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A Short-ish Recap of 2020

by Sharon Wells

In a nutshell, 2020 was nuts as hell. Our reality has changed a lot and we want to recall some of the big (and not very big) events that shaped our lives into what now seems like a new era.

2020 in a nutshell

Words of an unprecedented year

Every year, experts behind the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) have a tradition to pick a word that comprehensively describes everything that happened during the year. The year 2019 was unified with the term “climate emergency”, while 2018 was named “toxic”. This year left us with no more than a bunch of chaotic feelings.

2020 is not a year that could neatly be accommodated in one single “word of the year”.

—The Oxford English Dictionary

The Words of an Unprecedented Year report perfectly explains why it’s so hard to pick just one word for 2020. Instead, it provides a thorough analysis of all the words and phrases that most accurately describe what we went through.

OED Word of the Year 2020 Map

the image is taken from https://languages.oup.com/word-of-the-year/2020/

All the forms of the coronavirus term. From “SARS-CoV-2” to “Coronavirus disease 2019,” to “Covid-19” and finally “corona”—the new, alien words that appeared in 2019 and in 2020 became the most frequently used terms all over the world.

Then Black Lives Matter (#BIPOCLM) happened, and all the bushfires, along with the political twist and turns in many countries. Then, all the lockdowns, social distancing, and China’s pledge to become a country of net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.

There’s no doubt we experienced a lot, and the team behind the OED reminded us once again how versatile and dramatic these experiences were. We’ve managed to create a totally new vocabulary that’s symbolic specifically to 2020, the unprecedented year.

Business, brand marketing, and social distancing

There was a dramatic shift in the way brands conveyed their messages in 2020. Some offline businesses had to adapt to the lockdowns and go completely, or at least partially, online. Dare we say, it was not an easy task at all. Thousands of businesses closed and 60% of them won’t be reopening.

Restaurants that were all about that romantic dine-in experience had to close and design creative campaigns to launch an online delivery service. Online delivery businesses, in their turn, had to come up with something completely different in order to be noticed and withstand the growing competition. For example, Dominos offered a contactless delivery.

Sleeknote co-founder and CMO, Emil Kristensen, has gathered 15 eye-opening online shopping statistics. With the steady growth of online shopping in recent years, it’s no wonder the predictions for 2021 are quite optimistic. Moreover, many businesses still haven’t collected their revenue/growth data for 2020, so we can only analyze the change to the fullest in 2021.

Statista predicts eCommerce sales will reach $6.5 trillion by 2023, and it couldn’t be possible without the 2020 lockdown-induced increase in online shopping activities.

This is great news for digital brands and shows just how much opportunity there is. Although the level of competition will certainly increase, so will the revenue.

—Emil Kristensen, CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote.

Insurance companies, such as Mosaic Life, offered a whole new service—coronavirus health insurance. And they had to be creative about that too.

Mosaic Life Insurance Billboard

the picture is taken from https://campaignsoftheworld.com/print/mosaic-life-insurance-protect-yourself-from-2020/

How do you encourage people to buy your tea in 2020? You make a social distancing teapot.

Big brands, such as Guinness, tried helping their local community with funds and inspired other successful businesses to do the same.

Remember the toilet paper craziness that exploded in March of 2020? Cottonelle made a brilliantly simple ad that encouraged to #ShareASquare.

Companies that offer taxi services experienced a decline in revenue in 2020. However, Uber did a great job saying thanks for not riding in such a subtle and heartfelt way.

TBWA created a fascinating campaign for McDonald’s. It perfectly shows the whole lockdown madness through the eyes of a kid.

Ikea’s “One Little Thing” campaign is all about feeling that we belong together and that everything we do counts. The idea is so deep and versatile, you can apply it to any 2020 topic and it will work. Corona? BLM? Elections? “That one little thing can change the world.”

A bit of everything social media

It was very hard to stand out with your message in 2020 amidst all the noise on Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Let’s see what trends shaped social media in 2020, and which ones are likely to wander their way into 2021.

We texted and “Zoomed”, a lot. Our communication has almost become completely online, compared to 2019. And with the change always comes a new trend. This year, online chatting over-exceeded itself. Reddit states that 52 million daily active users had been posting ~53% more and commenting ~19% more than in 2019.

The home-cooking trend overloaded social media. It became a complete cooking obsession. Are you following NY Times Cooking on Instagram? If not, you’ve saved yourself from hundreds of midnight cravings. In 2020, timelines were full of everything homemade. People did all kinds of pasta and pizza, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, roasted meat and fish, and even croissants (they take two days to bake).

conceited reaction memeWe’ve seen too much of sports as well. The trend almost pushed itself to the limit.

During the first half of the year, it seemed like everyone went nuts because they couldn’t go to the gym anymore. All kinds of sports apps must have been very successful. Later in the year, people were joking about how they’re only planning to, but not actually doing sports at home. Memes about procrastination are all-time favorites. They’re just relatable to so many of us.

