Archive

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    First up in our prank-themed Nicer Tuesdays talks is Katrin Baumgarten, senior interaction designer at Hirsch & Mann. Katrin spoke to us about the agency’s work for Red Stripe tripping out an east London corner shop to become a full-blown musical instrument. She explained that although it was an amazing brief both time and money were tight, and the challenge came in creating the magic, which meant “hiding as much of the technology as you possibly can.” She also revealed that because of various practical and legal considerations the special effects could not be automatically triggered, and so she and her team holed-up hidden away in the shop for the duration to help create the experience.

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    WOW this is a good choice. Music video-director and generally wonderful filmmaker Tom Haines has picked an absolute classic this afternoon to show you all. Yes it’s a bit of a spoiler (don’t watch this if you plan to watch Once Upon A Time In The West, ever) but it’s so incredibly spine-tinglingly terrific maybe it’s worth the sacrifice? After you’ve checked his favourite music video out, go over to Tom’s site where you can see some of the terrific videos he’s directed for people like Devendra Banhart, The Temper Trap, Nick Cave and many, many others. Wowzah!

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    This Thursday sees the launch of Suspended, a debut solo show by Chloe Early at The Outsiders London. The works on display are Chloe’s response to the “romantic splendour of Renaissance religious art” and an exploration of “the themes of weightlessness and gravity.” Her paintings feature realistically rendered human figures, lifted above the ground by unseen forces or large clusters of helium balloons. Chloe contends that we no longer have objects of worship within fine art, and so her images serve as celestial totems of real-world figures elevated above the mundane.

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    It’s becoming something of a yearly tradition for us to check back in with Malin Rosenqvist, the very talented Swedish illustrator responsible for a bunch of posts from us cataloguing her creative development over the past few years. And never one to disappoint, she’s back again this spring with loads of new stuff for us to fawn over.

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    There’s two creative achievements to be lauded here, one of which is joyfully opportunistic. Kendra Eash wrote a terrific poem called This Is A Generic Brand Video for McSweeney’s which lampoons the kind of corporate videos dreamed up by marketing committees with too much time on their hands. You know the ones, full of inspirational imagery saturated with heavy-handed metaphors and sprinkled with impressive-sounding but essentially meaningless claptrap.

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    Carole Gautier and Eugénie Favre are My Name is Wendy, a French graphic design studio based in Paris whose work is characterised by an incredibly strong visual language. In D/I/M/E/N/S/I/O/N they created a series of posters in which they reinterpreted the familiar forms of letters, as objects.

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    Seen this going round the internet of late? Well us too, but if you think this is just another bogus list of “things dogs do when they’re scared” or “cats that are really happy to be alive today” then think again. Gabriele Galimberti’s Toy Stories is a well-researched, totally valid project that explores the plastic glory that children of all ages and from all different backgrounds hold dear. In Toy Stories, she travelled around photographing young kids after asking them to select their most treasured possessions, with rather interesting results.

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    To say that Geoffrey Lillemon is an unusual character doesn’t really do him justice. The Dutch/American artist/designer produces work that’s about as bizarre as you’re likely to see. His website is a surreal, pornographic maze of disfigured characters and disturbing sounds that evoke the very basest curiosities and desires with macabre delight. In his own words, “Lillemon has consistently foregrounded the interplay between the digital and physical world in his work, blending traditional mediums (sic) with modern vfx capabilities to craft new worlds and fantasies.”

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    Oh hello! Welcome to the best bit of the weekend: the beginning! The whole 48 hours is spread out before you like a tray of hot crumpets or a long road to the sunset. What will you do with yours? Walks? Collages? Sausages? Trampoline? All of the above? Speak for yourself. We’re going to sit in our pants and countdown to drinking o’clock like every other weekend. Do you want a slice of cheese on that, luv?

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    What a treat, here we have Otis Marchbank’s Friday mix specially made to make your afternoon that much better. As well as putting this fabulous lump of music together, Otis has also made us a rather nice zine which you can see below. Accompanying a mix with a zine? Uh, that is definitely what we are into, top marks! You may have heard Otis on NTS Radio’s “bi-weekly confederation of weirdos” Pipe Down show before today, and if you haven’t then pull your finger out and be sure to check it out. Thank you NTS! And thank you Otis!

