The Best of December 2021: Marketing & Technology Highlights, Tools, and More!

The Best of December 2021: Marketing & Technology Highlights, Tools, and More!

January 13, 2022

Thinking Strategically

From: | ARTICLE - 6 min read: Five obstacles to collaboration on design projects, and how to overcome them by Tom May

If you’ve ever worked on a design project that has been slowed down by even one of these roadblocks, it can feel like you’re forced to choose between delivering a quality product and adhering to the client’s timeline. This article has some great advice for how to avoid these common obstacles:

  1. Too much back and forth
  2. Confusion over responsibilities
  3. People keep changing their minds
  4. Approvals take too long
  5. Inefficient workflows
how freelanders can think strategically and avoid project roadblocks in minnesota

From Grant: These five problems are everywhere! Excellent advice that is not limited to the product they are referring to in the article.

From: | ARTICLE - 3 min read: Scientific thinking vs wishful thinking in product design by Artem Kulitsk

It’s exciting to dream up new ideas, but turning them into reality is another story. Make sure you know that people really want and need a product, service, or feature before investing your time and money.

From Grant: This is a reality check that many people need in product design and any kind of design or development situation. Often, what product owners want cannot technically happen.

From: | VIDEO - 13 min: 11 Free Google Tools Every WordPress Blogger Should Use by WPBeginner - WordPress Tutorial

You probably already know about Google Analytics, but many other free tools can also help improve your SEO rankings. This video provides an excellent overview of some of the most helpful tools and how you can use them! 

freelance designer keeping up with trends in 2022

Tools This Video Covers:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Programmable Search
  • Google Tag Manager
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
  • Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • Think with Google Research
  • Google My Business
  • Google Optimize
  • Google Adsense
From: | ARTICLE - 10 min read: The 7 most overhyped trends of 2022 by Mark Wilson

This article takes a critical look at all the current 2022 trend lists circulating the internet. In this case, the “Overhyped” trends might be popular, but ultimately they fall short on actual impact. 

The most overhyped trends of 2022:

  1. The Metaverse
  2. Catering to Gen Z and Millennials
  3. NFTs
  4. The Cult of Efficiency
  5. Virtual Reality
  6. DTC and “Sustainability”
  7. Remote/Hybrid Work

2022 Design Trends

From: | ARTICLE - 6 min read: 2022 UI design trends guide by Diana Malewicz

According to this article, these are the top UI design trends you should keep in mind as you head into 2022.

2022 UI Design Trends:

  1. Minimalism and simplification
  2. Brutalism (and return of the flat)
  3. Glassmorphism and glass inspired elements
  4. Aurora backgrounds
  5. Holographic/Neon
  6. Eco-conscious “cardboard” style
  7. Wild typography
  8. Claymorphism 3D
  9. NFT’s and democratisation of art
  10. A glimpse into VR and Metaverse

From Grant: If you look at one of these trend articles, you should definitely look at the other.

Many of these trends are not new and have been trends for a while. The article above that criticizes trend lists encourages people to think critically about the content they are consuming and not blindly follow what everyone else is supposedly doing. Focus on your actual audience, and focus on what their needs are.

From: | ARTICLE - 26 min read: The 2022 PRINT Typography Report by Meg Farmer

In this article, PRINT spoke to six design experts who say that type is experiencing a full-blown reformation. The uncertainty of the past two years may have inspired type design to venture into a wild and exciting new future.

From: | ARTICLE - 2 min read: Introducing Very Peri: Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2022 by Laura Busche

This year, Very Peri is Pantone’s Color of the Year. In this article, you’ll find a collection of pre-designed assets that use this trendy color. They might give you some inspiration for your next design project!

woman designer using very peri color of the year in her designs

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Highlights

From: | ARTICLE - 9 min read: Finding a balance between UX and SEO by Kristine Kalnina

UX is all about making things simpler for human readers. SEO is about making things simpler for the machine so that your website shows up in search results. Sometimes, these two approaches can be at odds with one another, so how do you strike the best balance? 

Some tips in this article include:

  • moderate the content length
  • invest in keywords research
  • optimize websites for mobile devices
  • pay attention to page speed and site navigation.
From: | ARTICLE - 20 min read: You Need This 2022 Marketing Calendar [Free Templates] by Anna Crowe

There's no need to build your marketing calendar - download this template instead! It even includes holidays that could be relevant to your products and services.

