Nice Magazine: A plan (already behind), the selection of objects and the slow move in a positive direction

Every good project starts with a well-laid plan. Team Nicework set out with a collaborative, agile planning session. We broke the project down into epics and task. You can even see the original publish date of February 2018.

“Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face” — Mike Tyson

2018 has already been a busy year for Nicework and our time has been swallowed with branding precincts, developing learning content and adding Service design to our offering.

Undeterred by our current missed deadline, we moved onto the first step in the plan. Select the objects that will tell the studio’s story. This is essentially the process of sifting through all the objects that have clung to every available flat surface in the studio.

As a side note, this was being done at the same time a server migration, which you can see covered in a sample of objects.
Because we believe in collaboration we lured Leigh-Anne into the studio to help us to art direct and photograph the objects we had selected. Not all the selected objects made the cut.

Some of our favourite rejected objects are:

  • A Reebok sneaker key ring from the launch at the Alexander Theatre
  • An iron patch from Paul Sahre collected at Design Indaba in 2010
  • A cricket ball?
  • A bucket of mixed shot glasses from a myriad of Notworking parties
  • A snow globe that has not only gone cloudy but also has a fallen Santa

Keep an eye on our Instagram account for the objects that made it into the photo shoot. Our next steps are to select the final objects, loop in some of the Nicework Alumni to contribute and relook the masthead which is in need of a refresh since our rebrand.

Catch up on past issues of the Nice Magazine here

Follow along with the open redesign of the Magazine here or on Instagram

I would love to hear your thoughts on the process so far.

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Nice Magazine: An open archaeological design exploration

Having been in the design world for nearly two decades, I have identified a few simple signs that a creative company has been around for a while. The first, a collection of ageing or dead Macintoshs, usually accompanied by some sort of grumble that “they don’t make these like they used to.”. The second is far more interesting to me. I’m talking about the Design Detritus, a collection of objects that have accumulated in any creative studio. Each object is a mark of time from either some long delivered design job, a studio mate who has moved on to greener pastures or from some failed side project that never reached the shining hope of its potential. These objects that make up the detritus are filled with stories from the events of the past, a physical signature of passing time. They are essentially historical artefacts of the studio’s history. Nicework celebrated its 11th Birthday on the 4th of February 2018, we have some wonderful things to explore.

“…as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold — everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment — an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by — I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.” ― Howard Carter, Tomb of Tutankhamen

Stories have always been important in the work we do. Storytelling can take you on a journey that inspires you to learn about yourself and the world around you. It can reflect social values in a culture that motivate people. Stories have been used to interpret the universe, resolve natural and physical phenomena, teach morals, maintain cultural values, pass on methods of survival and to find meaning. We are interested in telling the story of our studio using the objects that have accumulated on the flat surfaces of Nicework. Can we graphically inspect a series of objects in a way that is both interesting to the viewer but also satisfying to the people of Nicework in the way that looking at memorabilia from your past is?

Nicework has been creating the Nice Magazine on and off (if we are being truly honest it is more off than on) for the last 7 years. We had grand ideas to launch this issue to celebrate our 10 year birthday but as you can see by the publish date of this article that we have fallen well behind on this task. We are going to go on an archaeological dig of sorts over the next two (probably six) months where we collect the objects around the studio, extract their stories and explore them in a variety of ways. The resulting document will be a snapshot of a few moments in the history of a company that has spanned 11 years, 32 people, hundreds of design briefs and many thousands of cups of tea.

We are going to share the process of creating the next issue of the magazine in an experiment in open design. You will be able to see how we plan, process and deliver a passion project while being completely inundated with client briefs and short deadlines. We are going to collaborate with some of the Nicework alumni, convince the production team to participate and create something beautiful. If you are interested, follow along with the links below:

Catch up on past issues of the Nice Magazine here

Follow along with the open redesign of the Magazine here or on Instagram

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The Vignelli Canon

I recently re-listened to this podcast featuring the late Massimo Vignelli, best-known for creating the iconic New York City subway map, discusses intellectual elegance, education, love, the pitfalls of marketing, and his long career in design.

I urge you to download the  Vingelli Canon a concise bible of his approach to designing just about anything. This is a must-read for any designer. Enjoy.

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Case Study: Virgin Money Insurance Price Freeze

We were approached by Network BBDO to create animated inserts of a 30 second TV commercial for Virgin Money Insurance.

Our Challenge: a collage-type look that gave the feeling of information collected from different sources. This meant designing and animating in 6 different styles. Our favourite, the eight-bit video style designed on a grid and animated with traditional cell animation.

At the end of the project, all the styles and filmed footage were composited seamlessly.

Have a watch:





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Case Study – The Telkom Story

Our friends at Blue Moon invited us to work with them on bringing the Telkom Story to life. We had some fun taking a regular 2D car and making it 3D. Watch the video below to see how we tackled the project.

Get in touch if you want to explore the 4th dimension with us

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21-Year-Old WWII Soldier’s Sketchbooks Show War Through The Eyes Of An Architect

Victor Lundy was a 21-year-old architecture student when he enrolled in the military in WWII. But instead of giving up on his creative side, the soldier decided to document events on the battlefield that he was present in, in a series of sketchbooks. In these sketchbooks, he recorded everything from fallen soldiers, air raids, and beach landing crafts, to more relaxed scenarios such as soldiers resting or playing games.

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Korean Artist Watercolors Cities She Visits

Artist, graphic designer and illustrator Sunga Park has been travelling the world. Where most of us put our feet up and relax she has been creating soothing watercolour paintings of architecture that she admires during her stay in each location.

Hamberg, Germany


Ayasofia, Istanbul

Zagreb, Croatia

Harrods, London

Tom Gates, Oxford

View the rest of her journey here


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