Top 20 stories on Creative Boom on graphic design in 2021
As a graphic designer, you're constantly collaborating with others. But all of this communication and exchange of ideas occurs within a project bubble.
So to stay fresh, it's good to break away from all of that now and again and take a deep dive into how other graphic designers work and how other graphic design projects have progressed through to completion.
Here on Creative Boom, you'll find a ton of interviews and case studies on the latest and greatest graphic design projects. But if you've been super-busy lately, you might have missed out on some of the best. So as part of The Review, our series looking back at 2021, we've brought together the most-visited stories on graphic design on Creative Boom across these last 12 months.
If you missed any of these the first time around, we'd recommend you check them out now and fill in your knowledge gaps. From thrilling visual identities to groundbreaking type designs, there's something here to excite every kind of graphic designer.
They also point to some of the biggest graphic design themes of 2021, including the rise of the designers as activists, a new and thoughtful approach to branding, and above all, a strong thread of positivity. It may have been a tough year, but there's lots of joyful and upbeat work here to enjoy!
1. Rejane Dal Bello on why creatives should be a Citizen First, Designer Second
Graphic designer and illustrator Rejane Dal Bello has lectured around the world and this year released a book about both her personal experiences in choosing a design career and musings on creativity more generally. We chatted to her about why she wrote it, its key focus, and how she battled her own dyslexia to put it together.
2. Ragged Edge's updated identity for Mindful Chef takes it from 'specialist' to mainstream
Mindful Chef is a recipe box service that gives you everything you need to cook healthy dinners five nights a week. When Ragged Edge stepped in to update the brand's identity, it marked the beginning of an incredible journey, as the agency's co-founder Max Ottignon tells us here.
3. Badal Patel creates identity for Kulfi, a South Asian cosmetics brand challenging 'Eurocentric views and patriarchal culture'
Cosmetics brands have been overly focused on white skin and Western styles for far too long, but that's starting to change. Kulfi caters specifically for South Asian complexions, and in this article, we explore its visual identity, created by graphic designer Badal Patel. She reveals how she developed the brand strategy, visual identity, packaging, copywriting, art direction, and the launch campaign.
4. Jessie McGuire of ThoughtMatter on why the design industry holds the power to create real change
"Brown, short, loud, and a mother of two kids in an industry that is mostly white": Jessie McGuire – now the MD of New York agency ThoughtMatter – has felt like an outsider throughout her design career. Here she tells Creative Boom how she uses her position as an industry leader to redesign the world so that people like her feel like they belong.
5. O Street injects some fun and optimism in 'online at home' rebrand for Glasgow Film Festival
Creating an identity for a creative event comes with its own unique challenges and some very special rewards. Design studio O Street worked with local independent cinema Glasgow Film Theatre to rebrand its annual festival, and the results are fantastic, centred around a logo that's minimal, adaptable, and which puts the screen centre stage.
6. Tré Seals on protest graphics, typography and getting into design with Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani
Typographer Tré Seals crafts typefaces that promote diversity in design. As part of D&AD's Dinner With series of events, Seals was interviewed by Pentagram London partner Naresh Ramchandani, and we've pulled all the best bits into this eye-opening article. A must-read for all graphic designers!
7. Tracy Ma on playfulness, peculiarity and her prodigious prolific practice
Meet Tracy Ma: visual editor at the New York Times. A graphic designer like no other, she works across editorial design, interactive web design, illustration, brand identities, art direction, campaigns and virtual dogs, to name a few. This exclusive interview tells us what she finds most challenging and rewarding in her design practice.
8. The Future of Design: Meet the playful and unforgettably punchy work of Gydient
As a young queer Asian designer, Hamburg-based multidisciplinary creative Tra Giang Nguyen is best known by her digital pseudonym Gydient. Here she tells Creative Boom how freeing her definition of her practice allows her to be.
9. Avoiding the unnecessary: Brodie Kaman's tactile, typographically-led practice
Berlin-based art director and graphic designer Brodie Kaman is a force to be reckoned with. We chatted to him about bridging the gap between a tactile '90s aesthetic and contemporary design. He also reveals how his approach has evolved and become less structured during the pandemic.
10. 'We can be successful without working 12 hours a day': Margot Lévêque on her fearless practice, unfinished projects and self-care
The Parisian practice of type designer Margot Lévêque bounces from leading fashion brands to Apple music. Here she shares the highlights of some recent projects and what she'd like to see more of in the world of typography.
11. Jessica Walsh creates new Slack emoji pack to reflect new post-pandemic models of hybrid working
Many creative agencies now use Slack as their main communications network, and it's had a little help from famed New York designer Jessica Walsh. Her bespoke emojis for the platform brilliantly reflect the new hybrid-work lifestyle that's emerged since the pandemic.
12. Jahnavi Inniss on never going anywhere without a book, being a 'plant mom', and her top five recommendations
Are you seeking fresh reading inspiration? We spoke to London-based designer, curator and creative producer Jahnavi Inniss about her most highly regarded books and the impact they've made on her life and creative career. Her recommendations are fascinating and well worth checking out.
13. Tom Hingston's identity for the V&A's summer show is a fresh take on Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland came to the V&A this summer for an immersive landmark show. Hingston Studio worked closely with the London museum on concept, art direction and design to deliver a visual language for the exhibition. This article looks at how they went about it.
14. IFA 2023 Women's World Cup Australia + New Zealand identity is a 'unifying cultural force'
We're only a year and a half away from the next Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Check out the brilliant branding for the events, devised by Toronto-based studio Public Address and the LA-based Works Collective.
15. Frank William Miller Jr on the five books that have helped chart his creative path and passions
Frank William Miller Junior has worked with everyone from Tribe Called Quest and Nike to Rockstar Games. He reveals to Creative Boom the five books that have helped shape his creative path, and they're well worth checking out.
16. Jessica Oddi on the power of inclusivity, working for Yahoo and why design is subjective
As someone who uses a wheelchair, Jessica Oddi understands the importance of accessibility and why it's so important the design industry does too. In this exclusive interview, she tells Creative Boom how she got started in her career and discusses some favourite projects where she's made a big difference.
17. 36 fonts that will be popular with designers in 2022
As we emerge from lockdown, what's the next step for typography in 2021? In this annual article, we look at some typefaces that point the way ahead, from exciting new fonts to classics that have come back into style.
18. How Greenspace helped Sinéad O'Dwyer bring body-positivity to the fashion industry
Creative agency Greenspace discusses the brand strategy and visual identity they devised for Sinéad O'Dwyer, a designer on a mission to bring body positivity to the fashion industry. The brand story they created goes beyond simply packaging O'Dwyer's creative output; instead, it understands what it means to be an emerging designer in the rapidly shifting world of fashion.
19. Pràctica studio on its bold and expressive identity for Chinese delicatessen brand, Santo Cielo
Pràctica, a design studio based out of Barcelona and New York, chat to us about their work for Santo Cielo, a Chinese delicatessen brand that imports traditional Spanish products into China. It's a tale of two nations that holds valuable lessons for anyone working across borders, languages and cultures.
20. Why freelance graphic designers don't get featured in the press (and how to fix that)
Want people to be talking about you and your work? Then you need to get out there and start promoting it. Here's how, straight from the horse's mouth (i.e., us).