Projects We Loved: 27 of Our Favorite Kickstarter-Funded Projects from 2017

Share this post

Inside Pussy Riot, brought to life with the help of 971 backers in 2017.
Inside Pussy Riot, brought to life with the help of 971 backers in 2017.

2017 was a consequential year. For many people, it was a challenging year. But it was also a year in which people made art that amplified new and underrepresented voices, brought communities together, and engaged in important conversations. 

Kickstarter creators were an integral part of those conversations. This year, creators made work that dealt with vital issues like the global refugee crisis, mental health awareness, and the consequences of climate change. They imagined alternative futures and possibilities for our world, from a vision of Earth in which humans have merged with robots to an exhibition revealing the New York City skyline that never was. And they pushed their practices further through limited editions, commissioned pieces, and explorations of life and culture on our planet. Over 46,500 creators launched new and ambitious projects in 2017 — and over 4 million people supported them.

As a team, Kickstarter staffers have backed thousands of projects. So as the year comes to a close, we asked a few of our colleagues to share their favorite Kickstarter-funded works that became available to read, watch, explore, experience, purchase, and play in 2017. Some of these projects launched and subsequently entered culture earlier this year. Others came about after years of painstaking work, during which time creators gave their backers a behind-the-scenes peek at the process along the way. All were fascinating and inspiring for their originality and inventiveness.

Read on to discover our team’s favorites — and let us know yours in the comments.


Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition by Ozma Records 

Selected by: Nick Yulman, Curation and Content, Design and Tech

“In 1977 a team led by Carl Sagan compiled a record of greetings, sounds, music, and images representing life on Earth, and sent it into space on the Voyager probes for extraterrestrials to discover. Forty years later, the Golden Record finally got a proper release here on Earth thanks to Ozma Records and more than 10,000 backers on Kickstarter.

Receiving this exquisitely designed and meticulously researched box set was a treat. Aside from listening to the beautifully diverse range of music on the Golden Record, there's power in examining and holding on to the optimism of the project itself. It's a reminder of a time — four short decades ago — when curiosity, scientific discovery, and appreciation for human creativity in its many forms were at the forefront of our public conversation, endorsed by our leaders and funded by our government. These are our roots and we can return to them.”

A few more picks from Nick: 

Taller Nu 

Selected by: Georgina Rovirosa, International

“2017 was the first year Kickstarter was open to creators in Mexico. It was exciting to see projects that aimed to make a positive impact on society coming from this country. Taller Nu is probably my favorite of the lot: the Mexico City-based workshop offers beautifully-designed products that empower incarcerated women in Mexico.”

The Hanged Man by Ted Leo 

Selected by: Nafeesa Davis, Music Outreach

“A great album from a seasoned, well-developed artist. Plus, it's his first one in seven years, and wholly self-produced. The topics addressed on the album are important and almost prophetic: he addresses his own childhood sexual assault, his wife's miscarriage, and dealing with the aftermath of a Trump presidential victory. It isn't all trauma, though — there's a sense of resilience and eventual joy in the work.”

Pablo Neruda: Book of Twilight by Copper Canyon Press 

Selected by: Rebecca Hiscott, Curation and Content

“As part of Kickstarter Gold, Copper Canyon Press sought to publish Book of Twilight, Pablo Neruda's first book of poetry, which had never before been published in its entirety in English. The first Kickstarter project I ever backed was a book, and there's still something incomparably satisfying to me about receiving a copy of a book that I had some small part in putting out into the world. I was so excited be a part of bringing this volume to English-speaking audiences for the very first time, and to be able hold it in my hands just a few months later.”

A couple more picks from Rebecca: 

Loving Vincent by Hugh Welchman 

Selected by: Elise McCave, Film Outreach

“This animated feature — the first fully hand-painted feature film — funded in March 2014 and was released into theaters in 2017. It recently won a European Film Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature; an Oscar nomination may follow.”

