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The International Science Council gets a new brand identity

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Ucl-gd-int-6 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.

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.

Thinkpiece-image-list Work / Opinion Arts cuts are bad for our health – what are we going to do about it?

Jodie Cariss works as part of Forever Curious, a creative initiative set up to work with local east London primary schools. One of the many things they offer is a series of “buddy up” sessions, where industry professionals share stories with a view to make them come to life. Below, Cariss writes how increasingly important it is that these initiatives exist in a climate where cuts are rife and asks: What next for a generation let down by state funding for the arts?

The world feels messy. Politically unstable. A growing sense of slowly mounting chaos and fear over the unknown. One of the UK’s worst-hit areas is the education system. Teachers are leaving in droves. The National Audit Office has tasked mainstream schools with making £3 billion in savings by 2019 – that’s around £800 per pupil. Nearly a quarter of the teachers who qualified since 2011 have already quit the job.

Inevitably, money for creativity and the arts within the curriculum has been fiercely reduced, in some areas to non-existence. Our schools are facing a scarcity of teachers – or at least, many with depleted energy after meeting growing demands – and art cupboards with just one ream of A4 paper for 900 students. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in a Hackney school.

So what happens to a generation of young people, particularly the 4.1 million who are classed as underprivileged, with limited opportunities at home, and fewer at school?

There will be a rise in adolescents with behavioural issues, leading to a less mentally-well adult generation. We know creativity has a direct correlation to the way we feel and how we express emotion, and poor mental health is already on the rise, with one in four people experiencing a problem each year.
Without sounding like the doctor of doom, the education crisis will pave the way for social and creative regression. Why? Because creativity is fundamental to the way we understand the world, form and keep relationships and develop our own sense of self. The ability to create, which begins in early development as play and forms the foundation of the way we find meaning in later life, is essential for a balanced and stimulated generation.

Mariaramos-picnic-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration María Ramos' illustrations turn picnic food into an assortment of cheeky characters

While we’re constantly surprised (and pleased) by the oddly-elongated bout of sunny days we’re experiencing here in England, long days of sun are a regular occurrence for Spanish illustrator María Ramos. There’s nothing better than a picnic on days like this, and María agrees, illustrating a lunch full of character in her latest book, Picnic.

Islnd-british_arts-council-brief-int-3-list Partnership / British Council: Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 “Create a flag which represents your own Island”: explore culture through design in our latest Insta brief

We’ve teamed up with the British Council to create a design brief that explores the themes surrounding Island: The British Pavilion presentation commissioned by the British Council for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Turkina-faso-photography-itsnicethat-15 Work / Photography Turkina Faso's cover story for Odiseo issue 12 explores our skin as a uniform

“Evoking thoughts of conformity and lack of change, but also the sensation of equality and unity, issue 12 explores the significance of patterns, and the need for belonging,” reads the editor’s letter of the latest issue of contemporary erotic magazine, Odiseo, published by Folch. Focussed around a central question: “Who are you when you are alone, and who are you with others?” – the issue is dedicated to uniformity, “shaped into a publication”.

Its-nice-that-caitlin-mccarthy_list Work / Animation Meet Caitlin McCarthy and her cute (and sometimes gross) animations

Throughout Caitlin McCarthy’s creative career she has jumped between disciplines, analogue tools and digital programmes. Studying illustration at Camberwell, “which I chose because I loved drawing,” Caitlin then “somehow finished up my degree trying to be a fine artist, making giant silicone ham slices” she tells It’s Nice That. Immediately after graduation, literally just a few days, she went back to drawing and was an illustrator. Now… Caitlin’s an animator!

Moon-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication From magazine worshipper to publisher: a chat with Moon’s founder Verity Pemberton

When Verity Pemberton, the founding editor of Moon magazine, was a teenager, her bedroom walls had a similar wallpaper to many other magazine makers. They were repeatedly pasted with ripped out centrefolds. “My brother used to write for i-D and The Face so I was looking at all those magazines from a young age,” she tells us. “I think when you pick up the right kind of magazine it can really speak to you — with Moon I just wanted to be able to make my creative ideas into a reality and also be able to share the people I find inspiring.”

Ucl-gd-int-6 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.

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