From: | ARTICLE - 3 min read: SEO Trends 2022, According to 44 Experts [Ebook] by Danny Goodwin

This ebook covers the key trends that will affect your site's SEO in 2022. A lot of the advice in the downloadable ebook is pretty standard. Still, it is comprehensive and could be a helpful reference tool as you plan your content strategy for the coming year.

Some of the trends covered in this ebook:

  • User Intent
  • Content Quality
  • Localization Of SERPs & SERP Changes
  • Images & Visual Content
  • Automation
  • And more.

From Grant: Another trends article, proceed with caution. This one is pretty good and, thankfully, does not seem to offer just quick wins. Remember, with SEO, you want to focus on making a better website instead of chasing the algorithm. Google will catch up, and the better site will always come out on top.

graphic designer looks for design inspiration in the twin cities minnesota

Design Inspiration

From: | ARTICLE COLLECTION: Review of the Year 2021: Top 25 Graphic Design by It’s Nice That

This review has a very cool collection of the best-performing Graphic design stories from 2021. It includes everything from the industry's most controversial rebrands to lauded cultural identities and more.

From: | ARTICLE - 8 min read: The Top 10 Redesigns Of 2021 by Charlotte Beach

These rebrands made a big splash in 2021. Find some inspiration in these redesign masterpieces that span a wide range of topics from stationery brands to fast food heavy-hitters.

From: | ARTICLE - 4 min read: 5 novels for designers who want a shot of inspiration by Brian Millar

Usually, articles that recommend books for designers are full of books about design. This pleasantly surprising list has a very different take on the subject. It focuses on building empathy rather than technical skills.

Books Recommended by This Article Include:

  1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. The Emperor’s Babe by Bernardine Evaristo
  3. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  4. The Bees by Laline Paull
  5. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
From: | VIDEO - 5 min: New MUST HAVE Design Resources (FREE DOWNLOADS) by Satori Graphics

Here are some FREE graphic design resources you may not know about yet! Satori Graphics has rounded up this excellent collection of tools that include templates, PSD mockups, a website that allows you to test the usability of color combinations, and more!

Resources From This Video:

From: | VIDEO - 9 min: Redesigning a Famous Chocolate Packaging by Abi Connick

Abi Connick is a graphic designer who picked up some Quality Street Chocolates while traveling in London and decided to redesign the packaging into something more festive for the holidays. This video is great because she walks you through her redesign process from start to finish.

Career Advice for Creatives

From: | ARTICLE - 6 min read: Insight from creatives on lessons learned in 2021 and what they'll be doing differently next year by Katy Cowan

After almost two years of living in "unprecedented times," those of us in creative fields have learned many lessons about what we want from our lives and careers. In this article, members of the Creative Boom share what they will be doing less or more of in 2022.

Freelancer Resolutions for 2022:

  1. Approach past clients
  2. Be honest
  3. Look after your health
  4. Get organized
  5. Be proactive
freelancer looks for career advice for creatives to grow his business
From: | ARTICLE - 12 min read: Communication tips for UX designers by Edward Chechique

As designers, communication skills are so critical. This article is full of tips on effectively explaining your decisions and ideas.

Fun Finds

From: | ARTICLE - 7 min read: 70s Graphic Design Trends With Today’s Tastes by Palette Pursuit

We've all seen the modern-retro designs that became so popular this past year, but have you ever wondered what makes a design "retro?" And why is retro design synonymous with the 1970s? This article takes a deep (and visually stunning) dive into the history of modern-retro design. 

Elements of ’70s Graphic Design

  • Simple shapes
  • Clashing colors
  • Freeform typography
  • Hippie motifs
  • 70s Rock music
From: | DESIGN: Some Work • 2021 // Pt.2 by Van Orton Design®

If you’re a fan of Frida Kahlo, stained glass windows, and bold colors, this collection is for you. 

From: | ARTICLE - 4 min read: the best office holiday party date story of all time by Alison Green

This story will make you laugh and cringe—a perfect combination for this holiday season. 

From: | ARTICLE - ? min read: 10 Anime With The Best Background Art (That Aren't Studio Ghibli) by Polluy Scott

This unique collection of intricate background art might surprise you.

From: | DESIGN: GenArts Experiments * 12.21 by Antlii ™

The interactive images in this collection get more and more unique as you scroll down.

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