While all our other 2017 lists are based on numbers alone, this is our list of the pieces which didn’t make the run-downs elsewhere. Our team hand-picked 20 pieces we loved this year, to revisit and celebrate them, and prove to our future robot overlords that human curation does still have a place.
Debbie Millman x MODA: Text Me
In a wide ranging chat with creative polymath Debbie Millman, we covered language, design, the relationship between the two and the magic behind her Design Matters podcast. The wonderful Jun Cen illustrations helped bring it to life even more. Read more.
Creativity can be cool and serious, and it can be fun and frivolous. Amber Vittoria’s work manages both at once, with her fabulous fashion-inspired images that look brilliant, but also contain critiques of this industry she so loves. Read more.
A self-taught director and photographer Yoni Lappin’s work is cool and contemporary, but it has heart as well. He’s at that stage of his career where he has a recongizable style, but also a really open-mind about what his work could and should be. Read more.
Paula Scher: Maps
Paula Scher is one of the world’s most influential graphic designers, but we focused on the map paintings which she makes alongside her peerless client work. The interview went in an unexpected political direction, but ended up being one of the most interesting pieces of the year. Read more.
Ami Vitale: Pandas Gone Wild
Once again we partnered with the World Press Photo this year to showcase some of this year’s amazing selection. Ami Vitale’s panda project stood out, not only for its terrific visuals (that sassy panda!) but also for a story that touched on ecology and national identity. Read more.
Hannah Schneider and Kate Stone: How We End
The mixture of emotions unleashed when a relationship ends is universally recognisable. But finding new, interesting ways to capture and reflect those feelings is tricky. That’s why this innovative approach to storytelling impressed us so much. Read more.
Artis: We Changed A Zoo
We are always interested in telling stories of creativity in unusual or unexpected contexts. So the story of how a former film producer reimagined Amsterdam zoo was right up our street. It’s a compelling read and those vintage zoo posters just top it off nicely. Read more.
Cemre Yesil and Maria Sturm: For Birds Sake
The secretive subculture of Istanbul’s bird-men – who keep song birds in concealed cages – is an interesting story enough. But the fact this group is under threat makes this a compelling tale of modernisation and tradition, handled beautifully by two very talented creatives. Read more.
A Tale of One City: New Orleans
In one of our most unusual commissions of the year, we asked two writers to respond to the fascinating city of New Orleans. Poet Warsan Shire – of Lemonade fame – wrote a love letter to the city, while local poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball replied on behalf of her hometown. Read more.
Taxi Fabric is a simple enough idea – Sanket Avlani asks local designers to create eye-catching interiors for some of Mumbai’s iconic taxis. But by doing so, he gives us a wonderful insight into the creative scene in India’s most vibrant city. Read more.
Jennifer Bolande: Visible Distance/Second Sight
For this year’s Desert X festival in California, artist Jennifer Bolande bought up billboards along the busy Gene Autry Trail. She then installed giant photographs of the scenery the billboards would otherwise be blocking, creating a thought-provoking meditation on how we see our surroundings. Read more.
Kamasi Washington x WeTransfer
We worked with jazz supremo Kamasi Washington throughout 2017 as he expanded his creative horizons even further. This piece premiered one of the tracks from his new album and took us into his one-of-a-kind creative mind. Read more.
Andrey Kassay’s illustration of the man lying face down on a staircase was (by far) the picture which tickled our social media followers the most in 2017. We are not sure what we can learn from that, but we do know the Moscow-based image-maker is one-to-watch. Read more.
Nicolas Burrows: The Elephant Hotel
This year we partnered again with the East London Comics Arts Festival (ELCAF) on a grant to create a book that would not otherwise be published. Nicolas Burrows was our inaugural winner, with his charming tale of a hotel for elephants. Read more.
That eye! That blinking eye in the rose! Have mercy! One of the weirdest features of the year, Sam Cannon’s unsettling animations still haunt our dreams. Not only did we love them, we also enjoyed the very polarised reaction they provoked when we put them online. Read more.
Aleksey Kondratyev: Ice Fishers
Yes, these are pictures of men sitting in bags fishing through the ice. But from this strange starting point, Aleksey Kondratyev takes us into a world we have almost no knowledge of, and asks questions about identity, community and how we look at pictures. Read more.
Gilles Peterson x WeTransfer Studios: The Psychology of Djing
This year we partnered with long-time collaborator Gilles Peterson on our first original podcast series. The Psychology of Djing is a series of intimate chats with some of the world’s best DJs which dig into how they deal with life behind the decks. Read more.
Peradam Capital: Observatories
This summer’s solar eclipse was a spectacular moment to look up and think about our place in the universe. Artist Matthew Day Jackson went even further, working with a group of collaborators to create a site-specific exhibition in the rugged American West. Includes a great moose anecdote too. Read more.
Andy Rementer: The Summer of Love
To mark the 50th anniversary of the hippy high point, the Summer of Love, we asked Andy Rementer to create a set of images inspired by the spirit of that event. We also reflected on the legacy of the hippie ideas and ideals, half a century later. Read more.
Artist Chiharu Shiota creates huge, intricate installations using meters of thread. She spoke beautifully about her practice in this interview, explaining her objective for gallery-goers – “I want them to dig deep into their souls so they can question our sense of belonging.” Read more.
More from This Worked 2017
Stay with stories from our 2017 review of the year
- 1. Debbie Millman x MODA: Text Me
- 2. Amber Vittoria
- 3. Yoni Lappin
- 4. Paula Scher: Maps
- 5. Ami Vitale: Pandas Gone Wild
- 6. Hannah Schneider and Kate Stone: How We End
- 7. Artis: We Changed A Zoo
- 8. Cemre Yesil and Maria Sturm: For Birds Sake
- 9. A Tale of One City: New Orleans
- 10. Taxi Fabric
- 11. Jennifer Bolande: Visible Distance/Second Sight
- 12. Kamasi Washington x WeTransfer
- 13. Andrey Kasay
- 14. Nicolas Burrows: The Elephant Hotel
- 15. Sam Cannon
- 16. Aleksey Kondratyev: Ice Fishers
- 17. Gilles Peterson x WeTransfer Studios: The Psychology of Djing
- 18. Peradam Capital: Observatories
- 19. Andy Rementer: The Summer of Love
- 20. Chiharu Shiota