-flight safety video comes on. For most of us the reaction is apathy and boredom, perhaps even tinged with annoyance – one of air travel’s grating rituals. So when Art&Graft won the commission to re-do Virgin Atlantic’s pre-flight offering, they embraced the truism that passengers tend to endure rather than enjoy these films.

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    If you read this website regularly there’s a good chance that at worst, you have a passing interest in books, and at best you’re a die-hard bibliophile. Though we try and keep on top of some great books on It’s Nice That, there’s still a tonne of beautiful volumes that slip through the net. Which is why resources like Bernd Kuchenbeiser’s A Good Book are so brilliant, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the documentation of beautifully written, exceptionally designed works of literature, history, architecture and design. The user-generated archive allows readers to submit their own favourite books to the already huge list, meaning we can all enjoy the rare collections and one-off collectors editions that would otherwise disappear from general circulation.

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    Eight months ago we crowned second year Falmouth illustrator David Doran our Student of the Month because his work was just plain awesome. The discipline and skill on display in his illustration was second to none and it’s only improved since. Also improved is David’s client list, which now includes The New York Times, Wrap, Hunger and Plansponsor which, given he’s still not graduated, is nothing short of extraordinary. So hats off to you David for being such an impressive illustrator – we’re sure your classmates must be deeply intimidated.

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    Lesser people might be insulted by the suggestion from a friend that their pottery “looks like fruit and vegetables”, but interior stylist and ceramicist Hsian Jung took the comment in his stride, transforming his burgeoning pottery project into The Fruit Shop, a greengrocer-inspired online store selling beautiful handmade pots.

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    Here at It’s Nice That we’re all about the whole out with the old, in with the new thing. You made that illustration two years ago? Get it out of my face. That painting’s from the 16th century? Never speak to me again. This is why we’ve decided to change up The Weekender to make it less of a weird bin of online sundries and more of a chance for the editorial team to get involved. First the online editor Liv Siddall will be telling you about some features you should have read this week, then we’ll hear what’s tickled the rest of the team over the last seven days. Considering they spend about 99.9% of their lives on the internet, it’s probably going to be good. Enjoy!

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    Woo! Another mixtape from someone recommended by NTS Radio. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: NTS are much cooler than us, so this kind of help with Friday mixtapes is incredibly helpful. This week they’ve asked artist and NTS contributor Joane Skyler (real name Jason Kerley) to contribute a mix for us, and what a mix! His/her first release was described on Boomkat as “a 30-minute odyssey that glides into the hardcore continuum and re-shapes various forms and formulations of electronic music along the way.” The music he/she has chosen for us today is a heady, abstract mix of sounds that come together to resemble a shoe-gazer disco at Willy Wonka’s factory. You’ll find the mind boggling track list below.

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    You know that weird limbo that occurs halfway between sleep and wakefulness where you can see hundreds of tiny images flickering over the insides of your eyelids in very quick succession but you don’t know quite how to describe it? Imagine that sensation enhanced 100-fold by a strong dose of sleep hormone melatonin, and then imagine trying to recreate the vision with animation. Tricky, no? This is exactly what Emanuele Kabu does with It’s Called “Moon”.

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    Rounding up the penultimate week of our month-long investigation into what constitutes the Ideal Client with Represent Recruitment, we’ve got five more gems of insight for you from industry professionals including Wieden + Kennedy and Marian Bantjes. Get stuck in! You’ll be a better collaborator for it.

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    Greetings, Podlings! Welcome to this week’s Studio Audience, the podcast that keeps up to date with the cultural news in an informal, and sometimes slightly baffling way. This week host Liv Siddall chats to James Cartwright, Maisie Skidmore and Will Hudson about the topics of today, including tidbits about Anne Boleyn’s breasts and the Brit Awards.

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    It feels like forever I’ve been on the hunt for a really great illustrator making work almost exclusively about the dark ages. Most commercial image-makers are so caught up in the here and now that they forget the wealth of inspiration available from mankind’s most barbaric era; the bear-baiting, the bloodthirsty duels, perpetual burning of witches and the frankly disgraceful personal hygiene.

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    Cats have something of a monopoly (a meow-opoly? No…) when it comes to the online realm and last year they muscled their way into print as well with the publication of the inaugural Cat People magazine. Everyone knows that dogs tend to follow cats so it’s no great surprise that not to be outdone by their feline counterparts, our canine chums now boast their own magazine as well.

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    I see you all, standing on the train platform with your fat little thumbs scrolling into oblivion as you wade through all your “friends” showing off their artisan lifestyles on their mobile phones. Hey, who am I kidding? I flipping love Instagram, and my artisan lifestyle. Retro video parody-making team SquirrelMonkeyCom have meshed the social media de rigueur with the 1980s. Sure back then they had speedboats, rolled-up sleeves and enough cocaine to dry up the Pacific but did they have the World Wide Web? They did not. What this video does is spell out just how lucky we are to have an easy way to show off our boring photos to our friends with just one click, because back then it would have taken about four days. Check out the rest of the series over on their YouTube channel.

