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Local Characters: Anna Kulachek, Astrid Stavro and Jimmy Turrell create bespoke posters based on their tailored typefaces

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00_fs_image_template_list Partnership / Fontsmith: Local Characters Local Characters: Fontsmith founder Jason Smith on collaboration through typography

For Jason Smith, the founder of Fontsmith, a love for lettering has grown since his student years. At the age of 21, Jason graduated from Reigate School of Art and following an internship at Monotype, he headed to London. With £50 a week in his back pocket from the Prince’s Trust, Jason settled into a studio space and began to bulk out his portfolio. At this time, Jason was “one of the youngest people creating lettering in London,” he explains. “And I was also doing it digitally which was kind of unheard of.” While at a job at Wagstaffs, designing packaging for brands such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, Jason was being regularly commissioned to create typefaces. He took a leap and set up Fontsmith, a forward-thinking type foundry with traditional attributes.
As a company, Fontsmith’s ethos has always been to retain a bespoke element in order to create typefaces with craftsmanship. Still a small company of just seven, they are not corporate, but have the ability to provide corporate work. Jason modestly names brands they have worked with over the years: an initial few projects with the Post Office which led to creating E4’s launching logo and typeface, “which led to Channel 4, Film4, BBC, then ITV and Sky News. It was going really well and all the while I was designing my own typefaces also”.

00_fs_image_template_list Partnership / Fontsmith: Local Characters Local Characters: Jimmy Turrell creates a bespoke typeface inspired by Newcastle’s Byker Wall

This winter It’s Nice That commissioned three creatives to explore the broader possibilities of type, in partnership with Fontsmith. The result is Local Characters, a series of posters and typefaces inspired by each creative’s hometown. In our third article of the series, illustrator and designer Jimmy Turrell has designed a bespoke typeface in collaboration with Fontsmith on the Byker Wall, a council estate where he grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Fs_image_template-list Partnership / Fontsmith: Local Characters Local Characters: Anna Kulachek typographically depicts her hometown of Moscow

This winter It’s Nice That commissioned three creatives to explore the broader possibilities of type, in partnership with Fontsmith. The result is Local Characters, a series of posters and typefaces to showcase the effective use of Brandfont, a service that enables brands to create exclusively licensed typefaces. In the first of the series, graphic designer and art director Anna Kulachek uses an existing Fontsmith typeface to depict her hometown of Moscow.

List Partnership / Fontsmith: Local Characters Local Characters: Anna Kulachek, Astrid Stavro and Jimmy Turrell create bespoke posters based on their tailored typefaces

Following on from It’s Nice That’s partnership Local Characters with London-based type foundry Fontsmith in the winter of 2017, we’re excited to announce that the typefaces will now be available to purchase — with a special set of posters by the designers involved; Anna Kulachek, Astrid Stavro and Jimmy Turrell. Anna, for instance, used an existing Fontsmith typeface to represent Moscow, while Astrid was briefed to modify a library font to represent Trieste, and Jimmy developed a concept for an entirely new custom font as an ode to his hometown Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Ikea_itsnicethat_future_of_design_personalisation_for_the_masses_tom_dixon_marcus_engman_bethany_koby_kirsty_emery Features / Sponsored Content Personalisation for the masses: Tom Dixon, Marcus Engman, Bethany Koby and Kirsty Emery discuss the future of design

We’re living in a culture where everything we consume and interact with can be tailored to our personal needs, and this expectation for the customisation of our lives and surroundings has – in recent years – found its way to our possessions. But what does the rise of personalisation mean for design? How does it change our products and the design process behind them? Last night It’s Nice That and IKEA hosted The Future of Design: How Personalisation is on the rise for the mass audience, a panel discussion exploring the topic, featuring four experts in the field: Marcus Engman, Head of Design for IKEA; designer Tom Dixon; Technology Will Save Us co-founder Bethany Koby; and Unmade co-founder Kirsty Emery. Each has expertise from sectors spanning toys, fashion, furniture and product design, and exciting insights to share on where this rapidly changing market might be taking us next.

