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Review of the Year 2016: 100 Most Read Articles of the Year

The It’s Nice That Review of the Year 2016 culminates with a round up of the best and most popular content we have published this year. From one to 100, it’s a rich mix of entertaining, inspiring and downright bonkers projects that champion creativity. So take some time out to check out the articles you’ve read the most.

  • List Features / Film Don't Hug Me I'm Scared - an exclusive interview with Duck, Red Guy and Yellow Guy

    This week, the final episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared was released. The series of web shorts, created by Becky Sloan and Joe Pelling, has been viewed over 30 million times, spawned a countless fan theories, inspired a fashion line and generally amused and confused anyone who watched it. Throughout six episodes we have watched the protagonists, known only as Duck, Red Guy and Yellow Guy, learn about time, the internet, healthy eating, love and creativity. Ahead of the final episode we took an opportunity to interview the cast of the show and shoot them in a style worthy of their global superstar status. After wracking our brains for an angle, we found that the questions that needed answering had already been asked, but not answered, in the script of each episode. To sate your curiosity, and probably further confuse things, we asked these questions that have been posed previously by a computer, a lamb chop, a hallucination and the stars themselves.
    Where do you live?
    Yellow Guy: I live in my house!
    Duck: I live in my house.
    Red Guy: I just don’t know anymore.
    What do you like to eat?
    Yellow Guy: Spaghetti!
    Red Guy: Well, I’m trying out an all plain foods diet. At the moment its causing a few disturbing side effects but I think just takes a while to get adjusted.
    Duck: Pineapple fritters, waffles, miniature pancakes, a chicken picnic, bread lengths and whipped milk.
    What is your favourite colour?
    Yellow Guy: No!
    Red Guy:  Medium brown.  
    Duck: Once in a while. 

    Owen Pritchard
  • Pantone-448c News / Graphic Design World’s “ugliest” Pantone colour 448C is being used to deter smokers

    Deemed the world’s ugliest colour, Pantone 448C opaque couché is now being used on cigarette packaging to deter smokers.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Adrienne_salinger_int_list Work / Photography Photographer Adrienne Salinger’s series of teenage bedrooms from the 90s

    “Our bedrooms tell stories about us. They become the repository for memories, desire and self-image,” says American photographer Adrienne Salinger. Her series taken in the early 90s of teenagers and their bedrooms is an incredible insight and a glimpse into the past. “I was fascinated going into strangers’ homes and into people’s bedrooms, asking them about their lives and hearing their stories,” she says. “I was interested in the rich visual information showing the contradictions and ambivalence of coming of age.”

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Bompass_and_parr_its_nice_that_list_image Work / Photography Bompas & Parr explores the strange world of sploshing (NSFW)

    “When we started Bompas & Parr one of the first calls we got was an inquiry about whether we catered for splosh parties. Innocently we looked online to see what this might involve – to find a seamy scene were folks get turned on by sitting in puddles of baked beans. At the time we declined,” explains Sam Bompas, co-founder of Bompas & Parr.

    Owen Pritchard
  • Wes-anderson-hm-christmas-ad-list News / Advertising Wes Anderson directs H&M Christmas advert starring Adrien Brody

    Wes Anderson has directed the H&M Christmas advert for 2016 starring Adrien Brody, working with ad agency Adam & Eve/DDB.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Gem_barton_it's_nice_that_1 Work / Opinion Don't get a Job, Make a Job - how to succeed as a creative graduate
    First things first – the days of trading in your degree certificate for a nice safe job offer are gone, and who knows if they will ever return. It is simply not enough to graduate anymore, the world demands more from you – you are the future, you are the next generation of entrepreneurs, design-thinkers, hyper-specialists and cultural agitators. You have a role, you have a responsibility…it is no longer about the world of the design…. it is about the design of your world!

    Being a writer is one of those jobs where you are one, because you do it. The title makes no grand gestures and has no barriers to entry – unlike many other professions – I love that about it. It doesn’t mean you will be a good writer obviously; there are no junior authors, middleweight bloggers or senior poets! It is quite non-discriminatory in that sense and as such is open and accommodating, it encourages agency and I’m all for agency, for people with balls and determination and it is simple – if you write, then you are a writer. And I wanted to write a book, so I started writing, and I wrote a book. It is all in the mind.