Forward Union Fair by Forward Union 

Selected by: Patton Hindle, Arts Outreach

“This socially minded info-fair brings together activists, artists, and thinkers to dialogue about the current social and political landscape. The first edition of Forward Union came together two weeks after Trump was elected as a much-needed safe space for thinking and responding. In their second year, they were able to look back on 2017 and bring a community together to take action on real issues that are affecting our country, all the while using art as a medium through which to speak.”

Flint Water at What Pipeline by Pope.L 

Selected by: Daniel Sharp, Arts Outreach

“Funds from Pope.L’s project were used to purchase undrinkable water from Flint, MI, residences and sell it as an art object. The proceeds were then donated to a crisis relief fund. This project brought agency and activism to the communities of Flint and Detroit, helping them create something that raised funds for and awareness of the ongoing water crisis.”

Bright Lite magazine and Anxy magazine 

Selected by: Maura M. Lynch, Curation and Content

“Thanks to the Kickstarter community, print's not dead: Bright Lite is a magazine created by (and for) girls between the ages of 8 and 15 and features articles, recipes, craft projects, and more. It's just the type of magazine I would have devoured as a kid — which is why I backed the third issue, all about space, for my 11-year-old goddaughter this year. (She ended up getting a subscription.)

Anxy, a magazine that aims to destigmatize mental illness, features important work by some of my favorite writers, like Ijeoma Oluo and Collier Meyerson.”

In a Heartbeat by Beth David and Esteban Bravo 

Selected by: David Ninh, Media Relations

“This short film, a queer love story about a young boy’s crush on another boy, went viral in 2017. It melted hearts and deeply resonated with people all over the world.”

No Small Plans by Chicago Architecture Foundation 

Selected by: Stephanie Pereira, Creator Engagement

“This graphic novel follows the adventures of Chicago's youth in the past, present and future, as they wrestle with what it will take to design the city they want, need, and deserve. It is a reimagining of an urban planning manual designed to inspire young people to feel accountable for the design of their city.

The original book was required reading for all Chicago eighth graders for over three decades, and this new version has a similar aspiration. It is already in thirty schools and eighty public libraries, with more to come. This project has impacted just one city, but in such a big way that I can't help but believe there will be more to this story.”

The Divine Eye on Gold Wax Cylinder by Thomas Negovan 

Selected by: Tieg Zaharia, Engineering

“With this wax cylinder recording, forty-time Kickstarter creator Thomas Negovan is doing something different from any other creator. While the world is busy reviving vinyl, he went back to the Edison phonograph and published his music on a 19th-century medium.”

Tieg also picked these projects: 

Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums by Maryam Omidi 

Selected by: Willa Koerner, The Creative Independent

“This book documenting the culture around holidays in soviet sanatoriums is amazing. The photos themselves are beautiful, and the traditional building styles and medical procedures pictured are fascinating. The book feels like a time capsule of a very particular tradition that's dying out. It reminds me of how subjective medical care and relaxation are based on the culture in which you live, and that self-care is an age-old tradition that can take many forms.”

A few more picks from Willa: 

crushAustin by Rude Mechs

Selected by: Jessica Massart, Performance Outreach

“Over the summer, this legendary theater company took the loss of their longtime Austin, TX, space in stride and unleashed this citywide series of events. Many small to mid-size theater companies are getting priced out of their homes around the country; crushAustin is an inspiring response to that problem. Plus, it features a participatory Karaoke Christmas Carol.”

Notes on a Case of Melancholia or: A Little Death by Nicholas Gurewitch

Selected by: Michael Stewart, Food Outreach

“Good things come to those who wait. Nicholas Gurewitch, creator of The Perry Bible Fellowship comic strip, funded his project for Notes on a Case of Melancholia in December 2014, and has been actively working on it ever since. Each page of the book was painstakingly hand-etched. It's a beautiful story, beautifully told, and the documentation of his process was incredible — easily as worthwhile as receiving the finished product.”

Nowadays NYC by Mister Saturday Night 

Selected by: Lorrie Doriza, Operations

“Nowadays is this quirky outdoor space in Ridgewood, NY, with colorful picnic tables, grass you can lay on, ping pong tables, a food truck, and great music. Since it was an outdoors-only venue, Nowadays only worked as a seasonal spot and would often have to close because of the weather, even in the summertime. When they announced that they were raising funds to build a permanent indoor space, the community rallied around them and made it happen, doubling their $50,000 funding goal.

