March

Regulars / Review of the Year 2017

Bake Off, legalising weed and Fanta’s redesign: highlights from March 2017

The month of March threw countless positive and negative changes to the world and as always, we all had something to say about it.

Twitter in the UK went into a storm when conservative MP George Osborne was announced the new editor of London’s Evening Standard and Fanta fans were up in arms at the redesign of its plastic bottle. A group of BBC crew and tourists made an epic and incredibly lucky escape as Mount Etna erupted and Channel 4 tried to fill the void of Mel and Sue departing the Great British Bake Off with Noel Fielding and Sandy Toksvig.

The Guardian also revealed the answer to a question we’ve all wondered at some point, how much pee is in our swimming pools? Thousands of people took to the streets in a anti-Brexit march, and Canadian stoners were delighted at the news that marijuana could be legal by Canada Day in 2018.

Who run the world?

The beginning of March saw us host the first of a few site takeovers in 2017, devoting the day to the countless creative women who consistently inspire us at It’s Nice That.

Each piece of content curated for International Women’s Day (8 March) was written by a woman or featured a female creative, as well as the commissioned illustrations by Kate Prior. Across the 18 articles published that day we spoke to photography agencies, artists, designers, illustrators, advertising agencies, coders, a feminist film collective and even had a Mixtape by a female choir.

2017 has been an incredible year for women, both inside and out of the creative industry. The year began with teams of women in their hundreds knitting pussy hats, and in later months females across the globe spoke out against those who have harassed them in an act of brave and continuously growing defiance. While we still have a long way to go in tackling the unjust bias that women experience including the ludicrous the gender pay gap, it was a joy to celebrate the women who are truly making a difference with their work.

While you can read all of the articles published on International Women’s Day here, we got back in touch with a couple of the creatives we spoke to back in March to find out their thoughts on: What was it like to be a woman in 2017?

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It’s no longer a case that the way you think and the fact that you are a woman has to be separated, and I think that’s an amazing step.

— Kate Stanners

Kate Stanners, chief creative at Saatchi & Saatchi

I think 2017 has been an incredibly significant year for women in general. The equality agenda, which has been slowly shifting for so long, suddenly seems to have been turbo charged and we’re starting to see a real shift in behaviour coupled with a real sense of optimism coming through. 
 
Closer to home within the creative industry, there’s also been a shift perpetuated by champions such as Cindy Gallop and Alma Har’el. At Saatchi & Saatchi we’ve been pushing diversity and embracing how difference can positively affect the work we produce and our clients’ businesses. There’s a current sentiment that things won’t be the same and that’s a wonderful feeling. While of course there’s still a lot to be done, it seems as though issues such a unequal pay are being acknowledged openly and not swept under the carpet. One of the great things about being in a global role is that I’m privileged to see different behaviours across the globe and witness how different cultures approach these debates. It’s important for our industry to pioneer these changes as they happen, as advertising sets the cultural agenda.

On a very personal note it’s been an interesting year because I realised, for the first time, that I was a woman – which of course sounds bizarre to say. But what I mean is that I’ve become conscious of my gender and how it shapes me. As a creative I’ve never had the desire to draw attention to myself or stand out but what I’ve really enjoyed about this internal shift is the feeling that I can be strong with my opinions and speak out, knowing they’re mine and they are primarily because I am a woman. It’s no longer a case that the way you think, and the fact that you are a woman has to be separated, and I think that’s an amazing step.

I’m surrounded by inspiring women every day, and it’s enough to be hopeful for next year.

— Jing Wei

Illustrator Jing Wei

2017 was a horrifying year to be a human being living in the United States. However, 2017 was also a year of women supporting other women.

It has been incredibly cathartic to see women vocalise their experiences and begin to form the public conversation. We definitely have a long way to go, but I’m seeing action taken within my immediate community, and the creative industry in general. We are collectively becoming more aware, and holding each other accountable. Personally, I’ve had a great year of growth, and feel more confident than ever in my practice.

But, I would say that there were breakthroughs and frustrations in equal measure, and sometimes it’s difficult to balance the bubble of work with your surroundings. This year I was recognised for my achievements, consistently harassed in public, fairly paid, underpaid, supported by my peers, and judged based on my ethnicity. But despite the infuriating news and disappointing interactions that come along with living in a city like New York, I’m thankful to exist in a creative community that cares about making progress and facilitating positive change. I’m surrounded by inspiring women every day, and it’s enough to be hopeful for next year.