    Gem Barton
  • Instagram_new_icon_itsnicethat2 News / Graphic Design Instagram reveals new icon and UI

    Instagram has today revealed its new icon and refreshed user interface, which the company’s head of design says reflects how the app’s content has diversified. In this UK exclusive interview with It’s Nice That, Ian Spalter explains why it’s time for a new identity, and how everyone at the company was involved in the icon’s redesign.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Graphic_design_surveyed_its_nice_that_li News / Graphic Design Educated, overworked, underpaid: Graphic Designers Surveyed

    Ahead of the publication of the latest Graphic Design& title, Graphic Designers Surveyed, we asked the editors to share their findings with us. Here, they offer their thoughts on the results of the survey and what designers and the wider industry can learn from them.

    Lucienne Roberts
  • Anna_ginsberg_int_list Partnership / Channel 4 Random Acts Anna Ginsburg explores sex and female orgasms in this hilarious animation (NSFW)

    Animator and filmmaker Anna Ginsburg tackles the birds and the bees with playful aplomb in her latest film, which sees her animated interviewees talk honestly about sex, female orgasms and the enigmatic clitoris. Anna’s film has been created as part of It’s Nice That’s partnership with Channel 4 Random Acts, where we’ve commissioned a series of films with five of the most exciting filmmakers working in the industry today. As part of Random Act’s expansion it has launched a new TV show for the first time in which our films will feature. You can catch Anna’s film in the show’s second episode which aired last night and can be caught up with on All 4 now.

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • List Work / Photography Steph Wilson's photographs balance fashion, art and politics

    The work of photographer Steph Wilson is perfect in its balance of fine art, politics and fashion. This London-based photographer has already completed work for Dazed, Vice, W Magazine and Mulberry, and has many exciting projects in the pipeline. Stephanie is also the founder of art collective, Lemon People, “an affinity of artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers and musicians.” And she has a parrot called Tomato who often makes an appearance in her work.

    Lucy Bourton
  • Homepage_list Features / Fashion Your Ad Here: why Grindr, Pornhub and YouPorn are fashion’s new billboards

    The relationship between fashion and sex is by now almost an essentialism, but how did a gay hook-up app come to play host to an award-winning designer’s fashion show? How did a porn star come to be the face of one of Britain’s most indelible brands? How did porn sites come to present covetable advertising opportunities? 

    Alexander Hawkins
  • List Features / Miscellaneous Creatives, designers and drugs: what are they on, and why?

    Long before acid advocate Timothy Leary advised people to “turn on, tune in and drop out” back in 1966, people have taken that doctrine and lysergically run with it. From the French exchange students browsing Bob Marley stash tins in Camden Market to Miley Cyrus harping on about ayahuasca, people are looking to buy into that heritage of intoxication and creativity. Coleridge was laying back and writing poems on opium, Basquait was emblazoning New York with murals and his veins with heroin, Hendrix was noodling away on LSD and Warhol buzzed about his Factory frantically coursing with amphetamines. As such, it’s perhaps the creative community that has most visibly combined intoxication with their job description. Either that, or they just talk about it more than accountants, or landscape gardeners – or do so in a more public forum.

    Emily Gosling
  • Co-op-bag_itsnicethat News / Graphic Design The Co-op returns to its old “clover leaf” logo from the 1960s

    The Co-op has returned to its old “clover leaf” logo, originally designed in 1968, as part of a major rebrand. The company worked with agency North to “reboot” the branding, which Ben Terrett, Co-op’s group design director, says had become “confused and too corporate.” North pitched the idea of returning to the classic logo, and for the relaunch has created a punchy set of photographs showing it used on food packaging, shop fronts, uniforms and bags. The identity uses a more vibrant, lighter blue than the darker scheme of the previous branding.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Grads_hero_1 Regulars / The Graduates 2016 Oscar Mitchell's expressive illustrations ooze with characterful panache

    Oscar Mitchell is an Illustration graduate of Falmouth University. His body of work is defined by his highly expressive characters, brought to life with a strong use of line, block colour, pattern and brushstrokes.

    Jamie Green
  • Casper_sejersen_list Work / Photography “Nymphomaniac” photographer Casper Sejersen's explosive images

    There’s something unsettling in the work of photographer Casper Sejersen. In one image, a woman stands serenely in a flimsy creamy yellow dress. On the wall next to her is a shattered full length mirror, and her eyes direct us to her feet – placed apart to tread on the mirrored fragments. Another series, titled Wish You Were Here from Man About Town features a ginger quiffed Bowie lookalike, his hair refracted in additional images around him, his eyes rolled to heaven. Among images of near-deathly stillness, there are images of explosive life – a car shattering into shards in a cloud of smoke.

    Bryony Stone
  • List Features / Graphic Design Monotype unveils its redesigned Transport for London typeface, Johnston100

    It’s a rare person who actively enjoys using the London Underground: the clichés you read about standing uncomfortably with your head nestled into a tall man’s sweaty armpit exist for a reason. But in its early days, Transport for London’s marketing billed the trains as a joyful thing, capable of transporting you to idyllic destinations like Richmond, or Morden (maybe not Morden).

