The growth and self-assembling properties of nickel-tetraphenyl porphyrins (NiTPP) on the Cu(111) surface are analysed via scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and density functional theory (DFT). For low coverage, STM results show that NiTPP molecules diffuse on the terrace until they reach the step edge of the copper surface forming a 1D system with disordered orientation along the step edges. The nucleation process into a 2D superstructure was observed to occur via the interaction of molecules attached to the already nucleated 1D structure, reorienting molecules. For monolayer range coverage a 2D nearly squared self-assembled array with the emergence of chiral domains was observed. The XPS results of the Ni 2p(3/2) core levels exhibit a 2.6 eV chemical shift between the mono- and multilayer configuration of NiTPP. DFT calculations show that the observed chemical shifts of Ni 2p(3/2) occur due to the interaction of 3d orbitals of Ni with the Cu(111) substrate.