Look back at 2020, Hello 2021

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Our top four trends of 2020 and predictions for 2021

Looking back

Here, in no particular order, are our four favourite trends from last year that were prominent in the projects we created:

1. Immersive/virtual experiences

Last year’s lockdown meant that many spaces and places were inaccessible, resulting in immersive and virtual experiences as alternatives. We created a virtual tour of the University of Birmingham campus, allowing prospective students to ‘visit’ the campus. We also created a virtual walk around the Oaks Day Nursery, allowing parents to see what the nursery has to offer their little ones.

University of Birmingham Virtual Campus Tour
The Oaks Day Nursery Virtual Tour

2. Isometric illustrations

This style of illustration uses elements from both 2D and 3D design, bringing them together to create illustrations that have the simplicity of a flat design with added depth and dimension. Inspired by the work of Justine Anweiler, Axel Bizon and Lena Sarrault for Legoland, we created a modern and sophisticated isometric map, illustrating the new Exchange building in the city of Birmingham. See more in our portfolio section.

3. Animation

Animation and motion graphics have become powerful tools for advertising, marketing and design. Animation is an engaging way to tell stories and convey messages in a simple, effective way. It’s a flexible medium that can be applied to many different styles and subject areas, and it’s inspired us to create quite a few examples.

Animation promoting the Foundation Pathways at the University of Birmingham

Animation promoting the University of Birmingham’s MA in Education (Social Justice)

4. User-generated content

Another result of people being in lockdown is the growth of user-generated content, as brands had to rely on home-made footage. The benefit of this content as a promotional tool is it allows brands to use an authentic, trustworthy voice driven by user experiences.

University of Birmingham Christmas promo – filmed at home, edited by Creative Media
#ShotOniPhone Campaign by Apple

Looking forward – design trends in 2021

What we think will be big for us in 2021

1. AR experiences

The growth of Augmented Reality (AR) technology continues and there are a number of ways we can incorporate it into design work, such as on mobile devices, in shopping and retail, for navigation or even events. We’ve already started working with Spark AR to create our own augmented reality content.

2. Inclusive design

Inclusivity will be at the heart of design in 2021. We have been having many important conversations about inclusivity and equality and ensuring our work is available for all. We consider the full range of human diversity when creating work and accessibility is high on our agenda and we strive to create content that everyone can enjoy.

A message from the BBC covering inclusivity

3. Authentic and meaningful design

As we move into 2021, users are likely to want to see authenticity and heart from design. This could be achieved in many ways – one example might be to design with the planet in mind. Being as green and sustainable as possible is predicted to be at the forefront of design this year, either physically in production and packaging or hinted at in the branding. Themes of nature could be a way of incorporating this from a design point of view. We have been inspired by the Re-Use campaign to encourage designers to consider sustainability in their work.

4. Collaborative

Last year also reminded us of the importance of community. Video conference meetings over Zoom and Teams rapidly became the norm, and we found this to be a great way of working with clients and involving them throughout the design process. It is an efficient way to communicate and share ideas, and we expect this to develop further in 2021.


After such a strange year, we think the positive take-out is that many opportunities have opened up, we’re having to work with more innovation and the move to deliver things digitally has gone into fast-forward. The one thing we could really do with more of is… time!

If any of this has inspired you, please get in touch, we’d love to work with you.

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