    Emily Gosling
  • Subway-new-logo_itsnicethat_list News / Graphic Design Subway unveils redesigned logo and new symbol

    American fast food chain Subway has revealed a new logo and symbol, to be rolled out to all restaurants in early 2017. The logo has more in common with the sandwich restaurant’s original 1968 logo, with its curvy, upright type, than the recent angular, italicised version. It loosely maintains the colour scheme of the modern logo but uses a darker yellow and lighter green, bringing the colours closer in tone. It also continues the use of the Subway arrows, which are combined for Subway’s new “S” symbol.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Beer_brandin_its_nice_that_list Work / Graphic Design Cheers! A round-up of some of our favourite beer branding

    It doesn’t take much to persuade most people to kick back with a beer, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to make it look great too. With the rise of craft breweries, the scene has fostered a proliferation of great branding and design for their wares. Here’s a round-up of some of our favourites. h3. Manual: Fort Point Beer Company

    Milly Burroughs
  • Design-museum-gareth-gardner-int-list Media Partnership / Graphic Design How to design a museum: the making of London’s new Design Museum

    The art of designing a museum is one filled with expectation and promise: a unique challenge for designers. It’s been a rare opportunity for the talents of Fernando Gutiérrez, Morag Myerscough, Cartlidge Levene, OK-RM and Hato to define the character and personality of this new incarnation of the Design Museum in South Kensington. The project has seen them create the identity, the wayfinding and signage system, its inaugural exhibition, the Beazley Designs of the Year show and its permanent display. As expected, with a new location comes a new aesthetic, so what should a museum of design look and feel like in 2016?

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Swimm_it's_nice_that_7 Work / Photography Mária Švarbová’s calm and surreal images of bathers at a Slovakian swimming pool

    “My photographs are a succession of short scenes in which the frontality and absence of contrasts remove any narrative dimension,” says Slovakian photographer Mária Švarbová of her two new photo essays Swimm and Swimming Pool. Each tightly framed and directed shot depicts bathers at a swimming pool in Malacky, near Bratislava. The pastel hues with pops of saturated colour, combined with a theatrical direction of the models, create a thoughtful and compelling sequence of scenes.

    Owen Pritchard
  • Arne_svenson_int_list Work / Photography Arne Svenson’s portraits of his New York neighbours taken through apartment windows

    Photographer Arne Svenson’s painterly portraits of his neighbours are a voyeuristic insight into the day-to-day movements of strangers behind apartment windows. “The project began when I inherited a telephoto bird-watching lens and started photographing the quotidian activity of my neighbours in the glass-walled apartment across the street from my Manhattan studio,” says Arne. “The subjects I photographed were unaware at the time but I was stringent about not revealing their identities. I was not photographing these people as specific, identifiable personages, but more as representations of human kind.” The result is no shots of full faces in the series, but rather a beautiful collection of body parts including bent knees under tables, shoulders leant against windows and silhouetted fingers reaching out towards something out of shot.

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Working_not_working_its_nice_that_li News / Miscellaneous Working Not Working reveals the top 50 companies creatives would kill to work for

    For the third consecutive year Working Not Working has surveyed its community to find out which companies they would “kill” to work for full-time. The sample of users that contributed to the survey is made up of 77% freelance and 23% full time employees who listed more than 300 different companies in their feedback.

    Owen Pritchard
  • Grads_hero_111 Regulars / The Graduates 2016 Oliver Marshall is a photography grad who wants to prove Martin Parr wrong

    Having studied photography in Bournemouth, the sea air has clearly informed Oliver Marshall’s work, much of which is sited in Margate. The seaside town on the Kentish coast has proved the perfect muse for Oliver, and his thoughtfully framed and beautifully coloured imagery captures the faded glamour of Dreamland as well as it does a discarded cigarette butt or a pretty girl in furs. The young creative’s Instagram is a similarly rich treasure trove of imagery that veers from dreamy skies to detritus with skill and ease to form a body of work by a chap who we reckon is very commissionable indeed.
    His work has arisen from not just a place of creativity, but one of pride. “Martin Parr once told me to quit, I suppose I’m trying to prove him wrong,” says Oliver. It was at the age of 16 as part of a local photography competition I was lucky enough to meet Martin Parr where I took the chance to show him my portfolio, which at the time was a combination of skatepark photos and portraits of my friends. Safe to say it was nothing special but something I was proud of.”
    Studying in Bournemouth, Oliver said that at times he found the restrictions of the time were a helpful catalyst in seeing him travel around the UK, and explore different areas. “That led me to more ideas and personal projects,” he says.”The best thing about going to university for me was the luxury of time, to have three years to develop, focus and find a way of working that suits me, just having the time to go out and take photos with my friends.”

