Archive

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    New York-based director Rajeev Basu has made plenty of curious projects that have kept us occupied for hours at a time, from this video game where your character punches itself in the face to stay awake to this collaborative project in which he invited a bunch of our favourite creatives to imagine what drones might look like once they become legal, so it makes perfect sense that his favourite music video be equally fascinating. And it is – if a little gory (it’s not for the fainthearted). Here he is explaining why he loves it so.

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    Stripped of snow, Ettore Moni’s alpine landscapes are scarred by access roads, crisscrossing electricity wires and ski lift cables. The raw beauty of his scenes is interrupted by ugly concrete buildings, plastic fencing and piles of pipes. If Maria and the von Trapps came skipping over these mountains, the sound of music would hit a rather discordant note.

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    Ever since it was announced earlier this year that FOX was working on a Simpsons and Family Guy crossover hour-long special, fans of one or both shows have been interested to see how it would work. And yesterday they got their first glimpse when a five-minute excerpt was screened at Comic_Con which gives us a taste how these two cartoon competitors will be joined in creative matrimony. So it seems we can expect beer, bonding, brawls and bitchiness when the Griffins wind up in Springfield; consider our appetites well and truly whetted.

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    Never a brand to risk complacency, Kenzo are pushing the boat out yet again this season to scale the parameters of the online store. They’ve created an elaborate narrative to accompany the online shopping destination of their Autumn 2014 collection, cooking up a fictional exhibition of which all but one of the featured artworks is stolen by the show’s star the night before it opens. In this story the exhibition opens anyhow, and the works are replaced with film footage of the thieves – Sudanese-American model Grace Bol and her accomplice – at work, with a sack full of their booty and all.

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    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.

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    In the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at why Shillington College was founded to offer a different kind of graphic design education and heard from some of the teachers at Shillington campuses around the world about how they make this happen in practice.

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    It’s not only the level of detail in Laurie Lipton’s drawings which is crazy; the illustrations are too. With charcoal and pencil she creates bonkers worlds in black and white which look like pictures for a short story written by the love child of Charles Dickens and George Orwell. The blacking factory meets Big Brother.

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    Ping Zhu is a force to be reckoned with in the world of illustration. Not only is she talented, mastering an inimitable style in every way imaginable, and then using it as very efficient bait to reel in the big clients, The Sunday Times, Pentagram and Nobrow included, but she’s also future proof – developing her style with every project she undertakes to make her as exciting as she is reliable, and delivering consistently good work to a broad spectrum of briefs.

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    When we last encountered Essex-based painter Simon Monk he was busy preserving toy superheroes in plastic bags and rendering them with hyper-real precision. Secret Identity explored the strange imbalance of the powers ascribed to superheroes and the powerless inertia of their model representations. Since then he’s focussed his attention on one plastic superhero in particular, treating Batman with torturous sadism and restricting him with any binding he finds to hand. He’s been netted, taped, cling-filmed and roped down, trapped forever in a compromised position thanks to Simon’s dangerously accurate brushwork.

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    This time last year Sam Bradley had just moved up to London to concentrate on his fashion photography – which we have to say, he was pretty damn good at. This year he’s still busy working away on fashion editorials, including a lovely shoot for the latest Wonderland, but he’s been getting outside a lot more, shooting mountaineers, skateboarders and racing drivers in a style so crisp you feel almost able to reach out and touch the scenes he’s captured. I’ll admit a certain bias towards photographers working in nature – I go mad for a mountain view – but Sam’s managed to make even tedious, high-budget motorsports look exciting and unusual, for which he deserves an enormous amount of praise.

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    It’s been a couple of years since we last featured Melbourne-based studio A Friend of Mine so the launch of their brand new website was the perfect chance to celebrate their talents again. Suzy Tuxen and her team were commissioned by new art and design fair Supergraph to create a “strong, industrial and friendly” identity and needed a graphic solution that stood on its own two feet without overshadowing the creative work featured at the event.

  12. Weekender-list

    Not that you need to be quiet for this showstopper; if the Weekender was a film, it’d most likely be the grotesque, just-about-legal but nonetheless strange story of a desert island. It’s lorded over by a tyrannical prince clad from head to toe in purple velvet who was incapable of walking three steps without doing the Macarena. He wouldn’t be the only weirdo on the island though, no sir; he’d be accompanied at all times by an a cappella choir of singing and dancing monkeys who happily joined him in his choreography.

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    What a TREAT we have here! Ninja Tune artist and DJ Slugabed is here to make your Friday 88.8% better with a fun mix to get you through the last few hours of the week. Slugabed is the man behind south London-based label Activia Benz and has been DJing around the world for many a year.

