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Plexopolis: a series of games to educate and inform students on accomplished design

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Guang-yu-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Guang Yu on how everyday observations informs his design practice

A Black Cover Design is a creative studio based in Beijing, China, founded by Guang Yu and Nod Young in 2015. Guang and Nod’s award-winning practice works across branding, strategy and print design; most often with cultural institutions, universities, and art and design festivals. Recent work includes the identity for Shanghai’s first art book fair, Unfold; a poster campaign for AGI China; and printed matter and merchandise for Tokyo TDC Selected Artworks. We spoke to Guang about inspirations, problem-solving and why “suitable” is best.

Sam-jayne-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Sam Jayne's abstract and psychedelic design portfolio is inspired by nature

“My biggest reference is probably nature,” Washington DC-based designer and art director, Sam Jayne tells It’s Nice That. “Aside from its natural beauty and obvious visual impressiveness, I think there’s a certain weird magic that happens in my work when I manipulate natural elements using software and end up with this strange digital imagery that feels totally disconnected from anything remotely organic.”

Tsto-flowfestival-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Tsto returns to design Flow Festival's identity, pushing and playing with its typography

Back in 2011, Helsinki-based studio Tsto designed an identity for Flow Festival featuring a bold typographic treatment that has become synonymous with the festival’s name. Over the next five years the studio continued to roll out the festival’s identity under this visual language, before taking a three year break. 2018 marks Tsto back in the graphic design driving seat, and pushing the identity further seven years later from when it first sat down to do it.

Cecile-legnaghi-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Graphic designer Cécile Legnaghi questions the role of display and caption fonts in her practice

“The project was born from questioning the use of a typeface today, and its trends, especially concerning its body size,” explains Paris-based graphic and type designer Cécile Legnaghi of her diploma project. While studying at École Estienne, she became fascinated by designers’ choices to utilise display typefaces at caption size – and vice versa. In response, Cécile set out to design three of her own, with the intention of them being used in both contexts.

Ucl-gd-int-list Work / Graphic Design Plexopolis: a series of games to educate and inform students on accomplished design

Uniform, an independent creative agency based in Liverpool and London, has designed a series of board games to help students solve urban planning problems. A project brought to the agency by the mathematics department of University College London (UCL), Uniform has combined intelligent design and practical materials to create Plexopolis.

Xiaopeng-yuan-photography-itsnicethat-1 Work / Photography Photographer Xiaopeng Yuan draws on childhood memories of fruit markets in series for JNBY

“When I think of fruit, it reminds me of those large wholesale markets in small cities, like the ones I used to visit as a small child,” explains Shanghai-based photographer (and one-third of It’s Nice That Ones to Watch 2018, Same Paper) Xiaopeng Yuan. It was these memories that Xiaopeng drew from when shooting a recent campaign for Chinese fashion brand, JNBY.

List Work / Art Cleon Peterson's new exhibition Blood & Soil attacks American politics head on

Cleon Peterson’s powerful paintings challenge modern-day anxieties; directly criticising global and national politics. Blood & Soil, a title taken directly from a Nazi slogan, opens this Saturday at Over the Influence, LA. Moving from expressive nudes to figures in uniform, this exhibition observes Cleon attacking America’s here and now. Drawing from classical art forms, with his figures reminiscent of those created by the Greeks, the artist highlights how history never seems to progress — justice remains an unreachable ideal, law and order remains violent and corrupt. Concerned that we are slipping into a new form of fascism, Cleon has decided to speak up instead of remain silent. With their bold, uniform blocks of red, white and black, these threatening, ferocious paintings speak volumes.

Irma-boom-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Irma Boom’s new Viktor&Rolf tome for Phaidon “defies codes of bookness”

A perfect bundle of hot pink acetate, stacks of inverted fashion photography and different weights of paper stock, calling the new Phaidon title dedicated to theatrical Dutch fashion designers Viktor&Rolf a book seems something of a stretch. Designed by Irma Boom – the experimental publication specialist sometimes dubbed the “queen of books” – the tome called Cover Cover has been made from eight-page gatefolds, each of which represent a different Viktor&Rolf collection. Using different thicknesses of paper, the spreads have been layered on top of each other and hand-sewn with matching hot pink thread.

Jim-stoten Regulars / Friday Mixtape Friday Mixtape: Jim Stoten's soundtrack to his solo summer holiday

Happy Friday and happy Friday Mixtape day! As London swelters in a rare heatwave, Jim Stoten, also known by his job title leading name Jim the Illustrator, is off on a solo holiday to Spain. As Jim packs his swimming trunks, suncream and drawing equipment for a week of pondering, he’s also made us a mix that will soundtrack his summer holiday and maybe yours too.

Weapons_of_reason-food-int-02 Work / Publication Weapons of Reason's food issue is designed to inform, not preach, on systems that breed inequality

Weapons of Reason is a publishing project by design agency, Human After All. Edited by James Cartwright, each edition focuses on a particular issue – including power, megacities and the Arctic – and for the most recent edition, the focus is on food. The magazine tackles a variety of questions around our relationship to food, its production, and the corporations who control it. Here, It’s Nice That speaks to James about taking risks, trying to create change and how editing Weapons of Reason has impacted his own choices.

Hugh-kinsells-cunningham-photography-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Photography Hugh Kinsella Cunningham's photographs show the power and resilience of the Congo's Church

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a country whose Catholic Church is incredibly powerful, with unprecedented national reach compared to other organisations. It’s also a country in political turmoil, with President Joseph Kaliba refusing to stand down. In response to the country’s corrupt and violent government, the Church’s Priests have become symbols of peaceful protest, attempting to lead their people towards an untroubled transition of power.