    Emily Gosling
  • 04_cd-meditation-list Features / Miscellaneous Meditation and creativity: should we believe the hype?

    Perhaps a sign you’ve truly made it in your field is the suffix “ian.” Anything dream-based? Freudian. Anything presenting a terrifying, dystopian take on the modern condition? Ballardian. Anything dream-like, terrifying and somehow beautiful and erotic? Lynchian. Lynch’s creative vision is barely paralleled in modern filmmaking, many would say, and just as many would surely love even a sliver of that creativity and imagination. So to what does he attest that vision? Transcendental Meditation.

    Emily Gosling
  • Ethics_list_image_it's_nice_that Features / Graphic Design The only way is ethics: what are the moral obligations of a graphic designer?

    To a doctor, ethics are about keeping a patient alive. The modern Hippocratic oath that a doctor takes is the main example of this. A doctor must swear to "use treatments for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgement.” To a lawyer, the issue of ethics also relates primarily to treating clients well; although this is about ensuring that no conflicts of interest occur and that a lawyer keeps confidential any potentially damaging information they are told by a client. To a designer, at least a designer today, ethical issues are viewed as coming from the client. Rather than framing ethical questions in terms of how the designers themselves might behave professionally, designers frame these questions not around their own practice but around those of the client. What does the client do? Is this ethically acceptable or not? Indeed, is this politically acceptable or not?

    Tim Abrahams
  • Rca_int_list News / Miscellaneous Top ten art and design universities in the world announced

    The 2016 QS World University Rankings have named London’s Royal College of Art and the world’s best university for art and design, with the capital’s University of the Arts London taking fifth place.

    Emily Gosling
  • Kodak-symbol-retrobrand_list News / Graphic Design Kodak returns to its 1970s symbol, joining the retrobrand bandwagon

    Kodak is the latest company to undergo a retro rebranding, reverting to its symbol of 34 years. The Kodak “K” is back, originally designed by Peter J. Oestreich in 1971 and used by the photography brand until 2006, though the new iteration by Work-Order uses stacked capitalised type for the word Kodak inside the letterform.

    Jenny Brewer
  • News / Advertising PETA’s x-rated Super Bowl advert banned from TV (NSFW)

    PETA’s new advert, made to air during the commercial break in the NFL’s Super Bowl 50 next month, has been banned by television network CBS for its sexually explicit content. The advert shows a split screen of two couples having sex: the left is identified as a meat eater, the right is labelled vegan. The ad and its slogan, “Last longer. Go vegan”, is designed to educate men on how diet can affect their sex lives, and is intended to warn of the dangers of high cholesterol, which some studies have linked to diets heavy in meat, eggs and dairy.

    Alexander Hawkins
  • 00_list Features / Graphic Design Milton Glaser: we talk drawing, ethics, Shakespeare and Trump with the graphic design legend

    Milton Glaser is ready to talk ethics. It’s not the first time, either. Ours is one of a few recent interviews with the graphic designer and creator of the I ❤ NY logo, in which he addresses some of the moral demands of his trade – questions of whether graphic design ought to compromise its integrity for the sake of meeting a client’s demands. On the subject of advertisers and the designers who work for them, Glaser is clear. “Your obligation is to the client, and not necessarily the public. In some cases, you’re encouraging people to buy things that they don’t need, or encouraging them to move in a direction that does not serve them. Frequently in advertising – and PR and journalism as well – we have to persuade people to do things that we don’t really believe in and that they don’t really believe in. Should you participate in something that encourages people to do something that is not good for them? I consider that a core question for journalists and practitioners of graphic art, but it’s too frequently overlooked because it is too painful to answer.”

    Nathalie Olah
  • Its_nice_that Work / Photography Yoshinori Mizutani captures the colourful, rain soaked commuters of Tokyo

    “I always thought of rain as something gloomy and unpleasant,” says Tokyo-based Yoshinori Mizutani. “One day, however I stepped out into the city and realised how rain can alter our everyday landscape.” The photographer has shot a number of pedestrian crossings from an elevated vantage point as the citizens and traffic pass below. The monochromatic rhythm of the wet tarmac and road paint is interrupted by people dressed in brightly coloured clothes or passing traffic. The images are a vibrant snapshot of life on a grey day that that are carefully composed to preserve each individual’s anonymity. “Even the most mundane details such as wet ground and rain drops can reveal a whole new world to us if we observe them from a slightly different angle,” says Yoshinori. “Rain is one of my continuing attempts to present a new perspective and interpretation towards our often overlooked daily phenomenon.”

