October 21, 2014

The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories

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Another day, another post, another intern. Today’s intern is Andrea – a third year Graphic Design student at the University of Johannesburg. She loves the beautiful and vibrant city of Johannesburg, (lots of) Fairtrade coffee, and the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is a trilogy collection of poetic short stories, no more than a few lines long. Each haiku-like tale is paired with a thoughtful, hand-drawn illustration. It is compiled by owner and founder of the online collaborative production company hitRECordJoseph Gordon-Levitt and, one of their curators, the ever-illusive Wirrow. hitRECord is self-described as “an open collaborative production company”. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, video editors, animators, illustrators, photographers, and Photo-shoppers all work together and the profits are split 50/50 between the company and the contributing artists.


These books are pure joy. They bring together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size. Some stories will make you chuckle. Some will break your heart, just a little. Others simply remind you to stop and smell the roses. But don’t just take my word for it. Let these extracts speak for themselves.

Volume 1

The first of the Tiny Stories, published in 2010, contains contributions of over 8,600 submissions from 67 writers and artists.

Tiny-Stories Tiny-Stories Tiny-Stories


Volume 2

Published in November 2012, Volume 2 features 62 contributors from some 14,946 contributions.

Tiny_Stories2 Tiny_Stories2 Tiny_Stories2 Tiny_Stories2


Volume 3

Volume 3 was published on November 5, 2013, featuring 82 contributors from 35,905 contributions.

Tiny_Stories3 Tiny_Stories3 Tiny_Stories3 Tiny_Stories3

Filled with wonder, nonsense, and tiny stories, these books are a delight to page through and treasure. As Dr Seuss states: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities”.

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October 20, 2014

Getting Physical

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Happy Monday, everyone!

Today, things went pear-shaped at our offices – we arrived in the morning to find that the power was out. Whilst uprooting our lives and all our equipment to temporarily move Nicework into Ben’s house (which contained three lazy cats and a lot of delicious pasta), I had fair bit of time to mull over how much easier (and messier, maybe) our jobs would be without the need for electricity and computers. On that note, take a look at some of this fun and beautiful hand-tooled design and illustration work.


Lumbürr co. by Ben Johnston and Mark Simmons




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October 17, 2014

CreativeMornings Johannesburg: Crossover | Graeme Jenner

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s a little nugget of excitement to start your weekend off on the right note – a speaker announcement!

The speaker for October’s CreativeMornings session is Graeme Jenner – art director, agency co-founder and owner of four excellent nipples. He will be discussing “Making Everyone Happy“, and you can see him speak on the 31st of October (spoopy!), venue TBC.


If you’d like to stay in the loop about CreativeMornings Johannesburg, you can make use of these handy-dandy newfangled social mediaz:

CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Facebook
CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Twitter
CreativeMornings Johannesburg site
or just subscribe to our newsletter!

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October 16, 2014

CreativeMornings Johannesburg: Crossover

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Good morning, y’all!

As some of our more astute followers may have noticed from our shiny Facebook banner, the theme for October’s talk is Crossover. It was lovingly selected by the Utrecht chapter, and beautifully illustrated by London-based artist João Lauro Fonte.

As always, watch this space for more exciting details!


If you’d like to stay in the loop about CreativeMornings Johannesburg, you can make use of these handy-dandy newfangled social mediaz:

CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Facebook
CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Twitter
CreativeMornings Johannesburg site
or just subscribe to our newsletter!


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October 16, 2014

Crafty Hand Lettering & Typography

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Have a look at this little piece of insight gathered and written by our handsome intern, Wade Moonsamy:

Graphic Inadequacy: The feeling I get when I comes across a hand crafted logotype or typographic treatment in a two second gif on the Internet. This is a real thing and after trying and crying, I have come to the conclusion that my hands were not made for creating amazingly slick and perfectly crafted hand lettering – just yet!

These are a few designers who are achieving greatness with a few flicks of the wrist.

Neil Secretario is a designer who lives and works in Orange County, California. He is extremely passionate about typography and collaboration.

Trademark brush pen lettering by Neil Secretario Custom Made brush pen lettering by Neil Secretario Cash Rules brush pen tracing draft by Neil Secretario


Andrei Robu is a brand designer who specializes in type lettering. He is the founder of Typeverything, Designers go to heaven and Calligraphica and boasts a client list that includes Coca- Cola, Nike and Nestle.

brooklyn map robu Under Ground Charisma robu-type1


Melvin Leidelmeijer is a Dutch graphic designer and hand letterer. His portfolio is over flowing with brilliantly designed typographic treatments and craftsmanship of the highest level.