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    There’s some schadenfreude at play in Masami Tsukishima’s illustrations. His series Life Of A Salesman follows lonely suited blokes trudging to and from work, talking on their phones and lugging their suitcases. I like how he plays with the angles of his illustrations; life is literally an uphill struggle for some of these poor office drones, as they plod along lanes slanting up and away from them. There’s also some sort of alternate universe in the series, where trains go up in flames and spread-eagled salesmen fall through the sky and run away from looming giant iPhones. One second the salesmen are sedately reading their emails, the next everything has spiralled out of control. The sentiment is a tongue-in-cheek 21st century Japanese rendering of “Slough”. I’m guessing Masami Tsukishima doesn’t wear a suit to work.

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    We adore this article from NYT’s T Magazine today, in which a heap of creatives sing hallelujah for old school artistic tools, with brilliant illustrations to boot.

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    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

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    When Rapha launched their brand ten years ago they did it with an exhibition on cycling history and a book that documented some of the greatest stars and stories of competitive road racing. The book showed candid shots of legendary riders like Fausto Coppi hanging out in his pyjamas and Bernard Hinault in a grump on the train, exposing these famous gents out of the saddle, carrying on like normal human beings. To celbrate their tenth anniversary Rapha have re-printed and re-released the book (no long out of print) upping the print and finish quality in the process. The results, we think you’ll agree, look pretty spectacular!

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    This week Things has gone 3D. Well, sort of. In our treasure trove of postal gold we found those little red and green glasses which can only mean fun is on the way, making a FANTASTIC student’s portfolio a treat for the eyes. One new magazine puts the class back into cat and a photographer takes us on a trip back in time to a pebbly shore where seagulls swoop in the sky.

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    Back in 2012, New York-based “computer programmer, composer and artist” (the order is his) Cory Arcangel started a Twitter feed called Working On My Novel. It Retweets people who use that phrase, and now Cory has published a book which brings together a selection of some of those Tweets (all with the permission of the authors it should be noted).

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    I came across Graham Little when going through content from the site, he was one of the first people I ever put on the site about three years ago. To revisit his work reminded me just how much I loved him the first time around, particularly as he’s been very busy in the last few years and has created some absolutely stunning new work. There’s something about the poses, and the calm nature of his nymph-like female subjects that makes me slightly uneasy.

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    This year for the first time ever Istanbul is to be included in the Venice Architecture Biennale, and will showcase the work of five contemporary Turkish artists as curated by Murat Tabanlıoğlu. So how do you go about celebrating your country’s participation in one of the greatest celebrations of architecture? If you’re anything like graphic design studio Future Anecdotes Istanbul, you put together a glorious identity and accompanying publication to celebrate the event.

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    Greetings podlings! Great pod this week, lots of swearing and use of the word “aping.” There’s also obligatory shaming James as an ex-goth and arguing about whether sending flowers into space is an act of genius or clever PR stunt. Anyway, off you go, get involved. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    Whether catching a glimpse of a funeral ceremony over a black-clad shoulder or seeing young boys play football in dappled sunlight, Noah Rabinowitz’s beautiful images truly make you feel like you’re observing something intimate, something special.

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    Do I love this ad campaign more because it’s French? Probably. It’d be super cool from anywhere though. Intermarché – a big supermarket chain in France – decided it was time to save an endangered species from the rubbish bin; ugly duckling fruit and veg. In the UK a whopping 40% of greens don’t reach our shelves simply for being a bit unfortunate looking and globally we waste $750 billion worth of food each year. Ouch.

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    Marcello Velho is one of a school of graphic artists subverting the forms of internet art that we’re becoming used to seeing, and doing something completely unanticipated with them. His abstract compositions are experimental and ambiguous, but that’s exactly what makes them exciting. He’s a pretty dab hand at design too, working on magazine covers, art directing features and just generally applying his magic touch wherever it’s needed. It’s only a matter of time until a global fashion brand with a wildly cool following happens upon his work and immediately has him applying his learned eye to look books, textile design and event invitations. Just for the record though, we got here first, yeah?

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    What’s more terrifying than a street gang? I’ll tell you, a Maori gang called the Mighty Mongrel Mob. In this haunting short film by filmmaker and photographer Tom Gould we are thrown into the personal history of famed Mighty Mongrel Mob gang member Martyka Brandt, whose tattoo-covered and weathered face speaks volumes of his turbulent life. In this short film we learn about the perils of being in a gang like the Mongrel Mob, the near-death experiences Martyka has escaped, and how a man can truly turn his life around to something rather magical indeed.

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    Next up in the talks from our outer-space themed Nicer Tuesdays is illustrator Ben Newman. Ben was inspired to create a space book after seeing the dull offerings in the bookshop where he once worked, and by “the sense of fascination and wonder” in the illustration-heavy books produced before man walked on the moon. Ben worked with his physicist friend Dominic Walliman to create Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, and spoke about the challenges of making something both scientifically robust and simple enough for his target audience. Borrowing the four-colour print process from the space books of old, his became a huge hit and has been translated into nine languages.