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    You should know before you start reading that we really love Jim Stoten, he’s one of our favourite illustrators. So now you won’t be surprised when we start to gush about his latest project for Nobrow 9 which sees him tackling a comic based on scale and proportion that zooms in, step-by-step, from one panel to the next, allowing you to travel at speed through time and space. Jim takes you into the eye of a cat where a man plays piano on a toadstool, across a desert on a sunbather’s knee that’s home to a camel with can-can dancer eyelashes. There’s a guitar-playing duck with a solar system in his sunglasses and a horse galloping across the screen of a television on the moon. Jesus Christ it’s good. You should go have a look!

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    Daniel Hashimoto just trumped every single other dad who thinks they’re doing a pretty good job and jumped straight to the top of the podium. How? He’s an After Effects artist for DreamWorks studios, and he’s taken to adding CGI to clips of his toddler son playing at home. As a result, little James sets fire to shelves with his light sabre in toy shops, falls through puddles on the street, jumps over hot lava bouncing from sofa to sofa in his living room and he shoots things left, right and centre. He even has his very own dedicated YouTube Channel, The Action Movie Kid. Don’t miss the moment when James exclaims “Golly!” as his house collapses in ravaging flames behind him. Thank God The Independent brought this to our Friday! AMAZING.

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    The world of child actors can be a tricky one to navigate, from exploited teenyboppers to precocious drama school Jemimas. But photographer Helena Miscioscia’s latest series focusing on the youngsters who tread the boards at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is a compelling and atmospheric triumph. Helena, who has an MA in Performance Studies, took inspiration from the portraits of the original Shakespearean actors and styled her modern-day subjects in the same way.

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    Since we first heard Jungle’s debut single Platoon in June of 2013 we’ve been eagerly anticipating every new track they’ve released and keen to see how they’ll follow up their outrageously cute first video that featured B-Girl Terra, a six-year-old break dancer.

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    This week’s Things feature is, as ever, full to the brim with some of the super-cool stuff that’s been sent to us in the studio over the past week or two. Including a publication of drawings, a German design magazine, an exhibition catalogue from an upcoming typography exhibition and a beautiful children’s book about the world’s most impressive buildings. Oh yeah, and a giant pink fluffy stuffed blob-fish. We’ve heard it’s been called the world’s ugliest animal so we decided it was time for the humble psychrolutes marcidus to make its slippery way into a article all of its own.

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    There are different levels of commitment to design geekery, and the new book from Unit Editions is a reward for those who really put in the hard yards. Manuals 1 is billed as “the first comprehensive study of corporate identity design manuals” and features 20 examples of the guidelines given to designers in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. From NASA to Lufthansa and the NYC Transit Authority to British Steel, the book provides a masterclass in how institutions built their visual languages – and by extension defined themselves – in what has been called “the golden era of identity design.”

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    Imagine if, instead of being an online search engine, Google was a man in an office, surrounded by stacks of papers too high to see over. Imagine if every time you had a question to Google you not only had to wait in line outside his office, but you also had to watch ashamedly while he rummaged through the aforementioned files. Imagine the things you’d hear.

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    Hello listeners! Listen up as that is your duty, to four monkeys talking about the art and design news of today. We have all your cultural needs plus a whole lot more. Really though, when I say “more” I mean if you like hearing people mercilessly take the piss out of Printed Pages editor James Cartwright then you’re in for a treat as he gets an absolute battering in this episode. Enjoy!

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    Here’s something unexpected for a Thursday morning, remember Canadian Rock star Bryan Adams? Remember him being all sexy and nice in Sherwood Forest and remaining in the UK number one spot for 16 weeks with wedding anthem Everything I do, I do it for you? And then later blowing us away with potentially the best duet – and certainly best karaoke classic – Baby When You’re Gone with Mel C? Anyway, let’s get to the point.

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    Body-paint remains something of an overlooked form in the art and illustration worlds – too many great-seeming-but-actually-very-difficult-to-execute ideas have gone awry in the wrong hands. Janine Rewell, however, appears to have the right ones. She already has a stack of fantastic illustration work under her belt, and her most recent project with Finnish shoe designer Minna Parikka has seen her apply all of this skill to the art of body-painting.

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    We like to think we don’t watch all that much TV here at It’s Nice That. We’re too cultured to be slumping down in front of the box and watching whatever’s on. But the reality is we’re terrible consumers of TV shows, we just do it with box-sets in three-day sessions over a bank holiday; in bed, blinds down, takeaway pizzas on speed-dial. Which means we’re not even slightly immune to this fantastic project from Kevin Wu, that cropped up on Wired yesterday.

