The 25 most-read articles on Creative Boom in 2021
At Creative Boom, we aim to bring you the best new work, trends, developments and interviews from across multiple creative disciplines. To cover all bases means we publish many articles, and we appreciate it's not always possible to read every single one. But you don't want to miss out on what everyone's being talked about, either.
So as part of The Review, our annual look back on the creative industries and everything that has happened in the last 12 months, we've analysed our stats and gathered together 25 of the most-read articles in 2021 on Creative Boom.
Among our six million visitors this year, this is the stuff that really got everyone's attention. And so, if you missed one or two of these articles along the way, here's your chance to catch up. It's also interesting to glance down the list and see what they reveal about what the Creative Boom community has been most interested in this year.
As ever, you've shown a lot of love for articles that help you in your work directly: lists of valuable resources, for example, or articles detailing new trends. But with that said, most of the articles on this list are more about bringing you fresh visual inspiration, from creatives old and new, and learning how this latest and greatest work was made.
And that last part is key because, unlike some other magazines, we don't just post pretty pictures and leave it at that. We like to not only share new work and new artists but get under their skin, with exclusive interviews and expert analysis. That's why you've been kind enough to read and share our articles in increasing numbers this year, and we hope to continue to please and inspire you in 2022 and beyond.
1. 24 fonts that will be popular with designers
We kicked off the year by looking back at the fonts that had gained (or regained) popularity in 2020 and which we expected to see a lot more of in 2021. How accurate were our predictions? We'll let you be the judge of that.
2. Photographs of flowers submerged underwater look like classic oil paintings
Here's one of those headlines that tell you everything you need to know… but you instantly want to know more. If you missed Barbara Cole's incredible paintings of submerged flowers the first time around, catch up now on what the rest of the Creative Boom audience was lapping up this January.
3. 27 recommended independent jewellery designers to follow
At Creative Boom, we're less about the big brands and more about supporting the small, independent creatives, which is also where the most interesting work tends to happen. And it turns out you like this approach too. Hence our guide to independent jewellery designers was our third most popular article this year.
4. The biggest trends in graphic design for 2022
While no one should be a slave to trends, it's important to know where things are heading. That way, you can either jump with a trend on board fully, tweak things to provide your own unique take on a trend, or plough your own furrow and go in a different direction entirely. So it's no surprise our roundup of 2022 trends has been our fourth most popular read of 2021.
5. 30 awesome illustrators to follow for inspiration in 2021
One of the best reasons to read Creative Boom is to discover the latest talent emerging in the creative world. Whether you're a creative looking for visual inspiration, or a commissioning editor looking to hire, our roundup for 30 awesome illustrators to follow is a must-read.
6. Paintings by Ariel Dannielle offer an alternative perspective on black womanhood
2021 has been all about marginalised voices beginning to break through and share their stories and perspectives. African-American artist Ariel Dannielle's exuberant paintings used joy as an act of resistance towards racism and were justifiably a huge hit with our readers this year.
7. Six web design trends creatives need to prepare for in 2022
Even in normal times, web design is a fast-evolving field. In 2020-21, things went into overdrive, as society locked down and depended more and more on digital apps and services to function. We rounded up the biggest trends to watch out for moving forward, and this analysis quickly became one of our most popular articles of the year.
8. Uncensored: Nude photographs by AdeY that were deemed too risqué for our feeds
Social media is becoming an increasingly censorious place, making things difficult for controversial artists seeking to push boundaries. Banned from Instagram, artist AdeY turned to Creative Boom to share her work and the philosophy behind it, and the popularity of this article shows there's certainly a demand for it.
9. Hyperrealistic paintings by Kate Waters look like photographs of modern city life
Computer-generated graphics have now evolved to the point where it can be impossible to tell the difference between a photo and CG. But is it art? In the case of Kate Waters, whose playful take on hyperrealism is like nothing we've seen before, it most definitely is. And it seems all you agree, as this was the ninth most visited article on Creative Boom in 2021.
10. Kama Sutra A-Z by Malika Favre is an erotic typographic masterpiece
Once, erotica was overwhelmingly made by straight men, for straight men, and wasn't at all creatively interesting. All that's changing, and here's a great example. A celebration of joy, pleasure and sensuality, these more-than-suggestive illustrations by top illustrator Malika Favre brought delight to the Creative Boom audience in 2021.
