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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