Itsnicethat_kontrast_timokuilder Work / Illustration Timo Kuilder launches Kontrast, an illustrated mobile puzzle game

Illustrator Timo Kuilder has launched Kontrast, an illustrated puzzle game for mobile that invites interaction with his works and “blurs the lines between game and illustration” he says. Featuring his signature clean-cut lines and block colours, the monochromatic artwork animates through interaction as the player navigates the maze of seven illustrations. The game was conceived by the Amsterdam-based illustrator with interaction design and coding by his brother Jurre Kuilder, developed independently as a side project by the duo, with sound design by Ambrose Yu.

Keith_haring_60th_birthday_celebration_art_itsnicethat Features / Art Celebrating the life, work and enduring legacy of Keith Haring on his 60th birthday

Keith Haring’s life, and New York’s Downtown Scene, and perhaps culture as a whole changed in 1980 when Andy Warhol and the art dealer Tony Shafrazi strolled into the basement of Club 57, which neither had ever stepped foot into before, and which Haring had filled with hundreds of drawings in gold and silver magic marker. It was the night of his opening. “We were all buzzing,” recalls Kim Hastreiter, who would soon afterwards found Paper magazine, “‘UH OH,’ ‘What are THEY doing here?’ We were suspicious and in a sense excited and sad at the same time – because that night it felt like our amazing secret world Downtown was being invaded and discovered and wouldn’t be the same again.” In many ways she was right. But first of all, Haring would be catapulted into the limelight.Warhol invited him to his Factory for lunch and they soon became good friends; Haring kept Warhol up to date with 80s youth culture, and Warhol in turn introduced him to the glittering world of celebrity and success. In 1982, Haring had his breakthrough solo show at Tony Shafrazi’s illustrious gallery on Mercer Street. The following year, he collaborated with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren on their autumn/winter 1983 Witches collection, and Madonna wearing a leather jacket he hand-painted to perform Like a Virgin on Top of the Pops. In 1985, he drew graffiti all over Grace Jones’ naked body for her live shows at Paradise Garage. He was at the heart of both modern art and pop culture, which is exactly where he wanted to be. Had he not passed away of AIDS-related complications in 1990, aged 31, Keith Haring would be celebrating his 60th birthday today – which makes this a good moment to consider his life and his legacy.“I arrived in New York at a time when the most beautiful paintings being shown in the city were on wheels, on trains,” he once said, remembering coming to the city in 1978, “paintings that travelled to you instead of vice versa.” But rather than copying the Wild Style graffiti artists, Haring found a different way of working underground. Noticing one day that unsold advertising spaces on the New York City subway were filled with plain black paper, he ran up the stairs to Times Square, bought some white chalk, ran back underground and began drawing in his trademark language of comic figures and squiggles. Before long, he had made thousands of drawings – up to 40 a day – as he rode the subways across the five boroughs, to and from school, work, clubs, parties and cruising spots. His works would be seen by a colossal number of people every day, and because they were so often replaced, he had to keep coming up with fresh new ideas continually.Haring loved the subway, with all its advertising posters, painted trains and flows of people, and also loved the secret Downtown, the hidden world of metropolitan fucking and clubbing. He loved dancing the night away at now legendary dives like Club 57, Paradise Garage and the Mudd Club, or cruising public bathhouses, or the backrooms of S/M orgy clubs like the Anvil, for the kind of sex that wasn’t so readily available back home in rural Pennsylvania. “He suddenly popped out like a flower, like a seed in that cauldron of energy: New York City,” Timothy Leary once said about Haring, “and he put all his remarkable energy together – the wall, the easel, the canvas, the pigment… it’s a dance!” The city’s nightlife, with all its joie de vivre, its shuddering, intertwined bodies and explosions of colour, was where he found his inspiration but also, in those hardcore early years, before the dangers of AIDs became so well known, and before he became such a prominent advocate of safe sex, that Haring contracted the HIV that would eventually lead to his death. In a classical tragic trajectory, New York is what made Keith Haring and also what killed him, all in the space of just over a decade.His deep love for nightclubs, and for black and Latino culture, and everything around them, was also a huge inspiration for Haring. In that sense, his legacy can be seen in the practices of younger artists like Eddie Peake: who makes bright, graffiti-inspired work, and takes much of his inspiration from gay culture, black culture, club culture and pirate radio culture, and who strips his performers naked and covers them in paint, like Haring and Grace Jones. But of course he’s just one of many artists continuing Haring’s legacy in their own way.

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