The top seven creative collaborations of 2015

Liana Tallarico

December 11, 2015

2015 collaborations illustration by Luke Bott

2015 has been a great year for collaboration. The worlds of art and commerce have brought together people and brands with idiosyncratic beliefs, talents and perspectives to create amazing music, fashion, movies and more.

A great collaboration helps introduce artists and brands to new audiences that may not otherwise have encountered their work. Mixing with the right people can add credibility and – because we can’t all be experts at everything – help solve specific problems or fulfill the additional needs of your audience. And when two leaders in their respective fields come together, collaboration can lead to something truly innovative.

To celebrate the great collaborative work that we enjoyed this year, here are seven of our favorite creative collaborations from 2015. Make sure you let us know which of this year’s team-ups you enjoyed by posting in the Comments section below.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari1. Laughing at love
When comedian and star of Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari, decided to investigate the state of modern romance, he teamed up with NYU Professor of Sociology, Eric Klinenberg. Together, Ansari and Klinenberg interviewed anthropologists and psychologists, set up focus groups and researched dating culture in cities across the world. The result is Modern Romance: an insightful, surprising and, of course, funny book that should be read by anyone negotiating the swipe-left world of digital dating.

2. Pictures inspire a thousand words
Here’s a great example of collaboration proving equally beneficial for both brands involved. Provocative new entrant to the stock photo market, Death to the Stock Photo, teamed up with über-cool blogging platform, Medium, for a clever contest that used photos to inspire writers. The photo service provided a pack of 10 inspirational images (helping promote its unique catalogue), while participants had to publish their written piece to Medium and collect the most recommends via their social networks.

3. Blood ties
Taylor Swift has long been a pop and country sensation, but 2015 was the year when she became credible. Indie rockers were forced to concede that she can pen a tune when hipster darling Ryan Adams covered every song from her 1989 album, while hip-hop fans were wowed by her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on the brilliant single, Bad Blood. The spectacular video, which featured Lena Dunham and Jessica Alba alongside rap’s new golden boy, has more than 660 million views on You Tube.

4. Meeting on Balmain street
In 2015, the fashion world went into frenzy about the collaboration between haute couture house, Balmain, and high street chain, H&M. When the collection launched in early November, it sold out in hours and there were reports of near-riots at some branches. The Balmain designs brought high-end style to the traditionally affordable H&M stores. Some items were priced at more than $500 and cost even more once those early shoppers put their purchases on eBay.

Hitnes graffiti for Audobon Mural Project5. Flock together
Named for the ornithologist John James Audobon, who described the birds of North America in a series of 19th century guidebooks, the National Audobon Society is dedicated to conserving the habitat of birds and other wildlife. The Audobon Mural Project is a collaboration with Gitler &____ Gallery, which finds up-and-coming street artists, like Iena Cruz and Hitnes, to create huge murals of birds in locations around New York’s inner city.

6. Ani-mates
Charlie Kauffman is the screenwriter of mind-bendingly intelligent movies like Being John Malkovitch and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (for which he won an Oscar). Stop-motion animation director, Duke Johnson, is probably best known for creating the animated segments of Community. Together, Kauffman and Johnson made Anomalisa, a ground-breaking animated feature – most definitely not for kids – that won the grand prize at Venice Film Festival and was recently nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Anomalisa by Charlie Kauffman and Duke Johnson

7. Ride sharing
The LA Auto Show introduced a new competition at its annual event this year. The Design and Developer Challenge brings together diverse teams from a range of industries, including General Motors, Dreamworks, Crayola and National Geographic. They will spend the next year collaborating on how technology, data, connectivity and content will redefine the motor vehicle over the next four decades. The results of their collaborative efforts will be revealed at next year’s LA Auto Show.

Those are our favorite seven collaborations from 2015. What did you think? You can tell us what we got right, what we got wrong and which great team-ups we missed by posting a comment below.

Already working on a collaborative project, or inspired to gather your troops and start one? Work like the pros and get your team together at www.hightail.com.