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Alex Moy
Date
4 January 2022
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Forward Thinking: what does 2022 hold in store for the creative world?

With 2021 firmly in our rear view mirror, we look ahead to the coming 12 months with hope, some trepidation, but mostly excitement for all their potential.

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Hero animation
Alex Moy
Date
4 January 2022

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It’s Nice That’s 2022 Forward Thinking campaign is supported by Material Design, whose latest design system update, Material You, signals a radical new way to think about design for the entire tech industry. Material You explores a more humanistic approach to design, celebrating the tension between design sensibility and personal preference, and not shying away from emotion. Click here to find out more.

Last year was a rollercoaster. It brought us the vaccine and soon after, restrictions began to lift, and freedom (albeit wary) was ours once again. But the lessons and lifestyle changes of the pandemic weren’t so easily left behind. Heading into 2022 we are still now adapting to the impacts of the ongoing pandemic. Working as a creative simply doesn’t look the same, particularly if you’re used to working in-house, and you can expect this year will bring more innovations to the hybrid remote/studio working day. A year of introspection led to the so-called Great Resignation last year, with many creatives reassessing their life and career goals. This is likely to continue, so this year promises new opportunities for individuals, and fresh perspectives for creative businesses welcoming new talent. And all this change is sure to come with tons of exciting new ideas.

In our second annual Forward Thinking series, we explore some of the ideas likely to have a major influence on the creative landscape in 2022. Ideas that may have sprouted in 2021 but are predicted to take root this year, and grow (ok I’ll stop with this metaphor now) in ways we can’t possibly foretell.

In A Bold Frontier, for example, writer Siham Ali explores the indie type revolution, which is set to continue gathering pace. The past year or so has seen a surge in independent type foundries and individual designers innovating with typography, offering an alternative to the mega-foundries who also seem to be growing exponentially. Siham speaks to some of the leaders of this revolution around the world about why this might be happening, sharing their thoughts on the new technologies, mindsets and communities helping make the type sector more diverse and experimental.

In a piece looking at the animation boom, Dalia Dawood speaks to leading animation houses about an industry that’s seen staggering changes as a result of the pandemic. She finds that the market is expected to grow by $288bn in the next eight years, after restrictions to live-action productions saw work animated instead, bringing new clients, cash and boundless possibilities for growth. Chatting to studios such as Nexus, Blinkink and Strange Beast, she also discovers what we might be watching in the coming months.

Writer Ritupriya Basu picks out the five visual design trends looking likely to dominate in 2022, having piqued our interest in 2021 and already started to snowball. From 90s fish-eye-lens photography to kinetic branding, psychedelic airbrush illustrations to gooey 3D blobs, she picks these tropes apart, explaining where they came from, where we’ve seen them, how to spot them, and how they might morph this year. We also hear from an esteemed line-up of creatives including Ines Alpha, Jack Bridgland, DIA’s Mitch Paone, Robert Beatty and Gustavo Eandi, who give their two pence on the trends.

We’re also bringing back our popular Stop, Start, Continue feature, asking five leading creatives who had a big 2021 to share their life and work resolutions for the new year. For 2022, Alexandra Zsigmond, Vanilla Chi, Ayo Fagbemi, Donavon Smallwood and Rapha Abreu tell us what they’ll stop, start and continue doing in their practice and everyday doings. Meanwhile, on our Instagram we’ll be asking you to share your own stops, starts and continues for this year.

And finally, in our piece Form Follows Feeling (coming later this week), we speak to designers on the Material Design team at Google about big tech’s move towards making products more expressive, personal and ultimately more accessible. Designers who worked on the company’s latest design update Material You share insights into the decisions that went into its creation, explaining how and why the everyday digital products we use are becoming more humanistic and adaptable to the individual.

We hope you enjoy the series. Happy New Year!

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny (she/her) is online editor of It’s Nice That, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. She was previously news editor for five years. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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