• Main
Review of the Year 2013

Review of the Year 2013: Rob Alderson picks his wildcards of the year

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Another 12 months gone by and hundreds of articles later, picking five was nigh on impossible. In fact it was impossible; as you’’ll see I’ve abused my position and to sneak in references to two extra posts as I just couldn’t whittle it down. So sue me yeah? (Please don’t sue me.) Anyway enough of my prattling on here are my picks of 2013…

Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36 (August 2)

  • Ezekielproductshot1487_11

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1425_02

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1428_03

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1443_04

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1457_06

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1460_07

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

  • Ezekielproductshot1469_08

    Nick Ballon & Studio Thomson: Ezekiel 36:36

Nick first showed me these images of the Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano some time ago and so it was a treat to sit down with him and go through the sumptuous book of the project come the summer. The airline was once a great source of national pride in Bolivia but chronic mismanagement has seen it fall into near-terminal (no pun intended) decline. Nick told a much bigger story through this singular study and did so with respect and restraint. Studio Thomson did a killer job designing the book as well; the inset of LAB’s retro airline graphics symptomatic of the excellence at work.

Joe Sparkes: Heavyweight (July 18)

It was some flats of Joe Sparkes’ animation that first caught my eye on then Kingston University stand at D&AD’s New Blood, but when I saw the final piece I was really blown away. I’m not someone necessarily inclined to sentimentalism, but I found this almost unbearably sad and poignantly beautiful. I was solo tempted to include the Troy McLure super-cut in this list but that would do Joe a disservice.

Hondelatte-Laporte: The Giraffe Children’s Centre (January 11)

  • Hl7

    Hondelatte-Laporte: The Giraffe Children’s Centre

Sometimes it can be hard to explain the It’s Nice That approach to covering those areas like architecture, fashion and product design where being quite serious appears to be the order of the day. I tend to fall back on a rather lame “We know what works for us when we see it,” but there is no better example of this idea in practice than this. If I was a Parisian youngster a) I’d probably be better dressed but b)I could imagine nothing more exciting DANS LE MONDE than going to nursery every day at a building that has a giant yellow giraffe sticking out the top. It’s exactly this combination of playful idea and technical excellence that makes this our kind of architecture.

Patrick Fry: Shakespeare’s Globe Interface (February 12)

  • Interface_web_17

    Patrick Fry: Shakespeare’s Globe Interface

As a point of full disclosure I know Patrick and enjoyed at least seven beers with him over the course of 2013. If anything though it grated me when I realised he was responsible for one of my favourite graphic design projects of the past year. Trying to combine the history and cultural heritage of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre with a cutting-edge contemporary digital networking event is a pretty tall order, but Patrick smashed it out the park. Clean, colourful and communicative with a nice composite approach that mirrors the very notion of networking. Splendid stuff.

Rami Niemi: ADC Annual 2013 (May 2)

  • Rn3

    Rami Niemi: Art Directors Club 2013 Annual

  • Rn6

    Rami Niemi: Art Directors Club 2013 Annual

  • Rn11

    Rami Niemi: Art Directors Club 2013 Annual

When it came to illustrators, two articles from the past 12 months were in the running for this list, both of whom provided work with bags of personality for big-name clients. I loved Olly Moss’ poster for this year’s Oscars which saw him reimagine the famous statuette as all the Best Picture Nominations right back to 1927, but Olly is just edged out of this selection by the irrepressible Rami Niemi. The Finn was commissioned by DDB New York to put his stamp on the Art Directors Club 2013 Annual and Rami delivered in some style, with some brilliant lampoonery of the frustrations surrounding the creative process.


Posted by Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

Most Recent: Review of the Year 2013 View Archive

  1. Main

    Here we are, the bloody top ten. Before you ask, yes, the Sushi Cats made it. Phew! It’s an unexpected top ten, but nevertheless an incredibly powerful one. These are the guys that you clicked on so much that they beat every single other post on It’s Nice That into the most read work of the year. Popular/best, tomato/tomato. You get the picture.

