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This Worked 2017 The most popular pieces of the year

It feels bad to rank creativity by popularity, turning artistic endeavour into a sort of grotesque beauty pageant. That being said, it’s interesting to see which pieces topped our This Works charts this year, as long as we all remember that winning isn’t everything!

ustwo games: Monument Valley 2

The launch of much-loved game Monument Valley 2 – announced by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference – was a Big Deal in 2017. Our in-depth interview with its creator included an exclusive peek into the ustwo team’s notebooks. Read more.

alt-J and Young Replicant: Deadcrush

alt-J’s Deadcrush is a song about which historical figures you’d like to…well, you know. Young Replicant’s accompanying video was launched on our platform this year, alongside an enjoyably weird interview with the band. Read more.

Ana Popescu

The Romania-born, Austria-based illustrator had a bit of a breakthrough year with her colorful, architectural work popping up all over the place. Little surprise then to find her nestled to high up on our most-read chart. Read more.

Merijn Hos

Dutch creative Merijn Hos is impressively versatile. Scroll through his portfolio and you’re treated with a lot of energetic work, but this quiet, stripped-back Planets series was a big hit this year, alongside his very honest interview. Read more.

Elian Chali

To Argentina, where the stunning street art stylings of Elian Chali proved very popular. This image of the three geometric shapes on a wall in Belgium still seems sort of impossible, however long you stare at it. Read more.

Henn Kim

Part of Your Work Here, where we gave over curation of our wallpapers to you, the users. Henn Kim’s narrative illustrations were a big hit; praised by judge Malika Favre for resonating “with my emotions as well as my brain.” Read more.

Nadia Lee Cohen x WeTransfer Studios: The American Worker

It started with a striking looking Walmart employee; it grew into Nadia Lee Cohen’s brilliant portrait of American workers shot with movie-star style. The piece also included audio commentaries on the images recorded by Nadia herself. Read more.

Alessandro Paglia

Another of our Your Work Here cadre, Alessandro’s amazing hyper-real drawings were a stand-out success. In selecting them, Anthony Burrill highlighted their combination of “technical precision” and “a strange, surreal quality.” Read more.

Akasha Rabut: Southern Riderz

Akasha Rabut’s picture of two men standing on horses is arguably the most-loved single image we featured this year. This excellent series documents horse enthusiasts who roam the streets of her hometown, New Orleans. Read more.

Scott Listfield

We followed Scott Listfield’s lonely spaceman from strangely-signed woodlands to sculpture-strewn deserts, and you know what? We’d do it again. It’s a really nice interview too, which covers everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Kim Kardashian. Read more.

Alex Booker

The London-based printmaker creates beautifully textural works inspired mainly by the sea. They look great, but only when Alex talks about his process and the ideas that underpin his imagery, can we fully appreciate quite how magical they are. Read more.

Carolina Mizrahi

Another Londoner, Carolina does two things which aren’t nearly as easy as they seem. 1. She uses color in genuinely innovative ways, and 2. She creates work that is unashamedly weird, but weird in a rich and rewarding way. Read more.

Ziyah Gafic

Brilliant Bosnian photographer Ziyah Gafic uses his camera to tell important, serious tales. His series Short Stories from Troubled Societies tracks the quiet side of war-torn countries and how they recover. Read more.

We Make Carpets

Cocktail umbrellas? Paperclips? Forks? Dutch collective We Make Carpets create amazing photographs…nah just kidding. They make carpets, obvs. Here they explain, how, why and what happens when enthusiastic gallery-goers try and touch their installations. Read more.

Jan Buchczik: Of Coursica

How does jet-lag feel? And how would you represent that visually? Illustrator Jan Buchzik took that as his starting point and created an excellent zine full of bizarre imagery, from a seal chilling on a lamppost to a post-box emerging from the undergrowth. Read more.

Mico Toledo: Faces of Standing Rock

Mico Toledo is the only artist to appear in all three of our ranking-based 2017 best-of lists. That makes sense; not only do his photographs of protestors against the Standing Rock oil pipeline thrum with personality, they humanize one of the biggest news stories of the year. Read more.

Ayse Birsel: Design The Life You Love

Designers are very good at finding the right solutions do difficult problems. But can these same principles be applied to someone’s life? Yes, according to Ayse Birsel who’s on a mission to have us unpick the way we live our lives and rebuild our worlds according to what matters. Read more.

David Galasse

Designer David Galasse is equally at home designing bespoke typefaces as he is creating his own illustrations. His work intrigues and impresses in equal measure, and his interview included the excellent quote, “You would not want to go into a meme-making war with the Brazilians!” Read more.

Rankin x WeTransfer Studios: The Backstage Sessions

A labor of love for Rankin, The Backstage Sessions was a documentary series which celebrated some of music’s most iconic pictures and the photographers who took them. From Jimi Hendrix to Kate Bush, the three short films shine a light on three masters of their craft. Read more.

Zoë Croggon

We featured Australian artist Zoe Croggon right at the start of the year, but her mind-bending sports collages continued to turn heads throughout 2017. Her intelligent, insightful interview adds the conceptual context to the fantastic visuals. Read more.

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  • 1. ustwo games: Monument Valley 2
  • 2. alt-J and Young Replicant: Deadcrush
  • 3. Ana Popescu
  • 4. Merijn Hos
  • 5. Elian Chali
  • 6. Henn Kim
  • 7. Nadia Lee Cohen x WeTransfer Studios: The American Worker
  • 8. Alessandro Paglia
  • 9. Akasha Rabut: Southern Riderz
  • 10. Scott Listfield
  • 11. Alex Booker
  • 12. Carolina Mizrahi
  • 13. Ziyah Gafic
  • 14. We Make Carpets
  • 15. Jan Buchczik: Of Coursica
  • 16. Mico Toledo: Faces of Standing Rock
  • 17. Ayse Birsel: Design The Life You Love
  • 18. David Galasse
  • 19. Rankin x WeTransfer Studios: The Backstage Sessions
  • 20. Zoë Croggon