2020 in review: A year in illustration

Profile picture of Dana Meir

{date}

{#hash1}

{#hash2}

Illustrations by {name}

The silver lining of this dismal year is the art that people have created to express opinions and respond to major world events.

4 min read

Best illustrations of 2020: illustration by Or Yogev

Stay informed on all things design.

Thanks for submitting!

Shaping Design is created on Editor X, the advanced web design platform for professionals. Create your next project on Editor X. 

Get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox →

Illustration has always been a powerful storytelling tool. Whether used to depict scenes from everyday life or to spearhead a political campaign, illustration has the ability to help bring crucial questions to the forefront, raise awareness of certain issues and, ultimately, to impact society.


Let’s take a look at the work of eight illustrators who use their art to tackle the most important conversations of today. Covering themes from the pandemic to racism, solidarity, gender and more, this collection of best illustrations offers us a moment of reflection and a glimmer of hope.



Best illustrations of 2020



Marco Oggian


Italian artist and art director Marco Oggian has collaborated with clients such as Nike, BMW and Vans. Never afraid to stand up for a cause he believes in, he addresses a broad range of social and political issues, from Covid-19 to the Black Lives Matter movement, using his characteristic bold language, minimalistic color palette and sarcastic outlook.

To further the anti-racism message, Marco offers free downloads for his recent ‘Fuck Racism’ poster, a piece that has received thousands of shares from across the globe.

"With a poster, drawing or painting, it is very difficult to change the world. But it is very easy to convey to people the idea of changing it."

Best illustrations of 2020: 3 poster designs by Marco Oggian


ggggrimes


Philadelphia-based artist Gabriella Grimes, aka ggggrimes, focuses their work entirely on Queer People of Color. By placing a spotlight on intimate and vulnerable experiences, they hope to share stories of all types of queer people being happy and loved, whether or not they fit mainstream ideas of queerness.

Using both boldness and sensitivity, ggggrimes addresses topics of gender transitioning, relationships and the fear—and joy—of being loved and accepted.

“I didn't have any representation of people who looked like me or behaved like me in the media growing up. I was closeted in my queer identities for most of my life. We've gotten a lot more representation as queer people globally, but a lot of us still aren't seen, and if we're not seen, we don't feel valid.”

Best illustrations of 2020: illustration by ggggrimes

Anisa Makhoul


Portland-based author, activist and illustrator Anisa Makhoul has worked with clients such as Vogue and Anthropologie. Using her voice to fight for causes like racism, inequality and climate change, she’s no stranger to conveying meaningful statements through design.


In this piece, she stresses the importance of unity and togetherness, especially now.


“It’s the people who hold the power, not the people in power. Together, we are the majority and we can organize to bring about the change and justice we need to live comfortably on this planet.”

Best illustrations of 2020: 'Stand together' illustration by Anisa Makhoul

Lucas Wakamatsu


Having worked with global brands from Apple to Facebook and more, Brazilian illustrator Lucas Wakamatsu created this set of personal illustrations to depict the monotonous nature of the lockdown.


Approaching the topic with a subtle quirkiness, he offers a lighthearted perspective on the all-too-familiar challenges of being confined to the four walls of your home.


“I created this piece inspired by my daily life in lockdown, and how the days are pretty much the same, resulting in a crazy looping routine.”

Best illustrations of 2020: illustrations by Lucas Wakamatsu

Gabriela Tylenda