World Mental Health Day and Ryan Gosling makes typography jokes: highlights from October 2017


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In October, the days got shorter and the world continued to turn on its head. Storm Brian battered the UK, Catalonia voted for independence amid shocking scenes of police brutality, and scientists discovered a 50km deep cave on the moon, which raised hopes of colonisation some day – humanity was aspiring to return to a subterranean world far away…

For more creative distractions, this was the month that Yayoi Kusama opened a gallery in Tokyo and we published one of the most popular stories on It’s Nice That this year – Peter Funch’s photos of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, where he photographed the same passersby over a period of nine years. In the UK, Orgasm Addict by The Buzzcocks turned 40 and Manchester went a bit gaga for it. It was a good month for our furry friends too – Ikea launched Lurvig, a furniture range designed for pets.

Printed Pages AW17

In late October we launched the AW17 issue of Printed Pages, a 240-page review of the last six months in the creative world. For the first time ever we animated the cover and employed the considerable skills of artist and illustrator Igor Bastidas to take our unnamed cover star on an adventure. Inside the magazine we included exclusive interviews with the likes of David Shrigley, Random International, Gaika and Kibwe Tavares, and much more. We launched the issue with a party at Our/London in Hackney, and there is still time to order the issue with a host of extra goodies direct from us here.

We caught up with Igor to find out what the response to the cover has been, and what he has been up to in recent months.

What was the response like to the Printed Pages cover you so kindly produced for us?

It was fantastic! Getting feedback from people you really respect is always a good thing. It’s cool to be backed by such an exciting company like It’s Nice That, I’m very honoured to be part of the Printed Pages legacy with my work.

What was your creative highlight of 2017?

Luckily for me, I did a lot of interesting projects. Actually it was a crazy year, moving to New York City had to do with that for sure and taking the decision to continue working freelance as well. I’m very happy with my Illustrations and animations for The New York Times, It’s Nice That, Zeit Leo, Cartoon Network, Childline, among other projects that are coming soon next year.

What was your creative lowlight of 2017?

I was doing a short film called Extracurricular Activities and I never finished, so that was my creative lowlight.

What are you currently working on? 

I’m doing a loop for a sport brand’s shoes and a short animation for another amazing client (cool things with non-disclosure agreements, sorry for that!) and some cool magazine illustrations. Also I’m working on The Big Apple animations: my personal and surreal perspective on NYC through an animated GIF I make every month.

What are your hopes for 2018? 

I’m hoping to finish my NYC Big Apple project with a short film to see them all collected together in a public space in NY, and I think some of these apple frames would look nice on limited edition t-shirts, so I’m thinking about it. 

Furthermore, I would like to make some music videos, write a short film and make a zine of it. I will be aiming to keep myself making a living from my surreal illustrations and animations – it’s fine with me.

On the site

It’s Nice That marked World Mental Health Day with a takeover of the site inviting an international array of contributors to share work, ideas and opinions on a topic that is increasingly prevalent.

Ori Toor was invited to create a new artwork to announce the day on It’s Nice That and his image was a powerful response to a complex brief. We featured 13 stories that explored the relationship between Mental health and creativity. Highlights include the powerful photos of Siân Davey, comic book artist and illustrator Tara Booth sharing her motivations for her work and the good it does her, and the always brilliant GraphicDesign& shared three projects that successfully support and impact mental wellbeing from its wildly successful Can Graphic Design Save Your Life exhibition.

Things that go bump in the night…

Of course, October is the month of Halloween and to celebrate the spookiest date in the calendar, we explored the creative response to the holiday.

Marianne Hanoun, from our sister site Lecture in Progress, led us on a spooktacular tour of Halloween Branding throughout the years; we took a look at the evolution of Frankenstein’s monster courtesy of Christopher Frayling’s new book; Kate Isobel Scott shared her stop-motion animation that transported us to a spooky festival of dance; Hollie Fernando shared her images of young trick or treaters who had knocked her door; and, not to be outdone, the It’s Nice That team spent the week flirting with diabetes to create a definitive review of the Halloween snacks (and the branding) released this October. I can only applaud this pioneering journalism from our intrepid team…

Have I Got News For You

Ryan Gosling got the graphic design world talking with a SNL skit that saw the much-maligned typeface Papyrus get a well deserved roasting. Back in London, the Science Museum was rebranded by North – and precipitated a heated response that got everyone quite animated.

Later this month, years of allegations caught up with photographer Terry Richardson and he was blacklisted by pretty much every publication that had commissioned him. It was probably the least surprising of all the names to appear in the avalanche of reputations, marking a year in which so many allegations have seen the light of day and the conversations, and crucially, actions, surrounding years of coverups and legal aggression are being drawn into the limelight and affecting long-overdue change.

In another small, but significant and ultimately overdue, development – AMVBDDO released an ad for Bodyform sanitary products that replaced the mysterious blue fluid used as a visual metaphor for period blood with a red fluid in a new campaign. “As soon as there is an insinuation that it’s not “normal” blood, but period blood, a totally different morality takes over,” said Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley, who were behind the ad. In a world that seems to be finding turmoil at every turn, creative people seem to be finding ways of addressing anachronistic idiocy, and making progress. Long may it continue.

Apple also dragged itself into the modern world by commissioning a set of gender neutral emojis. They were received positively but there were still no ginger characters or faces, much to the chagrin of our sunshine-averse friends. They’d have to wait another month for those…

Behind the scenes at the museum, keeping it in the family and the doyenne of graphic design.

Paola Antonelli has been at the helm of the design department of MoMA in New York for over two decades and has been on a personal mission to change the way that the public perceives design. Her acquisitions have infuriated and enraged traditionalists and have provided examples that challenge the notion of design and it’s evolving definition in a world that is accelerating with the advent of technology. It’s Nice That caught up with her on the eve of the opening of the groundbreaking Items: Is Fashion Modern? show, and commissioned Mariano Pascual to create some playful and imaginative illustrations of her acquisitions.

We spoke to Ella Murtha, who shared the stories behind the work of her mother Tish, a socially conscious photographer from the North of England. It’s a tender portrait of the relationship between mother and daughter, and the space that exists in perception between generations.

What you looking at?

Animade got us looking at boobs, bums and tums in their imaginative film Hey Presto.

We spoke to Illustrator Manshen Lo whose influences are truly global and help her create calm, clear and extremely compelling works.

In one of the weirdest animated shorts we published this year, we met Pombo. Pombo is the star of Steve Warne’s film Pombo Loves You, an existential exploration of memory and tragedy that is darkly comic. The film is Steve’s graduation piece and we are excited about what he does next.


Manshen Lo

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About the Author

Owen Pritchard

Owen joined It’s Nice That as Editor in November of 2015 leading and overseeing all editorial content across online, print and the events programme, before leaving in early 2018.

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