  2. List

    Here at It’s Nice That, 2013 saw us solidify our commitment to audio visual content with the launch of our brand new site First Broadcast. With bespoke video content, audio interviews, our weekly podcast Studio Audience, plus talks from our events, it’s a good place to lose yourself for a while engaging with some all-singing-all-dancing curated creativity (Disclaimer: No actual singing or dancing included). Here’s a look at some of the highlights…

  3. List

    Teenage years might be little more than a series of impassioned hobbies, angry Nirvana anthems and clumsy snogs to some, but the penultimate instalment of our top 100 means more than that to us. It’s packed full of art and design greatness! We’re like the advent calendar that you get to enjoy ten chocolate reindeer at a time! Without further ado, then, here are ten more metaphorical cardboard doors for you to rip off, you lucky sons of guns…

  4. Wildcards-list

    I had no idea I’d written quite so many posts over the last seven months, so trying to choose five of my favourite was something like placing a small child in the toy section at the Argos warehouse and telling them they would only have five things, and they couldn’t even have a look through the catalogue before choosing. Still, you asked for it, so here they are, in all of their flowery, miniature pastel-coloured glory.

  5. 30-21-list

    This is where things get really bloody serious. The hallowed top 30 (is that even a thing?) is where the real cream of the cream (or creme de la creme to coin a new phrase that borrows from French) hang out. What delights are in store in this treasure trove of creative excellence? Who knows. Read on before I mix any more metaphors.

  6. Exhibitions-list

    Trying to summarise the best of this year’s exhibitions is such a tall order that we’re really only prepared to do it once. We’ve already had a crack in this year’s Annual, so if you’d like to see what we really reckoned then you know where you can get your hands on one. Instead, here’s a bunch of brilliant shows that probably didn’t get the attention they deserved in Time Out and the papers and that. Enjoy them, they’re lovely.

  7. List

    Next year I turn 30, a milestone I am ignoring while all around seem hellbent on reminding me. So it is with some personal resonance that we come to the 30s, 10 posts ranging from naughty bags to not one but two Wes Anderson videos. So eyes down, and get ready to marvel at another selection of creative belters…

  8. Wildcards-list

    While Rob will use his wildcard post to turn the year into a witty personal creative narrative and Liv will undoubtedly dazzle you with her eclectic tastes, I just want to use this opportunity to bore you all to death with a bunch of comics that have made my year. Half of you probably think comics are a load of old toss, but I’ve got carte blanche to do what I want in this post, and what I want to do is force a hard-line agenda of graphic novels on the lot of you, like a Kim Jong-Un of comic art. Don’t forget to smile and clap in all the appropriate places…

  9. Main1

    Everyone loves the middle. Middle of a meal (main course), middle of a film (happy montage) and middle of a relationship (you’re not annoying each other yet). Welcome to the middle of our countdown of the best articles of 2013 and, like every other middle, it’s full of blissful joy and happiness. Read on, dear reader, read on….

  10. List

    Arguably the most exciting creative projects of 2013 can’t be pinned down to just one frame, so we’ve allowed them to overflow into a Review of the Year post all of their own, compiling some of the very best film, animation and moving image clips of the year. Where else would you find puppets pleasuring themselves, a crazy glimpse into the future by the Layzell Brothers (say no more) and a guide to tricky social situations narrated by Jason Schwartzman? As we thought! You need us.

  11. 60-list

    I’ve heard great things from people claiming that your fifties are the best years of your life. I’m not quite there yet, but I fully intend to fill mine with copious holidays, throwing fabulous parties and flicking my silver hair over one shoulder while swigging champagne by the bottle. In celebration of that glorious vision, here are OUR fifties, from our yearly review of the top 100 posts of 2013, and my are they good. Read on…

  12. Publications-list

    It’s been a big year for independent publishing; either it was dying a terrible death or giving birth to incredible new titles, falling under the pressure of a global financial crisis or turning into another industry that’s somehow managed to survive. The only thing that was clear was that nobody understood what the hell was going on –especially so-called experts – and so we all had to just grit our teeth and hope that people would buy our magazines. To celebrate the sort-of-survival of ink on paper here’s some of our favourite titles to spring up anew or weather the storm of 2013.

  13. 70-61

    In human ageing 61-70 are the years in which everyone you know who’s younger decides that you’ve peaked physically and mentally, meaning they speak slowly and loudly whenever they address you, ensure you’ve got a cushion at all times lest your brittle bones fracture from sitting on any hard surfaces and dismiss everything you say due to your imminent senility. So let’s hear it for these ageing has-beens. We still think they’re terrific, just remember to speak up and try to indulge their stories about the war.