    Owen Pritchard
  • Nico_young_nytmag_its_nice_that_li Work / Photography 16-year-old photographer Nico Young shoots the New York Times Magazine cover

    For the most recent issue of the New York Times Magazine, 16-year-old photographer Nico Young was commissioned to shoot a photo essay and cover. Nico, a student at Santa Monica High in California, was instructed by Kathy Ryan, director of photography at the magazine, to “document the timeless rituals of high school – the mad dash between classes, lunchtime cliques, yearbook signings, the prom, and dissections in the science lab. When the athletes and band members returned for preseason practice in August, he was there to document that too.”

    Owen Pritchard
  • List Features / Graphic Design Pop, subcultures and the future of graphic design: an interview with Experimental Jetset

    Forming in 1997 and united by a love of post-punk music and aesthetics, Amsterdam-based graphic design studio Experimental Jetset went on to become one of the most important and influential practices of the past 20 years. Even those outside of the graphic design bubble will have seen their work: this is the gang behind that oft-plagiarised John & Paul & Ringo & George T-shirt, set out in Helvetica and reinventing the band top in doing so. The three founding members Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen took the studio’s name from 1994’s Sonic Youth album Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (more on that story here), and those alternative pop culture references still loom large. Nearly two decades since forming, Experimental Jetset’s installation works and graphics have now been housed in the likes of the Stedelijk Museum, Centre Pompidou, Dutch Post Group and New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art.

    Emily Gosling
  • Imperfection_booklets_its_nice_that_3 Work / Graphic Design The Imperfection Booklets by O.OO explain the nuances of Risograph printing

    Taipei-based studio O.OO has printed a guide to Risograph printing that embraces all of the imperfections and difficulties that are associated with the process. “For the last two years we have been witness to so many different situations and stories with our customers, that we have come to see our studio as a theatre of sorts – as the stage for printing narratives to unfold,” say the designers. Two booklets have been produced, the first breaks information about the Risograph process down into a simple graphic language to show what results are possible when printing using the technique and the second explores the use of different inks and paperstocks to provide an overview of what outcomes can be expected using chosen media.

    Owen Pritchard
  • Brian_finke_ny_times_int_list Work / Photography Sad lunches and awkward eating faces: Brian Finke captures desktop dining

    Lunching at your desk is never a glamorous affair; crumbs gather in your keyboard, mayo gets smeared on your mouse and the reality of spending more time at your desk at work than at home slowly sets in as you gulp down the low fat yoghurt you bought as a “treat”. Capturing the banality, misery and tediousness of eating at your desk is American photographer Brian Finke for The New York Times Magazine earlier this year. Known for his bold, colour-saturated style of photography, like the bodybuilders we showed last year, here Brian manages to elevate the act of eating a sandwich next to a computer into a cinematic affair. Brashly lit with the focus solely on the eater and their lunch, never has a Tesco meal deal seemed so compelling. 

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Jean-jullien-its-nice-that-list News / Animation Jean and Nicolas Jullien create animation for International Women's Day

    The Jullien Brothers has released an animation to mark International Women’s Day. The short shows the story of a woman’s life through the puberty milestone of shaving her armpits to meeting her partner, having a family, relationship breakdown and death. There are a few constants, like her red hair and the red hair of her daughter, whose life seems to mirror that of her mother. It’s a sad story, thanks to the music – The Coward’s, Adieu – for which the animation provides the music video.

    Emily Gosling
  • Build_int_list Work / Graphic Design Build and the Nike brand team creates bold branding for Nike’s Track and Field line

    Leeds-based design agency Build has been commissioned by the Nike brand team to create the new look and feel for its 2016 Track and Field line. Art directed by Rebecca Parker from Nike, the team has created an extensive graphics system, which includes a typeface, graphic marks, patterns and bespoke numerals. Eye-catching in white and red, the distinct shapes and symbols embody the spray-painted markings seen on running tracks and sports fields.
    The numbers are wonderfully chunky and remind us of the logotype created for the Mexico 1968 Olympics, designed by Lance Wyman. Fresh and punchy, the branding will be applied to advertisements, apparel and events. Strengthening the project is Carlos Serrao’s athlete photography, which grounds the branding and gives it context. He’s shot with Nike before as well as other sporty clients including Adidas, Speedo and Reebok. Here his images strengthen the graphics giving each a dynamism and power that would be hard to achieve without them. 

    Rebecca Fulleylove

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