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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Typography Experiment by Carlos de Toro

Carlos de Toro is a Spanish graphic & type designer currently based between Barcelona & Logroño. He’s deeply interested in type, branding, and editorial design. Recently he shared a quite interesting project on his Behance page –  he played with the idea of overlapping different designs to create a new typography style from it.

The idea for the project was to work on the idea of layered typefaces and the overlapping of different designs to form a new one. He was influenced by ideas from other disciplines like the use of stencils, double exposures or traditional printing systems. 3D Printing technique was used to create different Types made of PLA filament.

Check out the project below or head here for more of his work

















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Pretty Interes-ting Magazine Exploration

This is a personal project by Mohamed Samir was created to start a series of magazines under “Ting studio” name. The series starts visually with the exploration of the living creatures motion and the relation between it and the human behaviour. Both graphical interpretation and photography are being used in all the magazine versions. It will include also sections about the traditional visual art subjects like typography but with a new graphical interpretation.
Be inspired by his use of a soft palette, imagery selection, graphic treatment and layout.









Looking for something clean and effective in design? Set up a meeting to come and chat over a cup of tea.

great brands are communicated, not designed

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A Monday Smile in the form of a Rabbit

This Monday, let us think of the simple things that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside… like a hot cup of tea, a good book, a comfy duvet and  series, or a fluffy rabbit.

I would like to introduce you to the brilliance that is Miffy Chen. Her simple illustrations come to life through computer character animation. In this instance, the vessel that holds her talent comes in the form of a Dutch dwarf rabbit named Mars. Note : you are encouraged to make noises of delight at this little creature’s appeal.











Do you have a brand message that needs the ‘hop’ built back into it? Click here:

great brands are communicated, not designed

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Throwback Thursday: Renate van Rensburg

We featured the talented Renate van Rensburg in NICE Magazine: Contrast & Contradiction.

Her illustrations are intricate and full of life, and this can be seen with the work exhibited in her editorial.

Renate Old 1

Renate Old 2

Renate Old 3

Renate Old 4

We’ve showed you her old work but what is she doing now? Here are a couple of her more recent illustrations which we feel are exceptionally fantastic.

Renate New 1

Renate New 2


If you’d like to see more of her work, you can head on over to her Renate’s Behance page.

If you’d like to read more about Renate and what she had to say to us, you can download your copy of NICE Magazine here:

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Article Summary: Sean Tucker

For NICE Magazine: Contrast & Contradiction we embarked on a journey with the hope of creating a photography feature in which we could showcase the work of old school purists and new school adventurers. To our delight we came across Sean Tucker, who appears to be a bit of both.

Sean is a photographer living and working in London, who does a little bit of everything.  We asked him to weigh in on his process, motivation, and plans for the future.

Sean Tucker


Like what you see? Well here a few more images, taken from Sean’s Instagram account.

Sean Tucker 3

Sean Tucker 2

Sean Tucker 1


If you would like to see Sean’s work on a recurring basis, you can follow him. On Instagram. On Twitter. Not in real life – that’s a bit creepy.

To read more about Sean Tucker, all you have to do is download your very own NICE Magazine. Right here:

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The Best Thing: Pope John Paw

As part of their interviews in the latest issue of NICE Magazine, we asked our contributors what the best thing they had seen online was.

This week our featured contributor is Candice Bondi. Candice said that the best thing she’s seen online in recent times is a picture of a little dog that must think he is a celebrity. This is quite possibly the cutest picture we’ve seen of a little dog in a long time.

People had lined the streets of Mexico for their chance to see the Pope. This little doggie saw it as the perfect moment to parade through the centre of the crowd. This may be the cutest photograph you will see today.




There are no pictures of cute little dogs walking through parades in the NICE Magazine, but we’re pretty sure you’ll find something you like in there. You should download it and take a look:

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via: imgur

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Article Summary: Beverage Showdown

Apart from the cats versus dogs conundrum, nothing has caused more bloody conflict over the years than the question of “tea or coffee?”

Johannesburg’s café culture has seen exponential growth over the last few years, which makes it the perfect battleground for settling the score once and for all.

We dispatched Nice Magazine representatives all over town, to secretly sample coffee and tea from the menus of our favourite hangout spots and report back to the mother ship. The results were…delicious.

To read more about this wonderful adventure, you can download a copy of NICE Magazine: Contrast & Contradiction.

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If you’d like to watch a 10 year old swearing like an original gangster, please click here.

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Week’s Recap: Monday 02 March – Friday 06 March

Just in case you’ve been really busy this week, this is the post where you catch up on anything you may have missed from our series of NICE Magazine posts over the past week. Let’s get started.

The Best Thing: Heile Gänsje

Doyelle Blane Muise told us about a trippy twelve-minute video that follows a boy called Max through a key moment in the understanding of his identity and sexuality. It involves young love, lube and copious amounts of illegal drug activity. The video is called Heile Gänsje and it was created by Matt Lambert. We’re not putting a NSFW banner on it, because it’s Saturday. If you’re at work on Saturday, we’re sorry.

Doyelle Blane Muise


Throwback Thursday: Louis Minnaar

This week we revisited the work of Louis Minnaar, a Pretoria-based visual artist and jack of many trades, who has sampled almost every aspect of our local creative industry. We featured some of Louis’ work in the latest issue of NICE Magazine.

Louis Minaar Old1


Art Fight: Lize Marie Dreyer vs. Brent Swart

For our final Art Fight post, we had Lize Marie Dreyer going up against Brent Swart. If you’re interested in finding out more about what Lize and Brent do, you can check out Lize’s Behance page, or you can check out Brent’s Behance page.



While you’re here, don’t forget to download you very own copy of NICE Magazine: Contrast & Contradiction:

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