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Regulars / Review of the Year 2018

Review of the Year 2018: Top 100 most read

As we start thinking about boarding packed trains to various parts of the country, letting It’s Nice That have a bit of time to itself, we’d like to take this opportunity to share with you, dear readers, the 100 most read articles we published in 2018. We’ve got news, work posts, and features – all of which explore the breadth of contemporary creativity. Thanks for reading!

  • List Features / Photography Paris Syndrome: photographer Francois Prost explores a replica city in China

    “I will always remember the first time I went to Venice,” photographer François Prost remembers. “I was 23. I arrived there by train on my own, and as soon as I got out of the train station, I had this strange feeling of not knowing if what I saw was real or not. The same thing happened when I went to Rome, to India and to New York. Those places are such full of history, references and fantasy that when you go there for real, it kind of mess up things in your brain: you’re suddenly confronting the reality of the images you have seen. I later learned that this was called Stendhal Syndrome, and that it was a phenomenon happening a lot to Japanese tourists coming to Paris or Florence.”

    3
    Bryony Stone
  • Group_list_replacement Features / Ones To Watch 2018 Introducing It's Nice That's Ones to Watch 2018

    It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

    4
    It's Nice That
  • Aronklein-kukeriproject-photography-itsnicethat-1 Work / Photography Aron Klein's captivating images of the Bulgarian demon chasers

    “Kukeri is an ancient pagan ritual practiced annually across the Balkan mountain regions where local men wear carved wooden masks of beasts’ faces and hang heavy bells around their waists as they perform arcane dances,” says London-based photographer Aron Klein. The Kukeri Project is Aron’s magical and dreamlike series that consists of hypnotic images of large men in carnivalesque costumes, posing menacingly in the wintry Bulgarian mountains. These figures are intended to dispel evil spirits and protect their community from ill fortune. The project came about after Aron started working as a photographer for Meadows in the Mountains music festival in the Rhodope Mountain range between Bulgaria and Greece. “I’ve fallen madly in love with this forgotten corner of Europe with its tiny villages, steeped in ancient folklore and mysterious traditions,” he tells It’s Nice That.

    7
    Daphne Milner
  • Russia-tourism-rebrand-graphic-design-itsnicethat News / Graphic Design The rebrand for Russia’s tourist board uses Suprematist geometry laid out as a map

    A team of five designers has created a new brand identity for Russia’s tourism board, using a logo that references the country’s cultural history and geography. Employing the aesthetics of Suprematism, an art movement coined by Russian artist Kasimir Malevich that featured abstract compositions of bold geometric shapes, the logo uses such shapes in the form of a map of Russia. An important, avant-garde era of Russian culture, not least thanks to its ties to the revolution, the design team says it used Suprematist techniques because – in its time – it “personified advanced thinking” in the country, and is still associated with Russia around the world.

    8
    Jenny Brewer
  • Alexprager-compulsion-photography-itsnicethat-01 Features / Photography How Alex Prager made the world stop and stare

    There are numerous reasons why photographer Alex Prager has gained such success and adoration, but one standout factor is her ability to make viewers see the world for its busy but dressed-up glory. She does so by setting a scene, something similar to daily life but eerily unfamiliar. The photographer creates sets to do this, but it’s a set you’d unknowingly walk past, a bus stop or a cinema crowd cast full of friends, family and the famous. It’s this mix of the real and the staged that’s seen curators at the world’s largest galleries fall for Alex, alongside the rest of us. You can’t help but stop and stare at an image by Alex Prager.

    20
    Lucy Bourton
  • Vicki-king-photography-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Photography Photographer Vicki King’s latest work is as dreamy and otherworldly as ever

    Vicki King is one of those photographers whose images make you want to step straight into the world they create. Her subjects seem to inhabit somewhere else – an eternally sunny place, their faces awash with warm hues of orange and pink. This otherworldly-ness is no mistake explains the London-based photographer, who admits to having an obsession with wanting to exist in a “timeless dreamscape.”

    21
    Ruby Boddington
  • Studio_yukiko Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Ones to Watch 2018: graphic designers Studio Yukiko

    It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

    22
    Lucy Bourton
  • Offshore_studio Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Ones to Watch 2018: graphic designers Offshore Studio

    It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo. 