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    Martina Corà is a Milan-based photographer whose brilliant, concept-led photographic projects set her far apart from the crowd. We were utterly taken in by her semi-animated GIFs and her eye for a sweet shot, so we caught up with her to find out how she goes about her working day. Read on to find out about the angst she gets when she’s away from the internet for too long, how to assist a food stylist and how interning for herself would make taking selfies that much easier!

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    Lookbooks can get a bit samey sometimes. Nice though their purpose is, it can occasionally transform into an opportunity for brands to pop flawlessly beautiful models in their clothes and then photograph them against flashy backgrounds. Unless, of course, the brand is Bodega. The super trendy Boston-based menswear retailer have shaken things up a bit this season, forgoing the traditional lookbook in favour of a set of tradable baseball and basketball cards packaged in that nostalgic foil corner-shop packaging of yore. The images are brilliantly lo-fi, the models wield basketballs and baseball bats to enhance their ready-to-play-at-a-moment’s-notice appearance, and as a result the clothes look wearable and desirable. A commendable effort, Bodega! Now, can we swap you the pullover baseball jersey for the nylon rugby kit?

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    Not to be confused with the magician of the same name, Benoit Fournier is a French photographer living and working in Brazil. Having taken up photography at the relatively ripe old age of 20, he’s been developing his skills in Mexico and Spain, before settling in Rio de Janeiro. While there he’s been at work compiling numerous series’ of photographs that document life on the city’s streets and beaches, particularly focussing on the population’s relationship with water.

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    We’ve always gone nuts for Brecht’s work, his deeply satirical view on the modern world is impossible not to enjoy. But recently we’ve noticed he’s actually improving rapidly. We thought his work simply couldn’t be beaten, but he’s become not only a better illustrator as the years have progressed, but also a better satirist. Examining his recent work you’ll find all kinds of imagery that deals with current affairs and news stories in the most extraordinary fashion, dressing them up in cartoonish clothing to sneak hawk-eyed observations under the radar. But in truth Brecht sees the world for what it is, and pictures that seem like just a bit of fun at first can often have some pretty hard-hitting messages.

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    When it comes to marking out influential figures in the contemporary architecture and design industries, we’d have a hard time thinking of a more accomplished innovator than Sam Jacob. As one of the founding directors of FAT Architecture he is responsible for a range of internationally acclaimed projects, cementing FAT’s place as one of the world’s leading post-modern architecture studios. His portfolio includes award winning work for BBC, Igloo, Urban Splash and Selfridges, with many of his projects exhibited at leading galleries and museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the MAK in Vienna and the Venice Architecture Biennale. After many years of incredible collaborative work, Sam and his partners Charles Holland and Sean Griffiths announced last year that FAT would close this summer.

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    The main poster for this year’s Designs of the Year show at London’s Design Museum features a stark white slogan on a sheer black background which reads: “Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff.” It sums up perfectly what this programme aims to do: champion and showcase the best contemporary design and put a marker down for that which will come to define the coming decades. And this year’s extravaganza succeeds in doing that in spectacular fashion.

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    This week Rob Alderson poses a few questions in a bid to get to the bottom of what makes an inspirational and unforgettable creative conference. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

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    Eric Ruby is based in Massachussetts, USA, which to my somewhat geographically-illiterate brain is about as far away from urban London as I can imagine. Indeed it must be, if the photographs from his series Do Not Go Gentle are anything to go by. Creating a new image of mortality from a juxtaposition of portraiture and landscape photography, Eric alludes to the very famous Dylan Thomas poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, using a desert-like setting which is all the more alluring for its strangeness. Bleak expanses of bleached white sand littered with gravelly stones sit next to images of the life-worn wrinkled faces of several old men, interspersed with ambiguously boney, feathery creatures. It’s a curiously arranged series, but it works a treat.

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    We post a fair few creatives on the site who specialise in poster design and are adept at using their graphic skills to grab your attention from the other side of a room. But often those skills don’t translate across different media – what makes for a great poster won’t necessarily work in a smaller format or across digital platforms. This seems like an obvious statement, but is often a stumbling block for young designers.

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    As one of the most respected art schools in the world, London’s Royal College of Art combines a strong creative heritage with a responsibility to help drive and develop cutting-edge art and design practice. It’s this dual function which informs this brilliant identity for the RCA’s summer show, designed by recent graduates Giulia Garbin and Jack Llewellyn.

