We're through creative a branding and digital agency from Macclesfield near Manchester. We've put together this site to create a source of inspiration, we hope you like it.

How to Deal (or Not Deal) with Phone Calls

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Hamza Khan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
No Phone by Scott Lewis from The Noun Project

No Phone by Scott Lewis from The Noun Project

Do you get pissed off whenever someone asks you to setup a “quick call” to chat? Gary Vaynerchuk bets that you do:

We have gotten to a place where everything happens on our time. You watch the TV show when you want to watch it, not because it airs on Wednesday at 8 (7 central). You text because you can respond to that person on your time.

In a thoughtful tirade against phone calls, Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, left some important takeaways for how to deal with phone calls (and by extension, meetings), including:

To avoid the awkwardness around small-talk, try to outline what the topic of the conversation is going to be.  It makes you feel less guilty for transitioning into the purpose of the call.

Use email to get your high-level thoughts communicated first, and then use a phone call to add a personal touch or to have a higher bandwidth conversation.

If your work requires phone calls, that’s understandable. But remember that more often than not, synchronous communication puts you in a reactionary state. Don’t feel obligated to answer the phone every time it rings; what’s urgent isn’t always important.



Catch London’s bus art sculpture trail

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Art, Illustration | Comments Off

2014 is the Year of the Bus in London, with a range of activities promoting and celebrating bus use. The latest addition is the Year of the Bus Sculpture Trail featuring work from 40 illustrators and artists


London Takes the Bus by Rod Hunt and in situ, above and below. Hunt says ""I found inspiration by looking at the Key Bus Routes in central London map & seeing that it almost looks like the map is spelling the word 'Bus' in the route lines." Vinyl wrap by The Graphical Tree



The Graphical Tree team working on Hunt's sculpture



Produced with Wild in Art (whose we book benches we previously featured here) the sculptures are sited in three areas of the city – Westminster, along the river and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Visitors can download maps here to discover them all

They are all based on the form of the new Routemaster and are are 2.5m long, 1m high and 0.5m wide


Come Rain or Shine by Thomas Dowdeswell


London Telephone Bus by Stephen McKay


Queen's Conductor (Busby) by Oliver Dean


Spectrum by Kristel Pillkahn


Routemasters by Edward Carvalho-Monaghan


Ding by Crispin Finn


Dazzler by Sophie Green


The sculptures, which are all funded by sponsorship, will be on display until December, after which they will be auctioned to raise funds for three charities: Kids Company, Transaid and London Transport Museum.



This way to hear about some moving and shaking among the It’s Nice That team!

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: It's Nice That | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


Over recent weeks we’ve made a few ch-ch-changes here at It’s Nice That HQ and seeing as they’ve now all taken effect, we thought it made sense to bring y’all up to speed too. Rob Alderson, James Cartwright and Maisie Skidmore stay in their current roles as Editor-in-Chief, Print Editor and Assistant Editor respectively but elsewhere we’ve mixed things up a bit.

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Quietly powerful portraits by up-and-coming photographer Maya Fuhr

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Liv Siddall | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


I’m super into these portraits by Maya Fuhr, I think I spent about 45 seconds staring into the pond-coloured eyes of the guy two pics down. Maya’s got this magic touch when it comes to photography, her work is so simultaneously humble and powerful, making her the perfect candidate for quietly strong editorial and personal work. We’ve covered her editorial before – a brilliant photo shoot of girls in messy bedrooms – but something about the power of her portraits made us want to write about her again. She also recently opened up to us about her days as college a fresher, and the perils of choosing the wrong degree (with some brilliant photographs of her in 2008 to accompany it, naturally).

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We ask six brilliant illustrators to tell us about their weapons of choice

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: James Cartwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


Because no return to school is ever complete without a mammoth haul of stationery – think gel pens, scented glitter rollerballs, erasers as big as your 12-year-old fist and some kind of novelty pencil sharpener – we asked some of our favourite creatives to tell us what one piece of kit in their vast pencil cases they could never be without. Turns out they’re all attached to some pretty bizarre objects. Meet their weapons of choice…

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Learn the Rules & Then Break Them

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Stephanie Kaptein | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Scott Dadich’s spread for an article on Ridley Scott in Wired Magazine.

Editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine Scott Dadich says it’s time to start getting it wrong. In the field of technology design, we have figured out how to do it right. We have beautiful, sleek devices that are an ease to use – and it’s getting boring:

…once a certain maturity has been reached, someone comes along who decides to take a different route. Instead of trying to create an ever more polished and perfect artifact, this rebel actively seeks out imperfection—sticking a pole in the middle of his painting, intentionally adding grungy feedback to a guitar solo, deliberately photographing unpleasant subjects. Eventually some of these creative breakthroughs end up becoming the foundation of a new set of aesthetic rules, and the cycle begins again.

Dadich emphasizes that it’s not about throwing out design rules and starting from scratch. You need to master the rules so you can effectively break them. In his work for Wired Magazine, Dadich would apply his ‘Wrong Theory’ in small ways by only breaking one or two rules to regain visual interest. He would make large images small, overlap graphic and type and put headlines at the end of stories. Our future lies in failure as Dadich states, “…only by courting failure can we find new ways forward.”