    26
    Ruby Boddington
  • Muji-hotel-interior-design-itsnicethat-list News / Architecture Muji to open “anti-gorgeous, anti-cheap” hotels in China and Japan

    Muji has announced it will open its first series of hotels, the Japanese brand’s first foray into hospitality. Already offering everything from homeware to clothing, books and food, this extends the brand’s offering to one of full immersion for customers, who will be able to surround themselves with its minimalist, functional aesthetic. “Muji Hotel seeks to provide a physical experience of the Muji philosophy,” says the brand in a press release, “through the texture of the towels, the placement of the outlets and light switches, menu and venue of the restaurant, and more.”

    27
    Jenny Brewer
  • Damienhirst-reasuresfromthewreckoftheunbelievable-film-itsnicethat-list News / Film Damien Hirst releases mockumentary on Netflix

    Damien Hirst’s mammoth, art world-dividing exhibition, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is the focus of a new documentary, or rather mockumentary, released on Netflix.

    28
    Lucy Bourton
  • Max_gunther Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Ones to Watch 2018: illustrator Max Guther

    It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

    32
    Jenny Brewer
  • Tom-dixon-ikea-delaktig-product-design-itsnicethat-list-2 News / Product Design Ikea launches Tom Dixon collaboration, a modular, hackable furniture range

    One of Britain’s best-known product designers, Tom Dixon has collaborated with Ikea to create a modular, hackable furniture system. Where most of Tom Dixon’s own brand items are beyond budgets of the majority of young design fans, this design is aimed to start simple, and affordable, with the capability to upgrade as your life evolves.

    33
    Jenny Brewer
  • Its-nice-that-dia-studio-list-img-724x474 Features / Graphic Design “Go, go, go”: how DIA messed with design theory, only to improve it

    Moving. This one word sums up everything New York-based design studio DIA embodies. Movement is in the neoteric, kinetic identity systems it creates and the processes it uses to construct them. Moving forward is in the ethos that drives its leaders Mitch Paone and Meg Donohoe to redefine with graphic design is. DIA is always moving and, in turn, its solidified itself as the master of typography in flux. It’s a studio which messes with design theory only to improve it, leaving the rest of us scrambling to catch up. Despite a somewhat-earnest façade, DIA is a studio built upon the interpersonal relationships it harbours, particularly between Mitch, founder and creative director, and Meg, managing partner. “We are on the same page with just about everything,” Mitch explains, “Same taste in design, art, food, architecture, vacations.” This “universal compatibility,” as he describes it, feeds through everything they do, in or outside of work, forming the basis of their collaboration. “Most importantly,” he continues, “there is a balance of our mindsets. Meg steers the ship with a long-term vision, whereas I am very much immersed in immediate creative tasks.”

    34
    Ruby Boddington
  • Apartamento-10years-publication-itsnicethat-list Features / Publication Apartamento at ten: a decade of celebrating the everyday home

    Interiors magazine Apartamento has made a name for itself by documenting and celebrating the everyday charm of the humble home. Each issue is welcoming and friendly, and in turn, risk isn’t necessarily something you would associate with the publication. Yet taking a risk is what launched and contributed to the biannual’s global success. Ten years on, we look back at the moment three 20-something guys naively ventured into the world of publications, and find the risk has definitely paid off.

    47
    Lucy Bourton
  • David-brandon-geeting-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography David Brandon Geeting’s latest series looks “cool when you’re high”

    David Brandon Geeting’s work is known for its glossy aesthetic, sophisticated still life compositions and amusing surprises. In a recent project, the New York-based photographer has used all the skills in his arsenal to create an unpredictable but contemporary campaign for Los Angeles cannabis brand, Pure Beauty.

    48
    Ruby Boddington
  • The-history-of-graphic-design-1890-1959-jens-muller-taschen_publication_itsnicethat-cover-list Work / Graphic Design The History of Graphic Design: Volume One charts iconic work from 1890–1959

    The History of Graphic Design 1890–1959 is a hefty book with an equally weighty mission – to chart the most iconic and important landmark works of the global graphic design industry. Aiming to aggregate such a wealth of work in one place, and be representative, is no small undertaking but the impressive title holds its own. Beginning with essays by the book’s author Jens Müller and fellow writer David Jury in English, French and German, the following large format pages are filled with a chronological, pictorial evolution of the medium throughout the years, a timeline of vital reference material for anyone studying, practicing or passionate about graphic design’s impact on the world. Here we publish an adapted extract from Jens’ introduction to volume one of his vast project.