11. Revealing the eccentricities behind one of the world's most famous images
Creative Boom may be largely focused on new work and new talent, but we also recognise the importance of knowing your history. The Great Wave off Kanagawa is one of the most iconic pieces of Japanese art, but how much do you know about it? Read this article, and you'll soon learn a lot more.
12. Elle Pérez's photos explore the inherent intimacy and power-plays in relationships
Whatever our nationality, religion or sexuality, we're all human, and we all crave intimacy. Exploring the "relationship between seeing and love", Elle Pérez's groundbreaking photo series Devotions provides a unique take on this topic.
13. What women think about when they're having sex, illustrated
What DO women think about when they're having sex? The answers may surprise you. And even if they don't, you'll love the provocative and fun ways they've been illustrated by the likes of Jenny Éclair, Jasmine Chin and Alice Skinner for a book by Lucy-Anne Holmes.
14. How Daft Punk's robots were crafted, in the words of their collaborators
Who doesn't love Daft Punk and their iconic outfits? We learned how SFX legend Tony Gardner created the look and shared all the juicy details. If you haven't read this eye-opening article yet, don't waste any more time. We've got pics too!
15. Youth Rising: Rarely-seen photographs of young people in the UK captured over four decades
Young people often lack a voice, but photography can provide them with one. An exhibition entitled Youth Rising in the UK 1981-2021 brought together the work of nine photographers documenting young people across 40 years. And these images showcase just how much each generation is unique in a way that's so visually captivating.
16. Neglected Utopia: Photographer explores the forgotten modernist estates of Paris
On the outskirts of Paris lie vast futuristic estates that have great architectural merit. Yet, they are often stigmatised due to the people who live there. Photographer Laurent Kronental sheds light on the reality of these residents, with stunning geometric compositions that bring the strange beauty of their surroundings to life.
17. Finalists announced in the world's funniest animal photograph awards
Not all art has to be serious or make a point. Sometimes we just want to be entertained, and what's more entertaining than a funny animal photo? Even the biggest curmudgeon can't fail to crack a smile at these loveable critters.
18. Boats and Other Phallic Symbols: The Extraordinary Life of Yayoi Kusama
This April, Laurence King published the latest in its Lives of Artists series on Yayoi Kusama. We loved it so much that we didn't just want to write a review: we got permission to publish an extract. Taken from the chapter 'Boats and Other Phallic Symbols', it's a great introduction to a Japanese icon.
19. Retro-inspired digital collages by Joe Simpson that imagine a more cheerful future
It's all been a bit doom and gloom lately, so what better antidote than a slice of futuristic optimism? Joe Simpson's digital collages are inspired by pulp sci-fi, yet they're unlike anything you've seen before. Exactly the kind of original and inventive approach to art that Creative Boom is all about.
20. Barbara Hulanicki, iconic founder of equally iconic '60s brand Biba, launches new fashion label
Fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki was instrumental in shaping the collective visual consciousness of the Swinging Sixties. And since then, she's by no means rested on her laurels. Her launch this February of a new type of fashion label was one of this year's biggest news stories.
21. Photographs that document a Chinese family living in New York City for the last 18 years
Hidden histories have been emerging everywhere in 2021, and here's another great example. For nearly two decades, photographer Thomas Holton documented the life of a Chinese family living in New York, and The Lams of Ludlow Street has emerged as one of the important series about the 21st-century Chinese American experience to date.
22. A long-distance relationship that didn't last, told through the former couple's private screenshots
It's often at the intersection of different disciplines that the most interesting work takes place. Artist Linn Phyllis Seeger lies at the interface between photography, video and 3D animation, and her latest work provides a fresh take on internet culture that will really make you think.
23. Behind the scenes with the creators of Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon
Disney films are popular for a reason: they're incredibly well crafted. So we were overjoyed when two creatives on Raya and the Last Dragon – head of story Fawn Veerasunthorn and environment modeller Liza Rhea – shared with us some of the secrets of how it was made. And not at all surprised when this turned out to be one of our best-trafficked articles of the year.
24. Puuung on creating the internet's most beloved cartoon couple
South Korean artist Puuung is behind one of the most iconic fictional couples in the world of illustration and web animation right now. We were honoured to be granted an exclusive interview back in February, and it's been devoured by Creative Boom readers ever since.
25. COLLINS Design Director Megan Bowker shares the top five books that have shaped her career
We all like a good book, but how do you find one that's really going to connect with you and inspire you creatively? To help you out, we've been asking leading creatives for their recommendations. Here New York-based designer director Megan Bowker describes five books that have really impacted her, and if you haven't read any of them yet, you really should.