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Apple create emoji set to better represent users with disabilities

Claudiamate%cc%81-digital-itsnicethat-10list Work / Digital Artist Claudia Maté on her digitally rendered Sims-like worlds

If most of your childhood was spent playing Sims, “motherloding” your way to the lushest mansion Pleasantview has to offer, then join the club. For most of us the obsessive Sims-days led to little more than stunted social skills. For digital artist Claudia Maté, however, playing video games was what inspired her creative pursuits. “When I was ten years old, I spent all my savings on a computer. At first I only used it to play video games. But after a few years, I started experimenting with all its various creative possibilities like photoshop and 2D animation. By 17 I started making money from it,” the Paris-based artist tells It’s Nice That.

Superhi-digital2-list Sponsored / Digital "Interactive messages stick": a new breed of websites by Hawraf, Knoth and Renner and Bureau Cool

The ability to understand and move with the times, while progressing your work accordingly, is a crucial skill for any designer. With our lives increasingly dictated by the screens that surround us, the importance of coding and digital design is soaring. In a series of articles in collaboration with SuperHi, It’s Nice That will be offering insight into the prominence of this facet of design. Previously we explored why code is crucial to contemporary design and in our second article, we speak to a variety of creatives who are pushing the boundaries of what we know to be a website.

Sondraperry-art-itsnicethat-list2 Work / Art Artist Sondra Perry uses avatars and animation to challenge representations of blackness

For her first European solo show Typhoon Coming On, American artist Sondra Perry has transformed the walls of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery into a seasick-inducing corridor of computer generated waves. Made using open-source software Ocean Modi, the purple hue references the programmes colour warning, which appears when there’s a problem with the simulation. Every so often the projections flick to the manipulated surface of J.M.W. Turner’s 1840 painting Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On), the canvas grossly deformed into an oily sludge.

Foldings_tate_(1) Work / Digital Dave Gaskarth’s data-driven visuals use satellite imaging to evoke state surveillance

Futuristic animated cities designed for Google, illustrations for Optigram’s After Us journal, and album artwork for the likes of Russell Haswell and Lanark Artefax – the newly refreshed portfolio site of designer and motion artist Dave Gaskarth is packed with thought-provoking projects. But it’s in his work for electronic musician Lee Gamble that’s really got us hot under the collar.

Lucy_hardcastle Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Ones to Watch 2018: visual artist Lucy Hardcastle

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. 

Asusual.111_list Work / Photography Brooke DiDonato’s surreal portraits leave the viewer to fill in the gaps

If you’ve never had the desire to disappear into the background then you’re either a very confident person or a verbally continent one. But for those of us wallflowers with our feet permanently in our mouths, photographer Brooke DiDonato’s As Usual series will have a particular resonance. Mixing the everyday with a touch of the fantastical, Brooke’s photographs capture surreal moments when people are obscured, subsumed or lost in the environments around them.

Water-01list Work / Illustration Illustrator Anna Roberts on the process behind her hyperreal artworks

“I like to focus on the quiet things that I feel deserve attention,” says illustrator Anna Roberts about her hyperreal artworks. From a bag of juicy oranges so real you can almost hear the plastic rustle to light shining through a glass of water with perfect precision, her artworks are so true to life that it’s only after considerable attention that you work out Anna’s quiet moments aren’t in fact photographs.

Ado-water-futures-research-program-miscellaneous-itsnicethat-list Sponsored / Miscellaneous A/D/O's Water Futures Design Challenge asks creatives to solve our global water crisis

Humankind’s relationship to drinking water has developed into what can only be described as a toxic one. This is particularly true in our cities where tensions surrounding water have resulted in many calling for a ban on single-use, disposable plastic bottles. In what is the beginning of a year-long programme, A/D/O has launched the Water Futures Design Challenge. An incentivised contest, it “challenges designers and creators to conceptualise and imagine innovative new ways to solve this global crisis.”

