A letter from our editor: Getting through these tough and turbulent times

The current crisis is already impacting the creative community, but countless initiatives and schemes are being set up to help.

19 March 2020

Anyone working in the creative industry in any capacity will by now be only too aware that the current crisis represents a genuinely unprecedented challenge. Even putting aside the risks to health that we all face to a greater or lesser degree, the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is already revealing itself, promising a tough few months at the very least. From students whose campuses have been shut down, to freelance creatives who are seeing commissions dry up, to heads of design studios, agencies and creative businesses who are fearing for the future, this crisis affects us all.

Over the past week, it’s been truly inspiring and uplifting to see the creative community rallying together, offering help where possible, and advice and guidance where necessary. It would take thousands of words to list all the initiatives people within the creative community have been launching, but it’s worth pointing to just a few examples that demonstrate the sense of togetherness this crisis has engendered.

We’ve seen creatives – including Jessica Walsh, Eike König and Sara Andreasson – banding together for support and to get the message across that everyone needs to be staying home right now. We’ve seen dozens of Slack communities being set up, including ones for studio owners (launched by Ben Steers, co-founder and creative director of Fiasco Design); for illustrators (set up by Ben the Illustrator); for design event organisers (by Nick Finck, founder of Craft and Rigor and curator of UXSeattle.org). Marguerite (a members’ organisation for women in the arts) has launched a forum to help freelancers without work. There are undoubtedly countless more popping up around the world.

We’ve also spotted hundreds of creatives of all stripes offering up their time over video calls for students and young designers who need guidance at this time. Again, it’s impossible to list everyone here, but some people we’ve come across doing such things include Carly Ayres at Google Design, who has stepped up her “digital coffees”, portfolio reviews, and calls to action for others to get involved; Liz Wells, senior UX designer at Stink Studios, who is offering to give portfolio advice to any aspiring UX designers; Christopher Algar, a visiting lecturer in Graphic Design and Visual Communications at Lincoln University and Norwich University of Creative Arts, who has issued a call for all professionals to provide mentoring for students impacted by the ongoing disruption. The creative community is exactly that – a community – and it’s proving so right now, in the hardest of times.

It’s also really encouraging to see this happening not just at a local grassroots level, but also at a corporate level. Headspace, the meditation app, has offered up free content for health workers who are bearing the brunt of this crisis more than anyone. Adobe has offered free at-home access to Creative Cloud for students whose campuses have been closed. Similarly, the online learning community Skillshare has opened up its extensive list of unique class offerings for students to access for free.

At It’s Nice That, we’re redoubling our efforts to bring you the stories and creative work that we all need, right now more than ever. Staying true to our mission of 13 years to champion creativity in all its forms, we’ll continue over the coming days, weeks and months to highlight the best creative work being made around the world today. We believe we can play a role in bringing our readers a slice of joy each day by continuing to celebrate great work. After all, we were set up 13 years ago in response to a second-year university brief, which was asked our founder Will to “put something out in the world that makes people feel better”. Never has that been more needed.

Some things will be changing, however. For instance, we’ve postponed the March edition of Nicer Tuesdays and pushed it back to September. We’re also shaking up our editorial output to support our audience however we can. So, on Monday we’ll be launching a Weekly Brief on Instagram and will encourage everyone to take part to stay inspired and keep spirits as high as possible. We’re also going to be shifting our content towards covering the projects and initiatives that are helping support the creative community during the crisis.

And this is where you all come in. We want to hear from you during these tough times. What are the stories you’d like us to be telling over the coming days, weeks and months? What advice do you need and what support can It’s Nice That offer? Do you want tips from creatives who have been through similar hardships or to hear some of the positives coming out of the current climate? Or are you most of all just looking for some much-needed light relief? If you have any thoughts on this, please send me an email at ma@itsnicethat.com and make sure the subject line reads “Story Suggestion”. I’ll do my best to look over your suggestions and to use these to inform our editorial plans going forward.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and well.

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