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    It was something of an honour to have illustrator Jean Jullien in the studio to help judge this year’s It’s Nice That Graduates. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he’s also one of our favourite artists who – in our eyes – can do no wrong. His style is effortless and full of humour, grinning at our modern world through a wry squint – an ability that most of the great illustrators through time have nearly all had in common. Another thing we can all learn from Jean is that he works harder than most people we know and rarely says no to a project, making him in-demand and always on everyone’s radar. Here he is on what he learnt from helping us judge the It’s Nice That Graduates 2014.

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    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

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    Dino Ignani spent the early 1980s in many a “discoteche o video-bar" capturing the “dark” wave. From hanging out in cafés and bars with artists in Rome, he began to follow these newcomers with big barnets and kohl a-plenty to music events and club nights. He would create an ad-hoc set, and invite everyone there to have their portrait taken. The result is an enormous gallery of 400 images, mostly black and white, wonderfully random and totally intriguing. Who are these people?

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    There are several reasons why we love Kyle Pellet and everything that comes out of his Pellet Factory, but first and foremost on the list is that his work is good, plain, unadulterated fun. There’s no need to muse on his choice of medium, or the narratives which seem to run from one image to the next, or the squishy-faced characters who pop up again and again, because why would you when you can look at them, laugh and imagine you’re running through a gallery with a pack of assorted animals? Turns out he’s been incredibly busy churning out work at an impressive rate, so here’s an update on what he’s been up to! If you’re curious, you can also check out five of his favourite books over here on his bookshelf.

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    Battersea Power Station is one of my favourite buildings in London (you can add that to the list of things-you-don’t-care-about-which-I-tell-you-anyway-in-these-posts if you like). Anyway this summer it’s hosting the Everyman Cinema and east London’s Bread Collective was brought in to create the branding and hand-paint all the on-site signage. Bread has previous experience when it comes to large scale design work that packs a personality-filled punch and it’s great to see them unleash their talents on such a famous landmark. The bright and lively visuals juxtapose neatly with their industrial surroundings and there’s a consistency that ties the site together without feeling sterile.

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    Quite a few of us joined It’s Nice That in the summer many moons ago and so the sunny months are awash with opportunities for reflection and reminiscence. With that in mind we’ve asked four of our writers to take us back to the first post they ever wrote for the site and find out a bit more about the article that launched their careers here. And just in case you were wondering; here’s the first ever post on the site.

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    For an image maker whose craft relies on capturing light to take all of his photographs by moonlight might seem a little impertinent, but Alejandro Chaskielberg doesn’t seem to care about following any preconceived ideas. The Buenos Aires-born photographer has fully replaced lighting equipment with the natural environment by taking images by the light of the full moon. His technique comes as a breath of fresh air to those familiar with photographic projects which aim to muster sympathy for subjects living in underprivileged areas; this is something else else entirely.

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    We were pretty impressed with the new Airbnb logo when it launched last week, but for a different perspective, here’s Rob Mitchell from We All Need Words. He tells us why he’s had enough of “over-cooked brand stories masquerading as strategy” and as ever you can add your thoughts below…

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    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

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    My favourite thing about Paris-based design studio Twice is that they continually combine texture and colour in such a way that I’m practically banging my hands into my computer screen with wanting to hold their publications in my hands. That’s the trouble with tactility – it’s not practical – but that shouldn’t mean designers abandon it altogether in favour of a wipe-clean, stark, sterile aesthetic that makes us lose all hope in print.

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    Graphic designer and Manchester School of Art student Michael Crook is the 15th and final of our Graduates of 2014, securing a spot up there with the best of ’em with his incredibly sharp and effortless-looking design. The projects he won us over with include an identity for an event called The Science of Fashion in which he used thermochronic ink to create a disappearing design, a book about American hobo culture and the secret written languages nomads use to communicate with one another, and an original take on book cover design, in which he made Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 look like a book of matches ready for the striking. Read on to find out about his favourite project to date, and the perfume-soaked tab he’s hoping never to encounter again. Well done Michael!

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    Doodling isn’t just for school kids. It’s about discovery. “It’s a healthy way to let it all out, with no restrictions or external rules,” says Guy, a designer and illustrator. “You just go for it.” Every single page of his sketchbooks is packed with faces, animals, monsters, questions and squiggles. “Sometimes you’ll draw a face or a hand or a dog in a way you’ve never seen or done before and that’s always a good feeling. And sometimes you just make yourself laugh!”

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    Think about the sheer amount of books, articles, lectures and podcasts there must be floating around the earth on what makes a good record sleeve. We tend to consult designers, or record labels about the images that, thrown against sound, create something that sticks with you your whole life, that you could probably draw from memory. It’s rare when get an artist who creates the music and the artwork that makes it shine, but Tim Presley does.