Regulars / Review of the Year 2018

Review of the Year 2018: Top 25 Graphic Design

You can’t have failed to notice how much attention It’s Nice That focuses on graphic design. This year we have, as ever, cast a gaze over everything from big name commercial work to the fantastic self-initiated projects that feel as fresh now as they did the first day they arrived perfectly formed in our inbox. Practitioners and enthusiasts alike, consider this a crash course in the year that was in graphic design.

  • Studiofeixen-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design The year of the gif: Studio Feixen’s multitude of moving posters

    During 2017 Swiss graphic designers Studio Feixen expanded its impressive portfolio even wider. The studio redesigned the widely read Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten for the day, it created a Hermés Christmas perfume campaign with ping-pong balls and diamonds, it made a digital music playing poster for cultural evening Oto Nové Swiss, and contributed to a campaign for trainer fanatics’ favourite day of the year, Air Max Day. Due to these landmark design achievements it’s safe to say the studio had a pretty brilliant year, one that was met with personal achievements too, and to celebrate they made an animation for each.

    Lucy Bourton
  • The-history-of-graphic-design-1890-1959-jens-muller-taschen_publication_itsnicethat-cover-list Work / Graphic Design The History of Graphic Design: Volume One charts iconic work from 1890–1959

    The History of Graphic Design 1890–1959 is a hefty book with an equally weighty mission – to chart the most iconic and important landmark works of the global graphic design industry. Aiming to aggregate such a wealth of work in one place, and be representative, is no small undertaking but the impressive title holds its own. Beginning with essays by the book’s author Jens Müller and fellow writer David Jury in English, French and German, the following large format pages are filled with a chronological, pictorial evolution of the medium throughout the years, a timeline of vital reference material for anyone studying, practicing or passionate about graphic design’s impact on the world. Here we publish an adapted extract from Jens’ introduction to volume one of his vast project.

    Jens Müller
  • Pangpangpang-interactive-posters-work-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Are interactive, digital posters set to overtake the printed poster?

    We are now living in the age where digital media totally co-exists with reality. The creative industries have to rethink ways of representing objects in present time. One of the emerging ways to do this is with interactive posters. With a format that sticks to the international paper sizes, interactive posters are not so far removed from the traditionally printed poster, but offer a more appropriate means of communication for the LED screen that have popped up everywhere, including the local bus stop. PangPangPang is a Korean graphic design studio utilising interactive posters for the International Typographic Biennale: Typojanchi saisai 2018-19 in Seoul.

    Jyni Ong
  • Rikakonagashima-shuta_hasunumau-zhaan-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Rikako Nagashima's analytical approach to graphic design makes for satisfying results

    From looking at the vast portfolio of Rikako Nagashima, it’s clear the Japanese designer has an analytical eye for graphic form. Since graduating from Musashino Art University and establishing her studio village® in 2014, Rikako has jumped off the graphic design springboard to work on “branding, CI, VI, product design, package design, editorial design, sign planning, art direction and so on,” she says.

    Lucy Bourton
  • Jay-vaz-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Designer Jay Vaz combines his love of music and analogue art in a colourful and textural portfolio

    For 20-year-old Londoner Jay Vaz, music and design have always been inexplicably linked. His early years, exposed to “amazing jazz and soul music” has influenced and informed his career which sees him producing music and DJing as well as creating visual matter for gigs, nights and festivals. Jay’s portfolio is packed full of exciting and vibrant work, made all the more impressive when you consider how young he is.

    Ruby Boddington
  • Studiodumbar-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-1list Work / Graphic Design Studio Dumbar on its dynamic identity for youth foundation Jeugdfonds

    The legendary Rotterdam-based Studio Dumbar is known for some of the most iconic identities since its establishment in 1977. Its creative team has designed some of the Holland’s most recognisable visual identities, including rebrands for the Dutch railway systems, the Dutch government, Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery and the budget airline Transavia. The studio can now add another impressive project to its list of achievements: the dynamic and vibrant work for children’s cultural institutions Jeugdsportfonds – Youth Sport Foundation – and Jeugdcultuurfonds – Youth Culture Foundation.

    Daphne Milner
  • Matthew-mccarthy-saul-bass-archive-work-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list2 Work / Graphic Design The Saul Bass Archive looks back on the trailblazer’s rare poster design

    There are few graphic designers who are as influential as Saul Bass. A newly compiled collection of his work, the Saul Bass Archive, proves this in particular, consisting of a multitude of rarities from the designer’s personal collection; from original silkscreen posters to less well-known, non-film posters. The graphic design legend is known for his exemplary film poster design, creating the seminal poster work for The Shining, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and The Man with the Golden Arm. By the turn of the century, the typical film poster of two film stars’ heads collaged together at different angles became a tiresome aesthetic. Pioneering designers like Saul Bass offered a revolutionary, illustrative alternative to Hollywood’s blockbusters, stripping back the visuals into a concise artwork. Saul famously described the design process as “thinking made visible”, emphasising the conceptual nature of design rather than the contractual demands of movie stars and production studios.

    Jyni Ong
  • Motherdesign-callenlorde-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-08 Work / Graphic Design Mother Design creates an empowering identity for LGBTQ health organisation, Callen-Lorde

    Mother Design’s New York office has created a boldly colourful and impactful identity for Callen-Lorde, a community centre for LGBTQ healthcare. Across its programmes, services and two locations in New York, it’s an organisation dedicated to providing healthcare to the city’s “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities — in all their diversity — regardless of ability to pay”. An institution of such devotion and sensitive care deserves approachable, awe-inspiring graphic design, and Mother Design have done exactly that.

    Lucy Bourton
  • Ryanormsby-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design “I love the imperfections, the grains and the stains": Ryan Ormsby on his creative approach

    Ryan Ormsby is a graphic designer based just outside of the San Francisco Bay area who has accumulated an impressive portfolio of nostalgic, vintage-inspired posters. After discovering that a sociology degree wasn’t for him, Ryan took some time out to reconsider what he wanted to do. “I started taking some basic design classes at City College of San Francisco to see if that was something I was interested in,” Ryan tells It’s Nice That. The answer was obviously yes and, since then, the artist has been busy producing a large body of engaging and visually stimulating work. 

    Daphne Milner
  • Listgen_image_01 Work / Graphic Design Wolff Olins on the tech-fuelled future of the humancentric rebrand

    As many companies rebrand in a way that increasingly seems generic and homogenous, the way we consider branding needs to change, argues Chris Moody, chief design officer at brand consultancy Wolff Olins. Chris suggests that we have come to a pivot point where virtual reality, augmented reality and voice-activation are changing the way we define brand presence. A brand identity must now be an ‘intelligent identity’, that uses responsive assets, new platforms and technologies to create a conversation on a human level, and at scale.

    Chris Moody

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