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MC Escher's career reimagined in blockbuster immersive exhibition designed by Nendo

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Design-museum-hope-to-nope-exhibition_illustration-jon-berkeley_cover-design-graeme-james_the-economist-cover-debasing-american-politics_itsnicethat Media Partnership / Graphic Design Hope to Nope: exploring the "pivotal" past decade of graphic design and politics

Contrary to its distinctly present-day focus, the Design Museum’s latest exhibition, Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18, started off as a historical retrospective. Curator Margaret Cubbage and designer of the show, GraphicDesign&’s Lucienne Roberts, discussed beginning in the 50s and 60s, but then Brexit happened. Then Trump. And what was immediately evident was the seismic creative response to global crises. “We suddenly felt there was an urgency to respond to this,” Margaret tells It’s Nice That. “How pivotal graphic design had become to political movements, and how diverse and rich and democratic it was.”

21-vdm-nightfever-%e2%88%8f-courtesyofbenkelly_list Work / Exhibition A Vitra Design Museum exhibition shows the hedonistic history of nightclub design

As many middle-aged men will tell you at length, clubbing ain’t what it used to be. Looking through the exhibits from new show Night Fever: Designing Club Culture, which is due to open at the Vitra Design Museum near Basel later this month, it seems (much as it pains us to say it) that they might have a point. Are you, for example, dancing in clubs under storeys-high Keith Haring murals or dipping in a Philippe Starck-designed pool or receiving party invites in mousetraps complete with a slice of cheese? No, us neither. And if you are, sort us a slot on the guest list alright?

Enlarge-your-memories-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Jamie Allan Shaw offers an alternative to the one-sided relationship between creatives and magazines

“A lot of my friends and colleagues who work in the fashion and photography industry have always felt at the mercy of the larger magazines, it’s a strained and one-sided relationship which frequently lets down the people who work hard (and spend their own money) to make their content,” states designer and publisher Jamie Allan Shaw. In response to the numerous stories of editorials being cut short in favour of a celebrity photographer or an endorsement, Jamie decided to offer an alternative in the form of Enlarge Your Memories.

Matterlurgy-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Exhibition Exhibition Silver Sehnsucht unlocks nostalgia's past, present and future

“Sometimes you can be nostalgic for what is yet to come. A strange feeling of longing for a future yet unknown," or so argue London-based curator trio Mara-Johanna Kolmel, Silvana Lagos and Rafael Schacter from the collective Approved by Pablo. That feeling is encapsulated neatly in the German word ‘sehnsucht’, a word which lacks clear definition in English but was termed by C. S. Lewis as “That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”

Petersaville-unknownpleasures-truefaith-exhibition-itsnicethat-list Features / Exhibition “It’s pop culture that has educated this country”: Peter Saville on Manchester’s True Faith exhibition

“The influence of this is in everything,” says Peter Saville gesturing at his sleeve designs for Factory Records, alongside a wealth of work inspired by Joy Division and New Order. “It transcends music completely. It’s in every gallery you go to, it’s in every fashion collection, the influence of this,” he says again looking around him, “has spread through everything.”

Jack-latham-itsnicethat-list-2 Work / Photography Jack Latham uses photography to explore stories untold

“I’ve always used photography as an excuse to explore things I wouldn’t normally,” documentary photographer Jack Latham tells It’s Nice That. “To date, I’ve made work exploring the remnants of the Oregon Trail, tracking down my childhood pen pal in Sierra Leone, and investigating an alleged double homicide in Iceland, in which 6 innocent people were convinced they were the ones that committed the act. The stories I’ve heard are all incredible in their own way.”

Jay-vaz-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Designer Jay Vaz combines his love of music and analogue art in a colourful and textural portfolio

For 20-year-old Londoner Jay Vaz, music and design have always been inexplicably linked. His early years, exposed to “amazing jazz and soul music” has influenced and informed his career which sees him producing music and DJing as well as creating visual matter for gigs, nights and festivals. Jay’s portfolio is packed full of exciting and vibrant work, made all the more impressive when you consider how young he is.