The new space just opened its doors in December. I'm especially excited to check out their Planetarium nights, an immersive music series where they surround the dance floor with their new state-of-the-art speakers so you can bring a blanket and pillow, lie down, and immerse yourself in the music.”

Want to discover more projects handpicked by the Kickstarter team? Sign up for our weekly newsletters.

Line icon alert icon Artboard Copy 8 arrow-down icon arrow-down arrow-left icon arrow-left arrow-point-left icon Fill 1 Copy 5 arrow-point-right icon Fill 1 arrow-right icon arrow-right arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right copy bar-chart icon Artboard Copy 6 bell icon Combined Shape Copy 5 book icon Artboard Copy 3 bookmark icon Fill 1 brand-assets icon Artboard Copy 13 cart icon Artboard Copy 4 chat icon chat check icon Fill 1 Copy 6 circle-back icon Fill 1 Copy 13 circle-forward icon Fill 1 Copy 16 circle-k icon circle-k circle-left icon circle-left circle-right icon circle-right clipboard icon Artboard Copy 12 clock icon Combined Shape close icon close closed-caption icon Fill 1 compass icon Combined Shape Copy 2 conversion icon conversion delta-down icon Fill 1 delta-left icon delta-right icon Fill 1 delta-up icon Fill 1 duplicate icon duplicate embed icon Combined Shape Copy 6 eye icon Combined Shape Copy 12 facebook-contained icon Facebook Contained facebook icon Facebook logo flag icon Fill 1 Copy 3 gear icon Fill 1 Copy 14 global-africa icon Fill 1 Copy 9 global-america icon Fill 1 Copy 10 global-asia icon Fill 1 Copy 17 graph-bar icon Combined Shape Copy 9 graph-line icon Combined Shape Copy 16 heart icon Fill 1 Copy 8 help icon human icon icon--human icon--activity-feed.kds icon icon--add-heading.kds icon icon--advanced-analytics.kds icon icon--alarm icon icon--alarm icon--alert icon icon--alert icon--alt-text.kds icon icon--arrow-down.kds icon icon--arrow-down icon icon--arrow-down icon--arrow-left-2 icon icon--arrow-left.kds icon icon--arrow-left icon icon--arrow-left icon--arrow-right.kds icon icon--arrow-right icon icon--arrow-right icon--arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right icon--arrow-up.kds icon icon--arrow-up icon icon--arrow-up icon--backer-badge icon icon--backer-badge icon--bar-graph.kds icon icon--bell.kds icon icon--bell icon icon--bell icon--bold.kds icon icon--bolt.kds icon icon--bolt icon icon--bolt icon--bookmark-filled.kds icon icon--bookmark-outline icon icon--bookmark-outline icon--bookmark.kds icon icon--bookmark icon icon--bookmark icon--bulleted-list.kds icon icon--calculator icon icon--calculator icon--calendar-check icon icon--calendar-check icon--calendar.kds icon icon icon--calendar icon icon--calendar icon--campaign-outline icon icon--campaign-outline icon--caption.kds icon icon--captions.kds icon icon--cart.kds icon icon--category.kds icon icon icon--chat.kds icon icon--check.kds icon icon icon--check icon icon--check icon--chevron-down.kds icon icon icon--chevron-down icon icon--chevron-down icon--chevron-left.kds icon icon icon--chevron-left icon icon--chevron-left icon--chevron-right.kds icon icon icon--chevron-right icon icon--chevron-right icon--chevron-up.kds icon icon icon--chevron-up icon icon--chevron-up icon--circle-around.kds icon icon--circle-around icon icon--circle-around icon--circle-back icon icon--circle-back icon--circle-backward.kds icon icon--circle-check icon icon--circle-empty icon icon--circle-forward.kds icon icon--circle-forward icon icon--circle-forward icon--circle-loader icon Page 1 icon--circle.kds icon icon--circle icon icon--clipboard icon icon--clipboard icon--clock.kds icon icon icon--clock icon icon--clock icon--close.kds icon icon icon--closed-caption