Noon-list Work / Publication For Noon, joy lies in the quality and uniqueness of the final product

Since its conception Noon “has always set out to consider what it means to be alive today”, Jasmine Raznahan, founder and editor, tells It’s Nice That. The SS18 issue is based around joy; they asked collaborators who “they felt aligned conceptually with the concept” to respond to the theme via a series of different lenses: “purity, repose, intimacy, love, shame and details”. These abstract sub-headings are representative of the thoughtful style we typically associate with Noon; a magazine that succeeds in bringing together its contributors in a harmonious, critical whole. “Each of the lenses became a story”, Jasmine explains, “and each of the stories became one of sixteen parts that all explored a common theme”. The sections are threaded together beautifully, gathered in unison by text and image.

Antonedolezal-photography-itsnicethat-1 Features / Photography Antone Dolezal reimagines the narratives we construct to find meaning in life

The 21st century is often described as a secular age. Faith and superstition have, in many parts of the world, been replaced by science and reason. The traditional belief systems have been succeeded by a firm devotion to the technological advancements of Silicon Valley. Photographer Antone Dolezal is challenging this assumption. When television-viewers across America were following the disheartening 2016 elections, Antone travelled — and continues to travel — across the country’s Southwestern states to capture the spiritual communities of California and Nevada for his series, Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit.

Guang-yu-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Guang Yu on how everyday observations informs his design practice

A Black Cover Design is a creative studio based in Beijing, China, founded by Guang Yu and Nod Young in 2015. Guang and Nod’s award-winning practice works across branding, strategy and print design; most often with cultural institutions, universities, and art and design festivals. Recent work includes the identity for Shanghai’s first art book fair, Unfold; a poster campaign for AGI China; and printed matter and merchandise for Tokyo TDC Selected Artworks. We spoke to Guang about inspirations, problem-solving and why “suitable” is best.

Ab-dlc-list Work / Publication Atelier Bingo’s new storybook features "pure, expressive images" inspired by nature

Atelier Bingo, comprised of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, has illustrated a new children’s storybook for publishing house, Amaterra. Using its signature cut-out style, Atelier Bingo’s images are colourful, expressive and have stolen our imagination. “The book is about the sky from the height of a child”, the studio explains, “we show what they see — the sun, the stars, bees buzzing around flowers, the steam drawings planes make”.

Frieze-list Work / Art Frieze Sculpture 2018 proves the power of art in the public realm

The UK is experiencing a heatwave, and what better way to experience this warm, balmy weather than spending an evening wandering through one of London’s parks. Yesterday afternoon, It’s Nice That ventured down to Regent’s Park for the reception of Frieze Sculpture. With the summer’s heat lifting the scent of flowers into the surrounding air, and with members of the public already mingling amongst the works of art; it was instantly apparent the uplifting effect sculpture could have on a person.

List-image-locker-room Work / Art Locker room talk: Gray Wielebinski on appropriating the visual, spoken and body language of baseball

For their graduating exhibition at the Slade School of Fine Art, Gray Wielebinski turned the iconography and perception of baseball on its head, in an installation that creates what they describe as “a dream-like queer locker room setting”. A Dog Pees on Things for More than One Reason appropriates the visual codes of the sport to explore themes of “national identity – specifically in the USA, and Americana – desire, myth-making, sports, memory and childhood, fashion and masculinity”; and Gray describes the intention behind the work as being “to blur the lines between reality, memory, projection, hope and mainstream media representations, and to reconsider the framework for how the locker room occupies our cultural imaginations.”

Clifford-jago-bookshelf-itsnicethat-12 Regulars / Bookshelf "Shout out to Hannah Montana's forward-thinking design": Clifford Jago's Bookshelf

Clifford Jago is a stylist and self-confessed “messiah of fashion”. He’s also not real. The culmination of two photographers – who have chosen to remain anonymous – Clifford’s character, and resulting work, is a response to the modern culture of magazines in which publications have to shoot brands simply because they advertise with them.

Nicer-tuesdays-july-launch-list-img Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays Get tickets now for Nicer Tuesdays July

Tickets are now available for our next Nicer Tuesdays event, taking place on the evening of 31 July at Oval Space. Our speaker line-up this month features illustrator Nadine Redlich, animator Sophie Koko Gate and design studio Flat-e with our fourth speaker to be announced shortly.Nadine Redlich is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Dusseldorf and will be joining us for July’s Nicer Tuesdays to give an insight into her quick-witted illustrations. With a knack for turning uncomfortable feelings into simple yet altogether hilarious images, she has previously created work for The New York Times and Zeit magazine. Her talk will highlight how she turns the silliest and most embarrassing of moments into comic strips so relatable, they make you squirm. London-based animator and director Sophie Koko Gate graduated from the Royal College of Art and has been impressing with her immense illustrative skill ever since. Having worked for the likes of Google Pixel, Ace & Tate and Airbnb, Sophie’s work is intricate and accomplished, not to mention funny and ever so slightly weird. At this month’s event, she’ll be talking us through an animation for Adult Swim and performing a mini set with her band John Daker. To accompany Daniel Avery’s latest album Song for Alpha, London-based design studio Flat-e created a fully visual, merging and looping interpretation of the album spanning just over an hour. With a portfolio packed full of live show visuals for various musical artists, its this latest project that the studio will be telling us all about at this month’s event. As the album plays with exploring “the space in which home listening and club music intersect,” Flat-e will explain its response to this and how it created something which can be watched at home, or on a night out.

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