Joey-yu-wilson-oryema-earth-day-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Joey Yu and Wilson Oryema create a paperless zine for Earth Day

When one of It’s Nice That’s illustrator-loves Joey Yu posted about a “paperless” zine she had worked on with poet and model Wilson Oryema for Earth Day it’s fair to say we were more than a little intrigued. Joey – who has rapidly made waves in the creative-sphere as an illustrator, animator and curator through projects with the likes of Nike and pieces featured in independent publications such as Hard Ears – has been on our radar for a while now and as It’s Nice That love to actively celebrate pro-environmental causes and innovative work, a zine both paperless and with the aim of being a “gentle reminder to be gentle to our home” had us sold.

Lukaswassmann-garagemagazine-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Lukas Wassmann turns his lens on the well-groomed animals of the Swiss Alps

The majority of upscale fashion campaigns feature the same supermodels again and again – or rather, feature Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid again and again. However, Berlin-based photographer Lukas Wassmann’s shoots do not. In Lukas’ latest series for Garage Magazine, he turns his lens on the well-groomed goats, pigs and chickens of the Swiss Alps, all of which are accessorised in the most expensive jewellery money can buy.

Virgileflores-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-13list Work / Graphic Design Graphic designer Virgile Flores on custom typefaces and visualising statistics

Paris-based graphic designer Virgile Flores is a typeface specialist. Two of his latest text-heavy projects, the immaculate Twelve Angry Men publication and the sleek Pirelli typeface, are just the tip of his font fascination. Design, however, wasn’t always on the cards for Virgile who completed his undergraduate degree in sports studies. After realising that athletics weren’t for him, Virgile took a year out of education to reconsider his choices only to return to university to study graphic design. “I started focusing on type design last year. I felt that I needed to be better equipped at choosing typefaces for my projects. I also wanted to create my own letters and customise existing ones for logotypes. There is a real synergy between graphic and type design. It is also very satisfying to use text that has been drawn by yourself,” Virgile tells It’s Nice That. 


Samtaylor-worldcup-giphy-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Sam Taylor's World Cup gifs portray “the agony and the ecstasy” of the game

Illustrator Sam Taylor has created a collection of football fanatic gifs for Giphy ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Pitching the idea to Giphy himself after working with them previously, the opportunity developed when the illustrator noticed that “there weren’t really that many good football gifs in their database to put in my Instagram stories,” he tells It’s Nice That. “So I wanted to create a set a remedy this.” A green light from Giphy soon followed and now his set is available to use!

Schick-toikka-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Schick Toikka's beautifully designed (and printed) collaborative celebration of its fifth birthday

What better way could there be to celebrate the fifth anniversary of your the foundry than to release a beautifully designed (and printed) collaborative look back at the work you’ve created so far? In Merged Contours this is exactly what type design duo, Florian Schick and Lauri Toikka have done, with the help of nine of their favourite designers, illustrators and artists.

Braulioamado-2017-publication-2itsnicethat-list Work / Publication In celebration of his new book 2017, Bráulio Amado picks out the work he loves from last year

“I first met Bráulio as an international exchange student in my class at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, which I taught with John Fulbrook,” reads Pentagram’s Luke Hayman’s introduction at the start of Bráulio’s Amado’s latest book, 2017. “Bráulio was possibly one of the most enthusiastic students we taught during my seven years at the school. Certain students come with a commitment and eagerness that makes teaching worthwhile and benefits the whole class. He did well.”

Claire-matthews-itsnicethat-list Work / Opinion Environmental Activism: Why We Need To Shake Up the Visual

Graphic designer Claire Matthews founded independent campaign group Clean Air Now alongside Vasilisa Forbes in 2016. Clean Air Now advocate for positive environmental change in London and across the UK, through billboards, subverts, videos and street art placement.

Charlottedumortier-elcaf2018-illustration-itsnicethat-list Media Partnership / Illustration Charlotte Dumortier on her identity for this year's ELCAF and what she's looking forward to most

From 22 — 24 June a global range of illustrators and comic artists will descend on London, filling The Round Chapel and The School Rooms in Hackney for the annual East London Comics and Arts Festival. 2018 marks the seventh edition of ELCAF, a weekend packed with a programme of talks, workshops, masterclasses, screenings, installations and exhibitions, as well as some of the world’s most exciting illustration focused artists selling their goods too. Tickets are now available in advance of the weekend in June and more information is available here.

