The (near) ban of Uber and a united front: a look back at September 2017


20 December 2017


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Google Design’s goal is to connect, support, and inspire designers and design technologists.

September appeared to be a month of both protest and progress across the globe. Throughout 2017, black American NFL players took a stand against Donald Trump and a country that oppresses black and minority ethnic groupd by doing exactly the opposite and choosing to kneel during pre-game national anthems. This came to a head in September when a wave of protests broke out, beginning at Wembley Stadium in London.

Staying in London, Kwame Kwei-Armah was named the new artistic director of the Young Vic, marking a major step forward for diversity in British theatre – he will commence the role in 2018. Despite this good news, Londoners (and I’m sure many others) were given a real scare when Transport for London seemed poised to ban Uber for good.

Moving further afield, women in Saudi Arabia were granted the right to drive and Banksy announced that the Walled Off hotel in the Palestinian territories will open a gift shop and sell some of his latest works for the first time in four years.

It wasn’t just the sporting world that was voicing its opinions. The Guggenheim was forced to pull three artworks following threats of violence; power couple Viola Davis and Julius Tennon continued their mission to change the face of Hollywood diversity; and painter Henry Christian-Slane donated part of his BP prize money to Greenpeace in a protest against oil sponsorship.

First and foremost, get your teeth stuck in to some of September’s best long-form features

We caught up with Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag on a rainy Paris morning to find out about the ongoing conversations that define M/M (Paris’) practice

Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani talks us through blagging – the cunning art of talking people into things which is commonplace in the creative industry because it often feels like the last resort. But does it have to be?

Wonderbly told us about its experience undertaking My Golden Ticket – a step back through the gates of the Wonka Factory for a new generation of readers.

The news stories we couldn’t keep quiet about…

The revelation of the new UKIP logo was met with instant ridicule for its similarity to the Premier League’s marque.

Museums and galleries were catapulted into a potential future with the introduction of Smartify, the Shazam of the art world.

Everyone basically lost their minds when Wes Anderson released the full trailer for his upcoming stop-motion animation Isle of Dogs.

In the moving image world…

Frances Hazard created a music video for Julien Dyne’s track Hours, that takes place in the incoherent mind of somebody post-breakup.

César Pelizer shares some of his latest doodles

César Pelizer is an illustrator and animator based in London, currently working as a director at motion studio weareseventeen. In September we caught up with César to find out about his unique animations that mix 2D and 3D to create humorous characters, all set against coloured backdrops. Desperate to see more, for this year’s Review of the Year, we asked him to share some of his most recent work and talk us through where he gets his ideas from.

“My ideas come from different places: it could be the lyrics of a song or maybe someone I’ve seen walking down the street and that could trigger an idea for some doodles in my sketchbook that later could lead to a illustration, an animated gif or maybe even a short film.

The first steps are always on paper but the final result is often completely different, as the first idea always evolves into something else and that’s the best part – in my case I appreciate the journey from sketch to final work more than the final result itself.”

Elsewhere on the site…

Emma Hardy warmed us with her personal portfolio documenting the tender and quirky moments of family life.


Emma Hardy

We caught up with graphic designer Bradley Pinkerton to find out more about his projects combining handmade gestures with scanned-in textures


Bradley Pinkerton

How do you make a sweaty club look tempting in the hot summer months? You call design studio Lennarts & de Bruijn to make you a series of naughty moving posters.


Lennarts & de Bruijn


Lennarts & de Bruijn


Lennarts & de Bruijn


Lennarts & de Bruijn


Lennarts & de Bruijn

Lots of fun was being had on social media…

September was the month we launched a whole host of brand spanking new social media bits and bobs, allowing us to work with some of our faves here at It’s Nice That, whilst also getting to know them a lot better. We caught up with Alex Norris, Julian Glander and Stefan Marx who contributed a weekly comic, “one day with” and monthly brief respectively to hear a bit more about what they did and what they’re looking forward to in 2018.

Our weekly comic invites illustrators from all over the place to tell a short story in no more than nine images. So far we’ve had talking stones from Nadine Redlich, philosophical existential crisis’ from Julian Glander and some blobs struggling with issues that are just far too real for anyone working in the creative industries from Alex Norris.

Alex is the “cartoon human with a plastic hand sidekick” whose signature three panel “oh no” comics are not shy of an Instagram like or two (or 20,000). In terms of what he’s looking forward to in 2018, we’ll let him say it: “The big shiny Webcomic Name Book will be coming out some time in 2018! Plus some themed “oh no” mini-books that I’m self-publishing, so we can see how badly a digital webcomic translates into analogue book form (oh no).”


Alex Norris

Since its launch in August 2016, Instagram Stories has filtered slowly but surely into our everyday lives and with more daily users now than Snapchat, we felt it was our time to jump on the bandwagon. Taking place once a week, our “one day with” takeover allows an access-all-areas tour of the studios and daily lives of several creatives. We ask them to document any given day to provide an insight into their process and the city they live in. So far we’ve travelled from London, to Berlin, Frankfurt, Shanghai, and right back to the bright light of Hastings.

Back in October, it was New York that we were all transported to courtesy of Julian Glander. Julian told us how, in 2018, he’s got “BIG projects coming out! I spent all of 2k17 under a bunch of different NDAs, bubbling and fermenting with cool stuff I can’t show anyone.” Outside of his own creative practice he’s, “counting the days until the new Wes Anderson movie and the midterm elections where we’re gonna get rid of a bunch of the yucky grimy politicians on our side of the pond.” 

Last but not least, we kicked off our monthly spot which invites one creative from across the world to invent a creative brief which everyone, no matter your talents can get involved in and to pick their favourites at the end of the week to be featured on It’s Nice That.

We started with “take a surreal self portrait” from photographer Juno Calypso who requested you do so “using your phone. Maybe it’s a portrait of your alter ego, maybe it’s that weird dream you had, or maybe you have no idea what you are doing but you’re doing it anyway. Your subconscious, your rules, have fun.” Next up was Stefan Marx who set the brief: “Draw a portrait of your pet and include its strangest behaviour.” Below are his top picks.

Georgie Thompson shared her opinions on gender in packing design…

Georgie Thompson from Design Bridge Amsterdam looks at how branding design is adapting to an increasingly gender neutral marketplace, with mixed results in Gender-less or Gender-more? Addressing gender in product branding

Nina Manandhar told us what her most inspirational books were for September’s bookshelf…

With clients including Nike, Adidas, Tate and the British Council and editorial featured in Law, i-D and Riposte, Nina is a photographer who retains her sense of self what ever the project. So it only seemed right to ask her what sits proudly on her bookshelf – from a 20p children’s book about Eid to a photobook about Switzerland’s version of the Hells Angels, Nina shared yet more stories of interesting people.

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.

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.

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