The Fox Is Black — Top 10 of 2022
These are a few of my favorite things! Looking back on '22, there was a lot of beautiful creative out there
Soooo that’s a wrap on 2022! For this week’s edition, we’re taking a look back at my favorite everythings of the year. There was so much creativity that came in 2022, perhaps in spite of the weight of the past few years. I have this feeling that there’s an energy building, like we as a society are starting to pick up steam again. Perhaps we’re more adaptable to change, better ready to face the hardships that come our way?
That’s the optimist in me talking. The realist part of me says, “keep listening to the charming, optimistic side of yourself but gird your loins (lol) and prepare for sudden changes or unexpected outcomes. Ni modo, así es la vida.
Hope your holiday is relaxing and filled with bubbly wine 💙
Favorite Design Project ✨ — iconwerks' Braun Linear →
Braun’s products have literally shaped our entire generation of tools (phones, laptops, etc.) so helping to shape the way they communicate must have been huge for iconwerks. Where this succeeded for me is how the typeface hits that sweet spot between simple and full of small, charming elements. Plus, the overall presentation is so strong, helping the viewer get a sense of how this project comes to life.
Favorite Lil' Creative Agency ✨ — Smith & Diction →
It’s always so great to see smaller agencies making great work, and I feel it’s incredibly important to support them. One creative agency that stood out to me this year was Smith & Diction, who created some of my favorite projects of the year. There was the massive, sprawling work they did for Rail Park, or how they made the coolest looking mark for a terrazzo and tile company. Most recently, they completed a dynamic, uncontainable brand project for Paradigm. They consistently deliver a lot with a small and incredibly talented team, and the way their case studies are absolutely enviable. Hire these folks with that FY’23 budget!
Favorite Large Creative Agency ✨ — COLLINS →
There is something in the water over at Collins. They’ve been on a roll for the last few years (sweetgreen, San Francisco Symphony, Crane) and this year was no different. There was a dynamic, text-forward approach to their work on Open Web. The clean, shape-based take for Girl Scouts, which turned out to be quite controversial. And one of their most recent, which may be the design project of the year for many, was their reimagining of KALW, the Bay Area radio station (above), which took it’s inspiration from “jazz and classical concert posters from the 1950s and 1960s.”
Favorite Font ✨ — Soap Bubbles →
Earlier this year, I was digging around for a unique font for a client, something left-of-center for a brand that’s straightforward. I eventually found Soap Bubbles, an SVG font that looks like realistic bubbles. It’s very silly, but honestly, it looks so good on top of any image you put it on. Please convince a client to use this in my honor (and send me photos).
Favorite Controversy ✨ — Goop Mommy fibs about her Ruth Asawa →
Look, there is no shame in buying knock offs of designer products you can’t afford. Shit is expensive, and it’s no one’s business but your own… Except maybe if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow, you’re worth $200 million dollars, and you invite Architectural Digest into your home. tl;dr the sculpture in question was misidentified as a Ruth Asawa original, then they cropped/photoshopped it to disappear. That was a fun day on Twitter.
Favorite Interior Design Project ✨ — Aimé Leon Dore London Shop →
Since I’m in London, shopping was top of my list, as was popping over to the new Aimé Leon Dore shop in Soho. They’ve created a space that feels like an old, smokey men’s tore, filled with all sorts of bric-a-brac, incredibly thought out details, and a sense of warmth that I haven’t experienced in my places.
Favorite Artist ✨ — Salman Toor →
There was really one artist that consistently popped into my head this year and that was Salmon Toor. I was able to see my first piece of his back in March at Jeffrey Deitch in LA, and then his work was featured as the film poster for Joyland. There’s something so magical in his use of color and light, bridging a gap between classical painting and contemporary life. Kyle, if when you read this, all I want for X-Mas is a Salman Toor painting!
Favorite Illustrator ✨ — Gizem Vural →
I wrote about Gizem Vural in November and her work still stands out as incredibly powerful. I love the energy of her pieces, the Kandisky-esque sense of motion, and the way her work is able to condense quite complex editorial pieces into a single, descriptive image. Lay off the AI and hire Gizem!
Favorite Album ✨ — Joji / ‘SMITHEREENS’ →
Without a doubt, ‘SMITHEREENS’ is the record I kept coming back to in 2023. My initial reaction was, “oh, James Blake, got it.” But Joji’s record has so much more sentimentality than Blake’s songs. There’s this sweet, melancholy nature to each track, and each is an earworm, I find myself humming his songs as I walk around town. Listen to “Dissolve” and you’ll immediately understand.
Favorite Mix ✨ — Fred Again… - Boiler Room Mix →
There were many great mixes this year but none stood a chance at the boundless joy and energy of Fred Again..’s Boiler Room mix. It’s pure alchemy, the right tracks, an amazing crowd, the mood and vibes just right. It’s hard to listen to his EPs and albums as they can’t hold a candle to this feeling.