Google-fonts-korean-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Digital Google Fonts Korean becomes interactive by manipulating path data

Initially launched in 2010, Google Fonts is an online collection of fonts available for designers and web developers to embed on their websites, for free. Until very recently, the collection was unable to support Korean. However, Google has now devised a more efficient means of serving Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) font files, which have very large character sets, resulting in large file sizes.

Lois-cohen-indiana-roma-voss-metamorphosis-photography-itsnicethat-3list Work / Photography Photography series Metamorphosis reimagines iconic female characters as 21st-century women

We don’t remember reading the part that depicts the Virgin Mary as a tattooed matriarch with a nose ring and knuckle dusters? Or the painting that shows Venus to be a body-building athlete with groomed hair down her legs? These representations may not have made it into our history books, but Amsterdam and London-based photographer Lois Cohen and New York and Amsterdam-based stylist Indiana Roma Voss have given the female protagonists centerstage in their latest series Metamorphosis. Together the duo reimagine female archetypes from a range of geographical areas and cultures and place them in recognisable contexts in order to transform them into 21st century women.

Nationalgeographic-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication National Geographic’s creative director Emmet Smith on the publication’s redesign

A long-established and highly respected staple of the newsstands, National Geographic, has been redesigned for its May issue. Released on 24 April, the rethink of the magazine and “the most significant overhaul of content and design since 2000,” builds upon the magazine’s successes, creating even more exploratory visual storytelling. Debuting new paper stock, design, updated sections and specially created typefaces, the redesign is revealed at a time when the publication has a particularly strong reputation and readership.

Leonmark-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photograhy Leon Mark’s refined and infinitely stylish photography

Leon Mark’s photographs are refined, graceful and infinitely stylish. The London-based photographer has worked with the likes Vogue Italia and Chanel, cementing his name across the fashion industry. This is partly due to Leon’s ability to capture the distinct personalities of his sitters, extracting their idiosyncrasies with his lens. “I got into photography by studying film and cinema. I’ve always been interested in fashion and art so I started to focus more on the mise en scène of cinema which pushed me towards photography. That, in turn, let me to fashion photography,” Leon tells It’s Nice That. Working mainly across Europe and the US, Leon shoots both film and digital, and is currently working on short fashion films.

Hichamamrani-svendandxanax-illustration-itsnicethat-10list Work / Illustration A peek inside Hicham Amrani's trippy new comic Svend & Xanax

“I have been drawing since I was little. I wasn’t very attentive in class – like most creatives I know – so I would spend the time drawing in my notebooks instead. My parents ended up enrolling me in drawing classes to calm me down,” Strasbourg-based illustrator Hicham Amrani tells It’s Nice That. This instinctive creative energy Hicham describes clearly manifests itself in his busy, dynamic drawings. His latest project Svend & Xanax tells the humorous tale of Svend, the protagonist, who takes a strong Xanax only to be transported to a surreal, at times disorientating, world. Hicham even compares Svend to “the Joker in Batman” saying, “the more I drew, the darker the story became.”

Tom-fisher-catherine-prowse-the-need-to-be-alone-the-school-of-life-film-itsnicethat-list Work / Film Rod puppets in intricate felt sets profess The Need to Be Alone for Alain de Botton

Not long out of Kingston’s Illustration and Animation course, Tom Fisher and Catherine Prowse have directed a charming and impressively detailed short film for The School of Life, made entirely from hand-stitched felt. Featuring a cast of rod puppets shot in a live action format, The Need to Be Alone stars a red-spectacled, introverted protagonist called Alan – a tribute to its writer and narrator Alain de Botton. Throughout the film, Alan navigates a series of potentially awkward social scenarios as Alain professes the importance of having time alone to process these interactions.

Art-of-shinkansen-furze-chan-japan-rail-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation The Art of Shinkansen animated gif series celebrates the Japanese bullet train

The Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) has launched a series of 15 short gif animations by various Japanese and international artists to celebrate the bullet train or Shinkansen. The Art of Shinkansen project heralds the iconic trains’ perpetual movement, innovative technology and impeccable service, specifically the original line joining Tokyo and Osaka, in an eclectic range of animated artworks spanning illustration styles and subject matter.

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