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    Illustrator Damien Cuypers is by no means a one-trick pony, but he has carved out something of a niche for himself in real-time documentation of some of the world’s biggest fashion events. For this week’s London Fashion Week, Damien was commissioned by our fiends over at WeTransfer to come and work his magic over on these shores, and the results are – as we’ve come to expect – nothing short of sublime.

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    Neo Neo is a visual communications and graphic design studio directed by Thuy-An Hoang and Xavier Erni, based in Geneva. Their work ranges from art direction and book design to websites, signage and custom typefaces, with projects for galleries and museums in Geneva, New York and France under their belts. Not knowing much about the Swiss design scene, we caught up with Xavier and Thuy-An to find out more about what they do!

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    These days most letters sent to me come directly from a company demanding my hard-earned pennies so I tend not to even glance at the envelopes before thrusting them (considerately) into the recycling bin. It’s not behaviour I’m proud of, and it’s certainly not behaviour Stephen Sollins would be proud of; his new projects takes paper envelopes otherwise doomed to live out their days at the bottom of a pile and makes them into gorgeous traditional quilts.

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    I’m not really into the whole “love at first sight” business but when I saw that pineapple next to that dog poo, I knew this was a design studio I could seriously get into. Ilg/Trüb are two really, really good-looking Swiss designers, Marlon Ilg and Simon Trüb, whose work ushers in strange illustration, acid-neon colours and typographic knowledge. The alarm bells that are usually set off in my brain by the words “Swiss” and “design” are completely neutralised by our shared delight in the texture, pastels and humour of certain illustrators. Interestingly, even their more typographic work such as the Langnau Jazz Nights posters still seem to have a shot of weirdness coursing through them. Fantastisch!

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    We’ve been huge fans of Stefan Glerum’s work since we came across him way back in 2010. His distinctive ligne-claire style is fused with a colour palette that borrows from Toulouse Lautrec and vintage sci-fi posters with extraordinary results. He’s also got a penchant for the weird that we can’t get enough of. That said, we weren’t expecting him ever to venture into animation, or to be as delighted with the results when he did. But his debut piece of film for Dutch electro band RipTide is as stunning a piece of animation as we’ve laid eyes on in ages, drawing on the very best of his illustrative style and elevating it with cinematic storytelling and slick production from crooked line.

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    The next in our talks from January’s music-themed Nicer Tuesdays with Park Communications comes from Luke Taylor of directorial duo Us. Shorn of his partner Chris Barrett (with whom he usually appears at these kinds of events) Luke nonetheless provided us with brilliant step-by-step insights into the making-of two of Us’ most impressive offerings. From working with Wiley to chopping up vinyl, Luke’s talk was the perfect combination of humour and honesty, touching on both the great and the more challenging aspects of working in this area.

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    Kate Moross is one of a kind in the creative industry, as we discovered when she spoke about her working process at Here 2013; her DIY approach to her craft, which advises “if you don’t know how to do something, YouTube it” leaves her both limitless scope to execute her ideas and a diverse series of job titles to match, counting graphic designer, fashion designer, illustrator and art director among them. Evidently not one to sit back and count her chickens though, Kate has now added author to her list, publishing her first book Make Your Own Luck, a kind of memoir-come-guide book aimed at similarly-minded creatives looking for advice on how to survive art school, how to deal with copycats and how to go about directing music videos when you have bucket-loads of ideas but not a lot of know-how.

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    If you haven’t seen Spike Jonze’s latest offering Her yet then I’m here principally to ask what in God’s name you’re doing with your time, as everybody seems to be talking about the film’s quietly unsettling subject matter. It does fall uncomfortably close to home; set in Los Angeles in 2025, the film is about a professional love letter writer, Theodore Twombly, who falls in love with his artificially intelligent operating system. The topic of society’s dependence on technology is intense and intimidating, but the overwhelmingly soft, almost retro aesthetic of the film is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

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    Pavel Tereshkovet’s photography projects more often than not involve him travelling to an unknown place and documenting it via his trusty camera. His portfolio is, as you would expect, full of snaps of statues, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and of the companions he’s met along his way. Tucked in a corner of this body of work, however, is this self-explanatory series entitled 234 Hours in Liverpool. The collection of black and white images offers us a rare chance to see a British town seen through the eyes of a foreigner passing through, and shows us a fair bit more than we had bargained for about the way we live, and the strange country that we inhabit.

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    Way back in April 2011 we found Katie Scott’s work in a pile of emails and our minds were blown. The third-year Brighton illustration student was crafting some of the most intricate and beautiful imagery we’d seen in a long time, inspired by Japanese medical illustration, alchemical drawings and the elaborate biological paintings of Ernst Haeckel.

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    We first came across young filmmaker James Aiken almost a year ago when his Icelandic surfing film captured our imagination. His unerring eye for cinematic scenery and ability to create and manipulate atmosphere in even a few short minutes was genuinely exciting, and we’ve been lucky enough to work with James on a couple of occasions in the past 12 months.

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    This week Rob Alderson looks at a design awards scheme with a difference and wonders if there’s too much of a divide between certain sections of the creative industries. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

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    London-based studio MuirMcNeil have recently released four new digital typefaces and, to celebrate, four beautifully screen-printed specimen posters. The studio was set up in 2010 by Hamish Muir and Paul McNeil as a vehicle to explore parametric design systems – an algorithmic mode of design – within typography. The four faces draw on a variety of inspirations, many with historical foundations.