Baron-harley-weir-jamie-reid-function-publication-itsnicethat-7 Work / Publication Harley Weir and Jamie Reid explore the functions of the female body for Baron

Publishing a new body of work by photographer Harley Weir, Baron’s latest issue Function explores the conflicting messages we’re exposed to surrounding the “purpose” of the female body. The brazen set of fashion and documentary images, art directed by Jamie Reid, present sexual desire and reproduction alongside one another – for example showing the female nipple as both an erogenous zone and a feeding station, and, in turn, how it simultaneously causes desire and disgust. These are curated in the book to examine human biology and how it’s represented in society.

Bblist Work / Graphic Design Haw-lin Services and Tim Schmitt on their sci-fi identity for Berlin Biennale

Sometimes it’s the projects that never make it out into the real world that are the most fascinating. Without being watered down by rounds of client tweaks, you can really see the inner workings of a designer’s brain. Or that’s how we feel about Haw-lin Services’s concept identity for Berlin Biennale 9, which the duo just popped up on their site. Working on the projected with former HORT colleague Tim Schmitt, the typographic-led identity is a slick medley of sci-films and corporate culture. And, although unused, is an interesting musing on the role of corporate sponsorship in the art world.

Old-street-roundabout-architecture-itsnicethat-list Work / Architecture Winning proposals for regeneration of Old Street Roundabout announced

In 2019, the iconic 1960s roundabout in Old Street, London, will be entirely removed and a two-way traffic system introduced, creating a new public space. As part of the regeneration, Islington Council in partnership with the Mayor of London, Transport for London and Hackney Council asked designers to consider how the street could look after the roundabout is removed. Four winning concepts have now been chosen from a long-list of 39 designers which included Zaha Hadid Architects and Es Devlin.

Paw-poulsen-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Designer Paw Poulsen turns celebrities such as Bill Gates and Elton John into typefaces

A portfolio including typefaces named after Bill Gates and Elton John is one that’s hard to ignore. Combine this with expertly designed specimens that are both accomplished and humorous and you’re onto a winner. For the Copenhagen-based designer, Paw Poulsen, the combination of popular culture, typography and print design has helped him define a distinctive aesthetic and tone of voice.

Non-verbal-club-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Non-Verbal Club's typography-heavy, sleek identity for Teatro Nacional de São Carlos

“We like to look at our practice as a balancing act between rationality and emotion,” states Porto-based graphic design studio, Non–Verbal Club. Comprised of Joana Sobral, Susana Almeida, João Martino and Miguel Almeida, the studio recently utilised this balancing act to create a beautifully sleek identity for Teatro Nacional de São Carlos.

Rave--benkopp-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Illustrator Ben Kopp’s nostalgia-drenched personal work

Ben Kopp is a name which will be recognised by keen followers of The Smudge, Clay Hickson’s politically-charged monthly riso newspaper which came into being at the same time that Donald Trump was elected as President. The Philadelphia-based illustrator was commissioned by the paper back in September for a feature written by Mary Hirsch.

Iggyldn-silk-film-itsnicethat-1_copy Work / Film Iggy Ldn's poignant new film Silk reclaims the essence of the jazz era in the 21st century

Iggy Ldn is a progressive, forward-thinking artist. His earlier films Fatherhood and Black Boys Don’t Cry challenged preconceptions of masculinity in the hope to combat pervasive black male stereotypes. But for his third venture, Silk, Iggy looked back to the jazz era for inspiration. “I think of it as a time where people weren’t so aware of themselves; their appearance and behaviours were less calculated and they were more natural in their self-expression,” Iggy tells It’s Nice That. His latest film is an unapologetic reminder to appreciate the present moment during a time of Instagram likes and Snapchat stories. It captures a young black man dressed in various impeccable outfits against a backdrop of draping, white silk and is accompanied by a series of striking photographs

Brian-blomerth-list Work / Publication Brian Blomerth illustrates a journey to "surf discovery" even though he's terrible at surfing