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Jing Wei

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Jing Wei

In the news…

Budding students dived at the chance to snoop at the World University Rankings for 2017 in early March, scoping out the best place to study for their chosen subject. For the creative institutions, London’s Royal College of Art was named top, for the third year in a row. Other universities that were also praised include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Parsons School of Design at The New School and Rhode Island School of Design.

In publication-related news, Time magazine resurrected a type-only cover. Its March issue featured a two colour typography cover asking “Is Truth Dead?” relating to an interview with Donald Trump. The cover lifts inspiration from the iconic issue from April 1966 asking, “Is God Dead?” which was was the first time the magazine was released without an image on its cover.

Romain Vader was announced the winner of Foam gallery’s Paul Huf young photographers award. The photographer was awarded for his “naive and absurd” series Ekaterina, documenting a fictional tale of the photographer seeking a bride in an imaginary city. A week later, another news story on the subject followed, as a petition against Romain was launched. Although the work was intended to be comical, signatories of the petition included photographers, curators, artists and journalists viewing the series to be promoting “sex tourism, sexism and misogyny”.

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Romain Vader: Ekaterina

The next big (and enviously young) photographer

We also introduced the work of David Uzochukwu, the enviously talented photographer who at just the age of 18 had already shot for Nike with FKA Twigs. A self-taught photographer, 2017 has been a mammoth year for David where his creative commissions just kept growing.

Nine months on from the beginning of a stellar year, David sums up 2017 as “insane,” reflecting that “nothing is promised”. In terms of how his work has progressed, the photographer says his style has “developed in new directions” to include both “live and documentary imagery,” he explains. “I directed for the first time, collaborated more. I got the tiniest step closer to what it is that I want to be making by narrowing down what connects my work in all those areas.” Still naming the Nike campaign with FKA Twigs as his biggest achievement, David also casually name drops that he just photographed Pharrell too. “But I think that both branching out and growing roots are immensely important too. I laid the foundations for exciting personal work to come.”

Back when we spoke to David in March he had turned 18 back in December, now in the run up to his 19th birthday the photographer plans to “share some cake with friends and go for a long walk”.

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David Uzochuwu

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Elsewhere on the site…

Kristen Lepore’s animation Hi Stranger (below) took up a lot of our viewing time. The weirdly soothing, slightly creepy clay character was so addictive to watch, and for reasons we can’t really explain. No wonder it received a massive surge of interest and love going viral during March.

March also saw two online film platforms, Skin Deep and People of Colours tackle the lack of diversity in the film industry, hosting Visual Cultures: Decoding the Music Video at the ICA. We caught up with Nadira from People of Colours and Skin Deep’s Anu to discuss how necessary it is to confront the lack of diversity in the film industry.

Moscow-based illustrator Gudim Anton also had us in stitches for his short panelled comic strips that transform everyday moments into visual puns.

SS17 saw the comeback of Fiorucci, founded in 1967 with a 50-year-long, celebrity-studded fanbase. In celebration of its anticipated return to the fashion industry, the brand offered us a sneak peek into some archive customisation patches fit for any bomber jacket or pair of jeans.

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Michael Shorter, senior creative technologist at design and tech agency Uniform enlightened us in an opinion piece on the existing and imminent innovations that are changing music and how designers can control it.

Following on from an article on the designer’s work earlier in the year, Penguin book cover designer Janet Hansen shared the treasured books on her shelves, displaying a number of covers which have inspired her over her career.

Scottish photographer and star of BBC Three’s What Artist’s Do All Day series, Dougie Wallace let us in on the shopping habits of the insanely rich, capturing the affluent lifestyles of the millionaires stomping around Knightsbridge in his series, Harrodsburg.

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Dougie Wallace: Harrodsburg

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Ahead of her performance at Convergence in March, we spoke to choreographer and director Holly Blakey about her relationship with dance and the unique career she has forged from it.

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“I suddenly realised that I had never felt like a confident performer. It wasn’t a sad thing: this was where I needed to be. I needed to be making stuff not being in it.”

– Holly Blakey

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To celebrate the ten year anniversary of Lubok, we spoke to its founder artist Christoph Ruckhäberle on how not sticking to the magazine rules has created a publication of mass illustrational delight imbedded with hope, chance and historical context.

Our idea was to do something in a higher edition that remained available to everyone. We wanted to make sure that if you wanted to buy a book, you could afford it.”


Christoph Ruckhäberle
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