You're the Inspiartion tumblr_nc7tspvDvE1roiwcso1_1280 Instagram Brush pen


Jennet Liaw is a 23-year-old designer who resides in Los Angeles. She is a passionate visual artist with a portfolio that consists of beautiful, conceptual and purely considered design solutions. Jennet has an exceptional eye and a skill for producing personal and considered hand lettering artworks.

Hypography Surthrive Someday


If you enjoyed reading this post, have a look at how Nicework approaches Typographic treatments:

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October 14, 2014

Four graphic designers at the forefront of typographic book cover design.

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For the next two weeks at Nicework we have 4 amazing interns hanging out with us, so we’ve ask them to help contribute to the blog! This post was written by one of them. His name is Conor and he is a third year graphic design student studying at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a ballroom dancing enthusiast and tames grizzly bears in his spare time.

We all know the feeling that you get when you’re strolling down the fiction aisle with your head in the clouds and suddenly a little burst of aesthetic pulls you back to reality. Fantastically designed book covers do this. 70% of the battle of sales is won by the striking image presented on top of the story and these four designers use impeccably placed typography to lock this science down.


Jessica Hische

Jessica Hische is an American letterer and illustrator. Her client list is riddled with giants such as The New York Times, Victoria’s Secret, Penguin Books, Nike and Wes Anderson.





Iacopo Bruno

Iacopo Bruno is an illustrator and graphic designer living in Milan, Italy. He utilizes the combination of illustration and typography to take average book covers and transform them into amazing works of art.





Jim Tierney

Jim Tierney is an illustrator working from Brooklyn, NY. His illustration skill places most of its efforts on hand lettering and his use of colour and space work together to create something special in his designs.





Jon Gray

Jon Gray (otherwise known as gray318) is a graphic designer based in London. His works and illustrations take on a grungy perfection that force your eyes to double take.




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October 1, 2014

City Guide: Take a visual journey before the actual journey

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Hong Kong-based publishing house Viction:ary has collaborated with designers and illustrators from all around the world to create their “City Guide” books’ covers. These are all bound to get you all geared up and excited – either to do some actual travelling, or embark on an online journey to discover great illustration and design pieces! The covers represent a city map, drawn in the collaborating artist’s style – which is then carried through the entire book’s design. A must-see for sure (via Fubiz)

London City Guide by David Ryan Robinson.




Barcelona City Guide by Forma & Co.

Tokyo City Guide by Masako Kubo.


Berlin City Guide by Vesa Sammalisto.

Paris City Guide by Allan Deas.


New York City Guide by Mike Perry.


It’s all about the package! Graphic design has so many facets that need to work together to get the job right.  Here’s a little Nicework hint on the subject of typography – one down, much more to go.

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September 30, 2014

Next TV Branding

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Next TV is a new channel that covers topics relevant to the younger set, including everything from music to app reviews to extreme sports. Berlin based agency, Four Plus, was in complete control of branding this channel from scratch.

They created a series of colourful patterns and animations that allows the brand to be flexible and grow over time – a concept that can easily adapt in years to come.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 15.44.15

















For more on what makes a brand great, check out our whitepaper on making brands come to life.

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September 23, 2014

The life cycle of a bean

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The title of this post should actually be “How a bean becomes a fart”, and thanks to Men’s Health, now we know. This little production pretty much sums up why I love explainer videos so much.

1. You have a chance be quirky, but still maintain your professionalism.


2. It is a chance to add a twist to the content you would usually generate


3. It’s engaging (and BEAUTIFULLY designed)


4. It gives everyone something short, sweet and informative to enjoy.


So here, enjoy!

If you’re thinking of creating your own explainer video, click below and download an infographic illustrating the whole process from start to finish, to keep your clients confident, informed and happy every step of the way.

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September 22, 2014

Samsung: An Unsolicited Rebrand

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Dutch designer Aziz Firat recently posted a speculative overhaul of the Samsung brand on his blog. Whether or not Samsung needs a rebrand is debatable, but the work he put together is so pretty that we don’t even mind. Take a look!




download (1)


For more on what makes a brand great, check out our whitepaper on making brands come to life.

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