“Surfing is fun but I suck at it,” illustrator Brian Blomerth tells It’s Nice That. “I can stand up but that’s about it, and that took two years of hard work in this wetsuit I got off of Ebay for $15. The wetsuit looked disgusting. A classic surfer kerfuffle. So yes, I’m a poser. A kook. It’s fun to admit it… I kinda wish you didn’t have to actually surf because my favourite part is honestly just sitting out there bobbing up and down like an idiot. Splashing around and turning occasionally. I had a funny incident with a fish that kind of inspired this whole little book.”

Untitled32 Work / Photography Photographer Sam Gregg shoots the true face of Naples

“See Naples and die,” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe of Faust fame espoused in his book Italian Journey in 1786. Leaving behind his claustrophobic fame, his duties as Privy Councillor in the Duchy of Weimar and a long-term flirtation, Goethe, like many rich men of his day, travelled to Naples as part of a Grand Tour and found the city so beautiful, so opulent, that he knew that he would die without regret after visiting its shores. That and the fact that there was hella debauchery going on.

Nioikehai16list Work / Art Prolific artist Miroco Machiko’s animal menagerie

With distorted bodies, crossed eyes and friendly expressions, Miroco Machiko’s portfolio of animal illustrations is exactly the kind of zoo we can get behind. The Osaka-born, Tokyo-based artist and illustrator has an incredible knack for capturing the magic of the animal kingdom, her expressive brushstrokes and rainbow palette transforming even the most mundane creatures – moths for example – into glorious beasts.

Maxweinland-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Designer Max Weinland on sketchy news journals and his homage to the 1970s chopper

Max Weinland is an innovative Hamburg-based designer who has accumulated a wide-ranging portfolio. Max spends the majority of his time working as an art director at various design agencies as well as running the type foundry Riesling Type alongside Timo Durst. The rest of his time is spent freelancing, designing typefaces and teaching.

Si-weon-kim-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Graphic designer Si Weon Kim's side projects explore her culture, creating historical homages

“Like most people now in their 20s, I was raised by the internet. I was manipulating images as soon as I got my first computer,” says New York City-based graphic designer Si Weon Kim. Downloading Photoshop at a young age, Si Weon began making covers for her burned mix CDs at 11. She has now developed a subtle yet accomplished aesthetic, her early interactions with the internet still evident throughout her work, stating artists such as Sondra Perry as an inspiration.

Have-heart-will-anderson-animation-itsnicethat Work / Animation Will Anderson’s Bafta-nominated animation Have Heart follows a gif stuck in an infinite loop

After earning a Bafta nomination and winning best short at the British Animation Awards, Will Anderson has released his film Have Heart in full online. It follows a beleaguered animated gif as he endures an existential crisis, stuck in a loop on the internet. Visually simple yet profoundly innovative, the animation comments on a world of infinite content and how we measure our own self worth via social media, all through the character arc of its protagonist, Duck.

Smorgasbord-wihayo-soju-dylan-griffith-alcohol-packaging-graphic-design-itsnicethat-illustration-for-brand-film-list Work / Opinion Looking east: how Smörgåsbord designed a soju brand to work in Europe and Asia alike

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola announced it would produce its first ever alcoholic drink, an alco-pop to be launched solely in Japan. The idea is to tap into the lucrative market for chu-hi, canned fizzy drinks given a kick with a local spirit called shochu. The world’s largest soft drinks company making its move into this sector is significant, and symbolic of many other western brands trying their luck in the Asian alcohol world where huge brands such as Asahi, Kirin and Suntory already have a presence. But how do you design the branding and packaging for a product aimed at a firmly established market on the other side of the world, as well as back home? Here to enlighten us is Dylan Griffith, co-founder of Cardiff and Amsterdam-based design studio Smörgåsbord, which recently collaborated on the creation of the first European-made soju, Wihayo.

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