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Regulars / Review of the Year 2017

Festive monsters, dyslexia and Gilbert and George: December on It’s Nice That

It’s the most wonderful time of the year sang Andy Williams, and as the curtain falls on 2017 we have rounded up what has happened so far this month before we disappear for a week or so, recharge our batteries and launch ourselves into 2018.

This year has been our tenth anniversary – we have seen the It’s Nice That audience grow to a record size; hosted bigger, better and nicer events; and written more stories than ever before. We can’t thank you all enough for reading the articles, buying Printed Pages, attending the events we run and, most importantly, submitting work and projects that have been featured on the site. It is a pleasure and a privilege to share the great ideas that are turning the world into a better, more vibrant place.

A special thanks to the It’s Nice That team for all their efforts this year and everyone we collaborated with. We are excited about what is in store for 2018 and will be returning on the 4 January.

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In the news

As it is the end of year, the lists and reviews are coming thick and fast. Working Not Working compiled its annual list of companies that creatives would like to work for; Time Magazine named the Silence Breakers, those who spoke up against the global harassment pandemic, as it’s Person of the Year 2017; Pantone announced that 2018’s colour of the year is Ultra Violet – which sounds more like something from an Anthony Burgess novel than a shade of plum; and Jeremy Corbyn graced the cover of British GQ in a natty M&S suit.

Netflix is watching the watchers

One of the most popular stories on It’s Nice That this month involved Netflix and the way that it uses viewer’s watching habits to advertise films and shows, specifically targeting your preferences. Netflix explains how artwork is tailored to each user, using the example of Good Will Hunting: if a user watches romantic movies then the artwork will show an image of Minnie Driver and Matt Damon leaning in for a kiss; if they watch more comedies, the artwork will feature a still of Robin Williams.

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Ivan Chermayeff: 1932 -2017

This month saw the death of graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff, creator of some of the world’s best known logos. The London-born designer was part of the team that created iconic logos for the likes of National Geographic, PanAm, PBS, MoMA and Xerox, as well as the NBC peacock.

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Long reads on It’s Nice That

Paul Gorman’s book The Story of the Face seems to be the book that will be filling stockings this Christmas. It’s Nice That caught up with the author to find out more about his motivations for writing the book and to learn about the enduring legacy of the magazine.

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East London artists Gilbert and George had their 50 year partnership recognised this year when they were made Royal Academicians. Their anniversary year was celebrated with a show of new works at the White Cube in London. Lucy Bourton caught up with the pair to learn more about the The Beard Pictures and Fuckosophy, how they have survived 50 years in the art world, and the meaning of life.

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Disability, challenge or superpower?

“The government classes dyslexia as a disability,” wrote Jim Rokos in an opinion piece we published this month. “However, while it certainly brings challenges, I believe it is not.” In his empowering and thoughtful article he dispels many of the lazy myths that surround dyslexia and and argues that the point of difference that dyslexia affords can offer powerful new opportunities creatively. Since we published this article, Jim has been inundated with responses looking to explore his ideas further and has had some truly heartwarming correspondence with creatives who have dyslexia.

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Pentagram partner Natasha Jen shows us her bookshelf

With clients including Nike, MIT Architecture, Harvard Art Museums and the Guggenheim Foundation, Natasha Jen has produced work that fuses the disciplines of graphic and digital design, often combining them with spatial interventions. This month, she shared the jewels in her bookshelf – an eclectic selection that encompasses everything from comics to an exploration of why our diet is the way it is.

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On It’s Nice That: type, retro illustration, Archifest and Oasis

We caught up with photographer Michael Spencer Jones, who created the images on some of the most iconic album covers of the mid-nineties for the likes of Oasis and The Verve. In this interview he shares a cracking anecdote about the cover of Oasis’ third, coke-fuelled album Be Here Now.

Prague-based graphic designer Jiri Mocek shared his latest work which included some great custom typography for clients such as UMPRUM University and musician Harvey Sutherland.

After lots of rooting around Instagram and running down dead ends we managed to get in touch with illustrator Kim Hee Eun. The South Korea-based illustrator creates work with a distinctly retro appeal, finding inspiration in movies from the 70s and 80s.

Singapore’s Archifest got a bold new identity courtesy of Do Not Design. The studio produced posters, festival newsprint, websites and marketing content for social media responding to a brief that only stated that they must use the colours white and orange.

Film and Moving Image

Inspired by The Thing and Nightmare on Elm Street, French studio Megacomputeur’s animated short The Return of the Monster is the antithesis of the cutesy Moz the Monster John Lewis advert.

Wanderer a short animation by Chicago-based Alex Moy is a bizarre examination of what happens when your mind takes a wander. “My biggest inspirations come from artists that aren’t afraid to be called ‘weird,’” says Alex.

Supported by Google

Google is proud to support It’s Nice That in championing a broad and inclusive creative community with its annual Review of the Year. We believe that design is critical to building great products and experiences, and we’re committed to fostering best-in-class results with efforts like Material Design, a unified system combining theory, resources, and tools to help designers and engineers craft beautiful, digital experiences, as well as through our cooperative efforts at Google Design.

From producing original articles and videos, to hosting creative and educational partnerships and events, Google Design’s goal is to connect, support, and inspire designers and design thinkers. Sign up for the Google Design Newsletter to learn more.