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    Held just a week before April Fools’ Day, last night’s Nicer Tuesdays supported by Park Communications was all about pranks and hoaxes. Four speakers with very different stories to tell took to the stage at our new venue the Protein Space to regale us with tales of tomfoolery.

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    The ad industry is never more exciting than when a big ol’ company takes everybody by surprise and hits the nail absolutely on the head, as is the case with this new ad by Snickers Australia. The advert is built around their campaign heading “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry,” and plays on the stereotype of builders objectifying women. Accordingly, it focuses on a group of Aussie builders on a construction site surprising female passers-by with empowering statements, from “I appreciate your appearance is just one aspect of who you are!” to “Y’know what I’d like to see? A society in which the objectification of women makes way for gender neutral interactions free from assumptions and expectations!”

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    It doesn’t happen that often, but occasionally we come across a creative talent who is tremendously familiar to us but who for some baffling reason we have never celebrated on the site. So it is with French illustrator and character designer Geneviève Gauckler, whose work has cropped up in group shows but who has never been feted in her own right – until now. Ciitng the title sequence of Flipper as one of her major inspirations, Geneviève creates characters that snap, crackle and pop with vibrancy and personality, leaping off the print or magazine cover to frolic in the farthest reaches of your imagination.

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    We’ve sung the praises of Danish studio Designbolaget before, and I’m sure that our enthusiastic reception of their stunning body of work back in 2012 more than warrants an update on what they’ve been working on since then. Which brings us to the visual identity they’ve designed for the National Gallery of Denmark’s new exhibition of Haim Steinbach’s work, and a fantastic demonstration of what this spectacularly able studio does best.

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    Japanese studio Akaoni Design have got so much fantastic work under their belts it’s almost impossible to pick out a favourite piece. So we didn’t, instead offering you an overview of their lovely work. The Yamagata-based consultancy have an incredible skill for combining hand-drawn and digital elements to create a graphic language that’s entirely their own. Similarly they combine Roman type and Kanji characters with effortless flair, making bilingual design look a breeze.

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    It’s all very well picking up a camera and messing around with it like everyone else, but not everyone takes it to the next level of “amateur photographer” and even fewer make it to “professional photographer.” Those that stand out from here on out are the professional photographers who do one thing incredibly well – whether it’s photographing food, naked women or simply landscapes – much like young Liverpudlian freelance photographer Sonny McCartney. Sonny’s got a knack for candid, lo-fi portraits of some of London’s freshest young talent. Does “young talent” sound a bit creepy? Maybe. That’s even funnier though, because even though a lot of his subjects are half-dressed, there’s absolutely nothing creepy about them in the slightest. The pictures of Mick Jagger with a microphone down his pants? A different story.

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    Next up in our Nicer Tuesdays magazine-themed talks is editor of The Independent Magazine Will Dean. Will spoke to us about the titles which have influenced his approach to the all-important cover decisions, referencing Bloomberg Businessweek‘s creative director Richard Turley for his wholly unique approach. He showed the audience some of his favourite covers, one of which was for the royal christening. “I managed to convince them that the best way for us to cover the royal christening was to hire the country’s best Kate Middleton lookalike, get a baby, and put them both in haute couture dresses…” The resulting image is impressive, to say the least. “I mean, I think we got away with it” he laughed. Will also revealed the dissatisfaction that comes from working on a weekly supplement – “the very fast turnaround means that arguably you’re never really happy with what you end up with” – and suggested that it’s this dissatisfaction which drives the progression of any publication.

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    Sarah’s the first Bookshelf contributor (to my knowledge) that has used the phrase “yum” when describing a publication. And why not when the book is as lovely as the tomes Sarah has picked from her evidently weighty shelves? Only last week we were gushing about how spectacular she is at drawing but we just couldn’t resist peeking into her bookcase. What did we find? A bunch of beautiful short stories and some truly delightful art books, naturally. Here she is…

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    Always With Honor are one of those frustratingly talented studios capable of effortlessly turning out thoughtful, considered design and illustration for clients as international and massive as Nike and as small as Boke Bowl, their local noodle bar. This scalable approach to clients comes to bear on their aesthetic choices too. Their vector graphics can be transformed from hard-hitting monochrome icons to a playful herd of animals (like the ones below) with the simple addition of a few colours, and yet still maintain that signature Always With Honor vernacular.