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    All too often society’s view of an entire nation is shaped by subjective and marginalised photographs circulated by the media, as is very much the case for Jerusalem, of which images of conflict and religious context seem to displace everything else. Travelling around Israel, Palestine, the West Bank and Jordan, one group of interdisciplinary artists each captured different fragments of their life in the region on camera, focusing on daily rituals, the natural landscape and the people surrounding them rather than the scenes of battle favoured by newspapers. The result is a beautiful group of refreshing images taken not for the use of the media but for pleasure, showing the oddities and little sights otherwise neglected.

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    The stars have aligned and two design worlds have brought their skills together to create something powerful! Big ol’ fashion house MANGO have had a helping hand in designing the new SEAT Mii and, rather than just releasing it to to the baying public, have asked a bunch of famous fashion bloggers to review it. Cool huh? Also, to mark this collaboration, SEAT and MANGO are inviting “global artists, illustrators, fashion designers and creators to use the template provided to submit accessory designs” as part of their fashion and design challenge.

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    In the second of our videos filmed at January’s music-themed Nicer Tuesdays supported by Park Communications, Micachu shares some inspirations about how and why she went about creating ten videos for her album Never. She spoke about how the series was inspired by the weird and wonderful goings-on in the house she was living in at the time and explained why lo-fi improvisation was very much the order of the day.

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    Have all the high-budget music videos you want, I’ll argue to the grave that the lo-fi ones are always better. This one is a prime example of perfect song-to-video ratio, with the incredible Chastity Belt wailing out a terrific track companied by a video that totally represents what they’re about. Of course it may be something to do with the band having a helping hand in the making-of, but if that’s the case then even better! Bands and directors should work together in perfect harmony, that’s where the real corkers come from. I love the bit where they’re all kind of floating in the night sky, it reminds me of that much-loved E-17 video. I thoroughly advise you to stop what you’re doing and go and buy the new Chastity Belt record while you still can.

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    I’ve never done this before, but I’m going to recommend you a song to listen to while you read this post, here you go. Now the dulcet sounds of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings can soothe you as you look at these photos of REAL cowboys taken in America by Peter Byrne.

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    Illustration student Chritian Königsmann may still be in education, but his portfolio is already something to behold. Since the middle of last year he’s been experimenting heavily with his aesthetic direction, channelling the likes of Golden Cosmos and Ugo Gattoni to see what fits. Now he’s arrived upon a style that seems entirely his own, combining traditional print techniques and tonal shading to create truly charming illustrations. His work in progress shots of a comic dedicated to club scenes are a particular delight.

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    London Fashion Week: the Autumn/Winter 2014 edition came to a screeching halt yesterday afternoon after a four day roller-coaster ride through all the creative and sartorially-inclined talent that the UK has to offer. In between the flouncing and pouting some very impressive threads came marching down catwalks citywide, and as is our custom we thought it only reasonable to take some of our absolute favourites and pop them all on the site. Without further ado then, here’s our round-up!

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    Good books deserve to be well-photographed, and there’s no one better to do this job than small publication fanatic Claire Cottrell. As well as being a photographer, film director, creative director, and editor, Claire is also the Los Angeles editor of Berlin-based Freunde von Freunden and founder of LA’s best art book shop, Book Stand. The shop specialises in “unique art books, independently published magazines, films and vintage publications,” things that Claire absolutely lives for.

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    Since September 2012 Matthias Friderich and Julian von Klier (also known as Strobo) have been responsible for the branding and identity of Kunsthalle Bielefeld, a prestigious contemporary art gallery in north west Germany, where they’ve developed an existing identity by Thomas Mayfried and Swantje Grundler. The duo graduated in 2011 from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and The University of the Arts, Berlin respectively where they’ve honed impressive skills, particularly in typography.

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    Traditionally, Travelling communities are a self-contained entity utterly unknown to outsiders, as we view them through the highly subjective frame of gossip and TV documentaries like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Not content with the marginalised views perpetuated by the media, photographer Sophie Brocks set about photographing a number of women from Travelling communities within their own homes, allowing them a sense of authorship in the resulting images. She explains that the title of the brilliant series, Good Enough For You “echoes a phrase frequently asked of me by the women when working on the shoots.” The insight into their homes is as instrumental in shaping the identities of the women in Sophie’s photographs as their actual appearances; immaculate, uncluttered and charming, and high communicative in spite of the guarded expressions of the women as they sit for the photographs.

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    It was only recently we were singing the praises of Tate’s video content in the form of Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan’s tour of the Paul Klee exhibition. Clearly though this was no fluke, Tate appear to be an institution which has taken to the world of online film like a Monet to water(lillies). Their Unlock Art series (with Le Méridien hotels) is a case in point; short introductions to the ideas and movements which have shaped the art world. The themes range from the nude in art to performance, Pop Art to purchasing and they are each fronted by a famous face (like comedian Sally Phillips or Peter Capaldi, aka Dr Who).