Papercut artist and illustrator Petra Börner is inspired by flora and fauna

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Maisie Skidmore | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

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Excellent graphic work from Julien Ducourthial aka The Jazzist

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Liv Siddall | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


Setting up a design studio and changing your name to a cool pseudonym is a good two-fingers-up to life on the quiet side. Parisian designer Julien Ducourthial decided to make this leap, and now overseas The Jazzist, offering bold, fluoro design work “serving in fields of graphic design, illustration and art direction in digital & printed media.” When Julien emailed us he told us he was inspired by 8-bit imagery and cartoons, which gave us an immediate inkling that we were going to like his work. Anyone looking to commission a great French designer any time soon? Julien is your man.

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Henrik Franklin produces a table of tiny books for miniature art gallery

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Rob Alderson | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off


Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

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Actis launches photography exhibition for tenth anniversary

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Rachael Steven | Filed under: Photography | Comments Off

Entebbe, Uganda

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, private equity company Actis commissioned photographer Harry Cory Wright to capture the communities, projects and businesses the company has invested in worldwide. His photos, taken using a nineteenth century plate camera, are now on display in a touring exhibition and book designed by London studio Rose.

A Vantage Point features photographs of a vast range of people, places and projects; from a tea estate in Mukono, Uganda to a hair salon in Mumbai and Johannesburg's Nelson Mandela Bridge. The series offers a fascinating look at changing infrastructures, rural communities and local businesses, as well as promoting the company's work in emerging markets.

George Goch-Johannesburg-Naledi Railway, S Africa

"The idea was very simple: to try and represent the breadth of the company's work, which is very diverse, and shape that into a show," explains Cory Wright. "It was important to represent the key markets [the company invests in India, Africa, China, Latin America and South East Asia] and key sectors but most importantly, the set had to work as a series ... we wanted each image to capture not just the investment, but the life around it," he adds.

Based in Norfolk, Cory Wright is best known for his landscape photography, such as Journey Through the British Isles, a series documenting the British countryside. His series for Actis, however, features a mix of portraits and still lifes, from close-ups of industrial machinery to scenes of chaotic cities, building sites, busy restaurants and medical centres.

"It's quite different to the photography used in a lot of our branding, which is more people based [often featuring close-up portraits], but every picture tells a story," says Actis chairman Paul Fletcher.

A picture of a jeweller outside his shop in Cairo, for example (below) represents the swathe of businesses in emerging markets switching from cash payments to card in a growing economy, while one of a family outside their home in rural Uganda (top) represents investments in the electricity poles and cables supplying power to the area. Insulated cables make it more difficult to tap into the power supply, while reducing the risk of death or serious injury when attempting to do so.

7 Days Inn, Beijing

Emerging Markets Payments, El Beeb jewellers, Cairo

Cory Wright travelled to India, China, Africa and Brazil to shoot the series, spending around two weeks in each country he visited. "I didn't have to report back much [while shooting] - Actis put a lot of faith in me," he says. “It’s quite an unusual project for them - and for me, having that level of freedom and no art director around - but they realised that if you allow people to just do their thing, the result is ten times better than it would be otherwise."

The full set of over 60 images is compiled in a book, designed by Rose, which will be sent out to Actis' key clients. Twenty-one have also been reproduced as large scale prints for an exhibition curated by Nicola Bunbury.

Investments in tractors, ATM machines and electronic payment systems may not seem like compelling subject matter for a photography series, but Cory Wright has captured some beautifully detailed scenes that offer a real snapshot of life in the areas where Actis invests.

Byculla Pharmacy & Stores, Mumbai

Images were shot on a large format plate camera, which Cory Wright has been using for over 20 years. "It's very slow, and expensive [the cost of film and processing is around £50 per shot] but it's very good at dealing with place and space - it affords everything a relevance in the picture," he says.

"It's very easy to compose in a way, as such a large screen, but [with this kind of camera], it's not so much about the precision of how you take the picture. You can only ever get the notion of something – you can never read the scene closely when you’re there – so you just rely on what the camera will reveal later. It’s a very pleasing process. You know when the film comes back there’s going to be all this other stuff in the scene that you hadn’t thought about," he adds.

One of the biggest challenges during the project, however, was transporting the camera and film, explains Cory Wright. "The biggest concern was travelling through airport security - as there was no guarantee the film would survive X Ray scanners [which can damage unprocessed images]. After travelling to India we had to come back to the UK, have pictures developed and restock with film before we went to China," he says.

Following a display at London's Saatchi Gallery this week, the exhibition will travel to Sao Paulo later this month, before visiting Mumbai, Beijing and Johannesburg.

Super-Max, Precious Hair Cutting Salon, Mumbai

Heritage Place, Lagos

Banque Commerciale du Rwanda, Kigali


Spread showing image of tea estate in Mukono, Uganda

Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Easter Cape

Exhibition invitations designed by Rose, who also created the identity and graphics for the show

Images on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London last week