Google tells us what design trends the world searched for across 2021

As the company releases its Year in Search results, we explore trending topics from across the creative world.

10 December 2021


While the season of annual round-ups continues, Google has shared the top terms and questions searched globally in 2021. This Year in Search was led by the theme of healing. “In a year of overcoming personal and global challenges, the world searched for ‘healing’ more than ever before,” states a two-minute video accompanying the release.

Google’s Year in Search 2021 also allows users to browse for trending queries from the past 12 months, with the most searched-for phrases visualised by the company with illustrations and gifs. In 2021, we can see, “doomscrolling,” “affirmations” and “mittens” (thanks, Bernie Sanders) reached all-time highs worldwide. To zoom in on the creative industry’s year, It’s Nice That explored Google data for trends surrounding visual arts and design.

In the art world, NFTs were a (perhaps expected) rising trend during 2021, with searches for Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Can’t Help Myself artwork at the Guggenheim Museum also cropping up. Twitter’s favourite Bad Art Friend saga also ranked high as a rising search. In design, this year’s Dutch Design Week, the controversial service Fiverr, as well as the eternal, elusive question “Is graphic design a good career?” all featured.

British children’s illustrator David Roberts was queried frequently across the year, coming in just below Pinterest in the rankings, while book illustration generally was consistently searched for. Finally, neon typography, 3D typography and kinetic typography generators were top rising trends in their field, perhaps hinting at the kinds of projects we can look forward to in 2022.

GalleryGoogle: Year in Search 2021 (Copyright © Google, 2021)


Google reports: “Searches for mittens reached an all-time high in January globally.” (Image courtesy of Google’s Year in Search report)


According to Google, “Searches for affirmations reached an all-time high worldwide this year.” (Image courtesy of Google’s Year in Search report)


“Soulmate was searched more than ever before in 2021 globally,” claims Google. (Image courtesy of Google’s Year in Search report)

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Google: Year in Search 2021 (Copyright © Google, 2021)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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