If you’re like everyone else on the planet, you could use a little pick-me-up after this year. No matter why you’re down (and there are certainly no shortages of reasons), we all could benefit from a little inspiration, a little creativity and a little humor about the events of 2020. So we asked our worldwide community of designers to create some motivational posters to reflect the vibe of the last year—and the sense of hope for 2021.

In our recent Design Without Borders report, we surveyed 11,000 designers in 147 countries about their 2020 experiences. While designers faced many challenges, they also revealed an undeniable sense of optimism for the future. In fact, an astonishing 98% of freelancers responded that they felt optimistic about 2021, both regarding the industry and on a personal level.

You can see that optimism shine through in the 9 motivational posters below. We hope you can look at them and share our hopefulness… or at least crack a momentary smile!

Never Be Afraid To Do You! by Super South Studios

2020 motivational posters from freelance designers
Never Be Afraid To Do You! by Super South Studios

Super South Studios created this poster as an ode to self-acceptance after facing hard times. In the words of the designer:

“I lost my job this year due to COVID-19 and had to re-evaluate my life and what career I was going to pursue, so I decided to delve into illustration and animation because this is something I very much enjoy to do. My family does not support my choice, but I have decided that my happiness is more important than their judgment.”

Let it Be by Natalia Maca

2020 motivational posters from designers
Let it Be by Natalia Maca

This personal “visual diary” from Natalia Maca includes the key details from her year: rediscovering baking, lots of tea breaks, staying home, working via Zoom, exercising with yoga and looking after her plants.

Achievement Unlocked by Nida Mars

2020 motivational posters from designers
Achievement Unlocked by Nida Mars

Full of positivity, Nida Mars volunteers as a graphic designer in her hometown and works as a gallery curator in addition to her freelance work.

“This motivational poster is inspired by 2020. If you survived it, you can survive anything!”

Don’t Swipe by Ocelittle

2020 motivational posters from designers
Don’t swipe by Ocelittle

Hanging your head during the walk of shame? Don’t worry, we’ve all made that mistake—Ocelittle puts a cute face on our collective disappointment.

Maybe 2021 will be the year of our dreams?

No plants were harmed in the making of 2020 by Zombijana Bones

2020 motivational posters from designers
No plants were harmed in the making of 2020, by Zombijana Bones

Zombijana Bones, a designer known for her quirky-but-realistic illustrations, finds the silver lining.

Sure, we were all stuck at home in 2020, but at least it gave us more time to care for our green-leafed friends.

We’re In This Together by Fe Melo

2020 motivational posters from designers
We’re in this together by Fe Melo

Eschewing humor for raw emotion, Fe Malo hits the nail on the head for those feelings of universal empathy and coming together. Human contact was in short supply this year, and that was precisely the designer’s inspiration, as she explains:

“I thought about what I missed most and it was hugging my friends. So many people need a hug now after all that’s happened, so the idea was to empathize with those who experienced loss, felt alone in these times and just needed a friendly hug and a reminder that we will overcome all that.”

Fail Better by Shoobo’s

2020 motivational posters from designers
Fail better by Shoobo’s

Motivation can come from lots of places; we often view it as thinking positive, but it’s just as much about not thinking negative.

The designer Shoobo’s taps into feelings of determination, resilience and staying cool in the face of adversity—in this case, 50s cool.

Good Things Ahead by m.arta

2020 motivational posters from designers
Good things ahead by m.arta

Environmental concerns were at the forefront of many people’s minds, even during the pandemic. Designer m.arta wanted to focus on this and the hope underneath it—all we have to do is believe this awesome motivational poster.

“This year I’m most motivated by hope for a better future! Environmental protection is also important to me, so I used a clover to remind us about one of the few positive and very important aspects of the pandemic: improving the condition of our planet and people’s awareness of climate change.”

Hang in There by CriDascalu

2020 motivational posters from designers
Hang in there by CriDascalu

Known for her depictions of faces, CriDascalu chose the most common face of 2020: one hidden behind a mask. But despite the mask, this depiction comes across as heartwarming and hopeful—and if that doesn’t define our attitude going into the new year, we don’t know what does.

The world needs these motivational posters right now

Despite all the bad news of 2020, here’s some good news that no one can refute: it’s almost over! But regardless of what comes next, the events of 2020 have forever changed the world. Among those many changes is the freelance industry: the influx of remote work and radical shifts in how regular people do business mean the design industry will never be the same.

We never intended for our yearly industry report Design Without Borders to be so insightful, but after the year the freelance workforce endured, here we are. We asked our designer community to share their experiences from 2020 so we could glean some predictions into the future of the industry, but we accidentally unlocked something a little more… human.

If you’d like to see for yourself, you can download and read the designer report for free. It contains interesting and worthwhile perspectives into the state of the creative freelance workforce in 2020, and also—surprisingly—there’s a lot of heart there, too.

Read Design Without Borders
Find out what happened when the whole world went freelance.