    49
    Jens Müller
  • Faye_wei_wei Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Ones to Watch 2018: artist Faye Wei Wei

    It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo. 

    56
    Bryony Stone
  • Anna-ginsburg_animation_itsnicethat_list Features / International Women's Day Why is there a lack of women in animation, and what can we do about it?

    Where are all the women? It’s a question that comes up time and time again in conversation with animators and animation studios alike. According to advocacy group Women in Animation, 60% of animation students in the US and Europe are women, but the drop off rate as they move into industry is staggering, with only 20%–40% of professional roles held by women. But why exactly is there a lack of females in animation, and more constructively, what is the industry doing about it? To find out, we spoke to a variety of important voices in the sector, from educators and leading animation studios to female animators themselves (they do exist) about their experiences, and what actions are being taken to redress the balance.

    57
    Jenny Brewer
  • Its-nice-that-the-graduates-can-yang-graphic-design-list Regulars / The Graduates 2018 Can Yang's graphic design style is deep-rooted in her Chinese heritage

    The work of graphic designer Can Yang is steeped in history and philosophy. Context is the backbone of her works, consistently relating back to her cultural upbringing in China, but translated through the teaching programme at Rhode Island School of Design where she’s just graduated.

    58
    Lucy Bourton
  • Ibm-coporate-identity-its-nice-that-list Features / Publication Design to improve the general quality of life: exploring Paul Rand's IBM Graphic Standards Manual

    In a televised interview with Paul Rand in 1991 the designer was asked, “What does the world need with graphic design, what does it do for us? To the average person it may seem a kind of… fussy little concern with moving words around, pictures around, what good does it do us?” Paul responds that he’s been thinking about this for many years: “Up to rather recently, I sort of concluded that we were not very important. Or you can put it another way – there used to be a guy in my agency days, he would say, ‘how is it possible to make so much and do so little?’”

    59
    Lucy Bourton
  • Manvsmachine-airmaxday-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list News / Graphic Design ManvsMachine create its most ambitious campaign for Air Max Day yet

    ManvsMachine has created its fourth global campaign in celebration of Nike’s Air Max Day. Continuously adapting and developing the campaign from the year previous, the 2018 edition sees ManvsMachine take “cues from modern editorial design and hosts an extensive number of assets — from live action, 3D, typographical design, right the way through to cel animation,” creative director Adam Rowe tells It’s Nice That.

    60
    Lucy Bourton
  • Grads2018_3 Regulars / The Graduates 2018 "Don't drink and dance in front of your peers": ten creatives on their biggest mistakes

    Art and design schools everywhere preach the importance of failure. Tutors encourage students to let go of any preconceptions of what their work should be and, instead, try everything under the sun, using their mistakes as a means to learn. James Dyson famously made his way through over 5,000 prototypes before discovering the solution for the modern-day hoover, for example. Creativity and the generation of new ideas seem to go hand-in-hand with making mistakes, with the best ideas the result of learning from one.

    61
    Ruby Boddington
  • Wes_anderson_juman_malouf_curate_exhibition_kunsthistorisches-museum_events_itsnicethat News / Events Wes Anderson and partner Juman Malouf to curate exhibition in Vienna

    Film director Wes Anderson and his partner, designer, illustrator and author Juman Malouf, will curate an exhibition for the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The museum invited the couple to put together the show, drawing pieces from its own vast archive. This will include objects from its collections of historical musical instruments, weapons, armour, coins and medals; carriages and sleighs; Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities; the Kunstkammer / Cabinet of Curiosities collection; and the Picture Gallery. It will also feature items from the Weltmuseum of anthropology, Vienna’s Theatre Museum and the Schloss Ambras, a renaissance castle in Innsbruck.