This year we’ve proved to ourselves that we’re strong. But let’s admit, we laughed a lot. Because of how absurd and not funny 2020 really was.

My plans vs 2020 meme

Seems like everyone made their own “My plans vs 2020” meme. Sad, but hilarious.


Sue Sylvester’s “I am going to” meme

We’ve seen this meme in all possible variations.

Glee Sylvester meme

Who would think that an ordinary line from Glee would turn into a prophecy for 2020?

Carrot bacon viral TikTok video

Almost 4 million people watched Tabitha Brown making carrot bacon. If you haven’t tried making this yet, your 2020 checklist is not complete.

Cranberry juice viral TikTok video

Don’t seek the hidden meaning in this one. Just enjoy Nathan Apodaca skating with his cranberry juice and listening to Fleetwood Mac. Maybe that’s exactly why this video became viral. We all lowkey needed more of this in 2020.

The fly moment meme

Everyone who was at least slightly interested in the US elections saw this meme. A fly landed on Mike Pence’s head and sat there for nearly two minutes because he didn’t notice. Even the NY Times wrote about this. Iconic.

Pence fly moment

the photo is taken from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/07/us/politics/the-fly-pence-head.html

The best of design

Since Crello is all about design, we couldn’t skip this topic. Let’s see what happened in the world of design in 2020.

Behance 2020 trends

the image is taken from https://www.behance.net/gallery/86124977/2020-Design-Trends

Behance created a comprehensive guide to the 2020 digital design trends, and if you have an account, you can even add the examples to your moodboard!

Google announced the winners of this year’s Material Design Awards. Check out the stunning designs from the Material Theming, Material Motion, and Dark Theme categories.

The Red Dot Design Awards announced winners from multiple branches. We particularly liked the Best of the Best from the Brands & Communication Design category.

Apple Design Awards winners pleased us with wonderful apps and games that are not only beautiful but also impeccable in terms of user experience.

Pawsome wildlife recovery

Even though the global pandemic killed over a million people in 2020, its impact was not completely negative. National Geographic gathered 10 inspiring stories of how wildlife has benefited from our lockdown.

In several countries, wildlife literally took over cities. With tourists staying at home, animals feel more confident invading places that belong to people. In Thailand and Japan, monkeys were robbing local food markets, while in Turkey, dozens of dolphins were freely swimming and jumping near the banks.

A number of conservation centers across the world have sheltered animals from circuses that experienced a huge business decline in 2020.

Flamingos from Flickr

this photo is taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/radargeek/50591210883/

Thousands of flamingo birds have returned to the nature reserves and parks that used to be occupied by tourists. The same happened to cougars, wild goats, pelicans, sea cows, deer, foxes, and more species.

In March and April in the United States, road traffic decreased by as much as 73 percent, and fatal collisions with wild animals such as deer, elk, bears, and mountain lions fell by up to 58 percent.

—National Geographic

If this doesn’t explain how controversial this year was, then what does?

Sound and color

Alabama Shakes knew it all back in 2015 when they released their second studio album “Sound & Color” and a track of the same name. With a rather futuristic setting in the official music video and lyrics that go like this:

A new world hangs outside the window

Beautiful and strange

It must be I’ve fallen away

I must be

—Alabama Shakes

…the band definitely looked into the future that we experienced this year.

NASA Victor Glover

the picture is taken from https://images.nasa.gov/details-iss064e011646

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully docked at the International Space Station. It is a big leap for humanity because apart from the research that’s specific to outer space, the crew plans to investigate “the role of microgravity on human health and diseases and translate those findings to improve human health on Earth”.

Meanwhile, the leading source of color expertise, Pantone Color Institute, named Classic Blue the color of 2020.

Pantone COTY Classic Blue 2020

the picture is taken from https://www.pantone.com/articles/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2020

Classic Blue: instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

—Pantone Color Institute

The blue that was meant to be a symbol of confidence rather led us to the blues. Literally and figuratively.

People all over the world started writing songs (including those about corona) from quarantine-induced boredom. Music is the most consumed form of culture, so it’s no wonder that it urges a sense of control and belonging when we feel down. Music literally saved us from ourselves in 2020.

Moreover, 2020 is the first year since the 1980s when sales revenue of vinyl records in the US surpassed CDs. Some people are just not yet ready to succumb to fast digital progress.

While the craving for oldies is still real, the use of streaming services, such as Spotify, increased due to the lockdown. But not much changed in the ranks of top artists. Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Drake, Ariana Grande, and Dua Lipa have confidently stepped into 2020 from 2019 as if they were holding hands (pun intended).

The end of 2020, finally

This year, nothing made sense. This year, the world went online (read mad) completely. To sum it all up, let’s watch this awfully good video-recap of 2020 by Reddit.

Now, it’s time to uncover how many of our resolutions we didn’t achieve because of everything that happened (or should we say didn’t happen) in 2020 😅

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