icon icon--closed-caption icon--code icon icon--code icon--collapse.kds icon icon--collapse icon icon--collapse icon--commissions icon icon--commissions icon--compass icon icon--compass icon--confirmation icon icon--confirmation icon--conversion.kds icon icon--conversion icon icon-conversion icon--copy.kds icon icon--cpu icon icon--credit-card.kds icon icon--credit-card icon icon--cross icon icon--cross icon--curve-right icon icon--curve-right icon--date-and-time.kds icon icon icon--delta-down icon icon--delta-down icon--delta-left icon icon--delta-left icon--delta-right icon icon--delta-right icon--delta-up icon icon--delta-up icon--download.kds icon icon--download icon icon--download icon--drag.kds icon icon--edit.kds icon icon--ellipsis.kds icon icon--ellipsis icon icon--error.kds icon icon icon--expand.kds icon icon--expand icon icon--expand icon--external.kds icon icon icon--external icon icon--external icon--eye icon icon--eye icon--facebook icon icon--facebook icon--filter icon icon--filter icon--filters.kds icon icon--flag-outline icon icon--flag.kds icon icon icon--flag icon icon--flag icon--forward-fund icon icon--frown-filled icon icon--frown icon icon--fulfillment.kds icon icon--gear icon icon--gear icon--globe-africa icon icon--globe-africa icon--globe-america icon icon--globe-america icon--globe-asia icon icon--globe-asia icon--globe.kds icon icon--graph-bar icon icon--graph-bar icon--graph-line icon icon--graph-line icon--hamburger.kds icon icon--hamburger icon icon--happy-filled icon icon--happy icon icon--header-anchor icon icon--heading.kds icon icon--heading icon icon--heart-filled.kds icon icon icon--heart-outline icon icon--heart outline icon--heart-thin-outline icon Fill 1 icon--heart.kds icon icon icon--heart icon icon--heart icon--heartstrings-and-hardbacks icon icon--hide.kds icon icon--home-with-door icon icon--home.kds icon icon--home icon icon--home icon--human.kds icon icon icon--human icon icon--human icon--humans.kds icon icon--humans icon icon--humans icon--image.kds icon icon--image icon icon--image icon--inbox.kds icon icon--inbox icon icon--inbox icon--indeterminate icon icon--info.kds icon icon icon--info icon icon--info icon--instagram icon icon/instagram icon--intermediate.kds icon icon icon--italic.kds icon icon--late-pledges.kds icon icon icon--lightbulb.kds icon icon--lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb icon--line-graph.kds icon icon--link.kds icon icon--link icon icon--link icon--location.kds icon icon icon--lock-black-bg icon lock-icon icon--lock icon icon--lock icon--locked.kds icon icon icon--log-out.kds icon icon--long-story-short icon icon--mail icon icon--mail icon--make-100 icon icon--media-embed.kds icon icon--meh-filled icon icon--meh icon icon--menu icon icon--menu icon--message.kds icon icon--message icon icon--message icon--milestone-dfm icon icon--milestone-idea icon icon--milestone-preprod icon icon--milestone-prod icon icon--milestone-proof-of-concept icon icon--milestone-working-prototype icon icon--minus.kds icon icon--mobile.kds icon icon--mobile icon icon--mobile icon--mute.kds icon icon--numbered-list.kds icon icon--order-management.kds icon icon--overflow icon icon--overflow icon--pause.kds icon icon--pause icon icon--pause icon--pencil icon icon--pencil icon--pie-chart icon icon--pin.kds icon icon--pin icon icon--pin icon--pinterest icon icon--pinterest icon--play-filled.kds icon icon--play.kds icon icon--play icon icon--play icon--pledges.kds icon icon--plus-human.kds icon icon--plus-human icon icon--plus-human icon--plus.kds icon icon--plus icon icon--plus icon--prohibit icon icon--prohibit icon--prohibited.kds icon icon--project-budget icon icon--project-we-love icon icon--pull-quote