    68
    Jenny Brewer
  • Listimage2 Features / Art Sound and vision: Parquet Courts' A. Savage on life as an artist and musician

    A. Savage is an artist who is always walking the ledge between two creative worlds. The first is a musical one, where he throttles through songs playing in Parquet Courts. But the second is a slower paced painting career, where his enviable talent for building a narrative shifts from songwriting onto canvas. While he has no plans to settle in either camp permanently, his painting studio is “wonderful” the artist tells It’s Nice That. “It’s my favourite place in the world.”

    69
    Lucy Bourton
  • Jonnyisaacson-debateclub-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Meet graphic designer Jonathan Isaacson and his hybrid portfolio

    “I got into design kind of by accident,” explains London-based graphic designer Jonathan Isaacson. Despite studying illustration at Brighton, Jonathan admits he became far more inspired by the work his friends were producing across the discipline bridge in graphic design, an area which appeared like “it was as much about the idea as it was about the final outcome,” he tells It’s Nice That.

    70
    Lucy Bourton
  • University-of-portsmouth-logo-graphic-design-itsnicethat_list News / Graphic Design University of Portsmouth receives backlash over costs of its rebrand

    The University of Portsmouth has made national headlines for the reported costs of its recent rebrand. According to the i newspaper, the institution has been heavily criticised for spending £800,000 on an “image overhaul… including redesigning its logo” at the same time as cutting budgets in several departments. Its rebrand was revealed in July 2017 and is currently being rolled out across campus and all the university’s visual communications.

    86
    Jenny Brewer
  • 2001-a-space-odyssesy-film-itsnicethat-list Features / Film “Something bold, something pure” – the 50-year long legacy of 2001: A Space Odyssey

    When 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered on 10 May 1968 – 50 years ago today – it somehow captured the imagination of its viewers: an audience who was yet to experience footage of the moon landing over a year later. Packed full of lengthy sequences and free from dialogue or even sound, its imagery, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is tranquil to the point of being static at times. This combined with its understandably puzzling ending meant the film received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. Despite this, it quickly garnered a ferocious cult following and became the highest grossing film of that year: the only Kubrick motion picture to hold this status.

    87
    Ruby Boddington
  • Gracehelmer-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Grace Helmer's intricate paintings and sketchbook pages from a trip to Japan and Taiwan

    Looking through illustrator Grace Helmer’s paintings from a trip to Japan and Taiwan made us envious for a number of reasons. Firstly and obviously, was the fact she spent time travelling around each country on what looks like a dream holiday. But more importantly and to the point, Grace’s documentation of her trip – sketchbooks full of train ticket stubs stuck next to delicate oil paintings – put our iPhone snaps and thumb-lensed disposable camera shots of holidays to shame.

    88
    Lucy Bourton
  • Luke-powell-jody-hudson-powell-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list-alt Regulars / Bookshelf Pentagram's Luke Powell and Jody Hudson-Powell's Bookshelf from their teenage years

    In October 2015, brothers Luke Powell and Jody Hudson-Powell became the twentieth and twenty-first partners of design studio, Pentagram. Three years later, they continue to work with an ever-impressive list of clients from the British Fashion Council to London’s Garden Museum. Prior to joining Pentagram, the pair operated under Hudson-Powell: a practice which merged their interests in graphic design and technology resulting in a varied output across print and digital platforms.

    98
    Ruby Boddington
  • Adobe-monotype-itsnicethat-list News / Graphic Design Adobe has added 665 new Monotype fonts to Creative Cloud

    Typographers of the creative world rejoice! Christmas has, sort of, come early this year: Adobe and Montoype have just snuck down the chimney, glugged the port, polished off Rudloph’s carrot, and deposited 665 new fonts from 41 type families under the tree. It’ll be like unwrapping a shiny new Playstation 2 all over again. Remember how good that felt? Being 10? Not having any real understanding of the full and crushing weight of the anxieties and stresses that were soon to wash all over you, day in, day out? Today’s like that, all over again.

    99
    Josh Baines
  • Anna-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list News / Graphic Design Anna is a playful, purposeful financial service aimed at the creative industries

    Working in the creative industries means thinking about money. A lot. A new financial service aimed specifically at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industries. Anna — which stands for Absolutely No Nonsense Admin — has been brought to life by a team including Michael Wolff, illustrator Alice Bowsher and NB Studio, and claims to “provides an entirely digital platform that addresses the unique needs of SMEs for whom creativity is integral to their business.”

    100
    Josh Baines

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