icon icon--pull-quote icon--pullquote.kds icon icon--question-filled icon icon--question-filled icon--question.kds icon icon--question icon icon--question icon--reorder icon icon-reorder icon--reply.kds icon icon--reply icon icon--reply icon--reward.kds icon icon icon--reward icon icon--save icon icon--save icon--saved icon icon--saved icon--search.kds icon icon--search icon icon--search icon--section-break icon icon--section-break icon--sentiment-neutral-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-neutral.kds icon icon--sentiment-satisfied-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-satisfied.kds icon icon--sentiment-unsatisfied-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-unsatisfied.kds icon icon--settings.kds icon icon--shipping.kds icon icon--show.kds icon icon--small-k icon icon--sound-hi icon icon--sound-hi icon--sound-lo icon icon--sound-lo icon--sound-mute icon icon--sound-mute icon--spinner.kds icon icon--star-outline icon Star Outline icon--star.kds icon icon icon--star icon icon--star icon--stopwatch.kds icon icon--subtitles-captions icon icon--subtitles-captions icon--success.kds icon icon icon--survey-multiple-choice.kds icon icon--survey-open-text.kds icon icon--survey-single-choice.kds icon icon--survey.kds icon icon--tax-documents.kds icon icon--text-bold icon icon--text-bold icon--text-bullet icon icon--text-bullet icon--text-italic icon icon--text-italic icon--textalign-centered icon icon--textalign-centered icon--textalign-right icon icon--textalign-right icon--thumbs-down icon icon--thumbs-down icon--thumbs-up icon icon--thumbs-up icon--thumbsdown-outline icon icon--thumbsdown-outline icon--thumbsup-outline icon icon--thumbsup-outline icon--timeline-to-do.kds icon icon--trash.kds icon icon--trash icon icon--trash icon--tumblr icon icon--tumblr icon--twitter icon icon--twitter icon--unlink.kds icon icon--unlink icon Artboard icon--unlock icon icon--unlock icon--unlocked.kds icon icon icon--update-freeform-round icon icon--update-freeform-round icon--update-freeform icon icon--update-freeform icon--update-pinned icon Artboard icon--update-qa-round icon icon--update-qa-round icon--update-qa icon icon--update-qa icon--upload.kds icon icon--upload icon icon--upload icon--video.kds icon icon--video icon icon--video icon--volume-down.kds icon icon--volume-up.kds icon icon--warning.kds icon icon icon--warning icon icon--witchstarter icon icon--youtube icon icon--youtube icon--zine-quest icon icon-imagealign-center icon icon-imagealign-center icon-imagealign-left icon icon-imagealign-left icon-imagealign-right icon icon-imagealign-right info icon Combined Shape Copy instagram icon instagram copy kickstarter icon Artboard Copy 5 leaf icon leaf lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb link icon Combined Shape Copy 8 loading-spin icon lock icon Combined Shape Copy 4 mail icon Combined Shape map-pin icon Fill 1 menu icon Group message icon Fill 1 Copy 12 mobile icon Page 1 Copy 2 pause icon pause copy pencil icon Combined Shape Copy 3 pin icon Combined Shape Copy 11 pinterest icon pinterest play icon play copy plus-human icon icon--plus-human plus icon Fill 1 Copy 7 question icon Combined Shape Copy 14 search icon Fill 1 Copy 11 shapeshift icon share icon Fill 1 Copy slash icon solid-arrow icon solid-arrow sound-hi icon Combined Shape sound-lo icon Combined Shape sound-mute icon Combined Shape star icon Fill 1 Copy 2 stopwatch icon Group 2 thumbs-up icon Shape tools icon Shape trash icon Combined Shape tumblr icon tumblr copy twitter icon twitter copy user icon Artboard Copy 10 volume-up icon Artboard Copy 9 warning icon Combined Shape Copy 10 write icon Artboard Copy 11 x icon Fill 1 Copy 4 youtube icon Combined Shape