Creative Review: Finding Purpose in 2021

It’s March again. How are you coping? One year into our all-remote workflow, Trollback staffers share their inspirations and insights on how to create in the “new normal.”

Question 01: On a scale of 1-10, how inspired are you feeling lately? 

From endless Zoom calls to creative isolation, we’ve all felt the ups and downs of designing virtually. A quick snapshot of our studio reveals that most people right now are hovering around a six to eight on the inspiration spectrum – somewhere between “let’s go make this!” and  “I need more fodder!”


Question 02: What keeps you motivated to create virtually?

In a design studio built around beauty, logic, and creative purpose, it’s no surprise that our top four responses to this question revolve around combining ideas and aesthetics to communicate impact in the world around us. This year, big brands and big design splashes seem to appear less important to our creators than ever. Instead, we’re finding purpose from within.


Question 03: What are you reading right now for creative inspiration?

Back in the studio, our designers, strategists, and producers were always surrounded by a library of books and references to access when they got stuck. Now, we’re immersing ourselves in a fascinating dynamic of far-out fiction and news/nonfiction – reading for escape and information – with just a few design books in between.


Question 04: What creative resources could you not live without?

In an increasingly virtual world, it’s also telling that our creators are split nearly down the middle of the digital and analog spectrum in the tools they’re currently using to stay motivated and inspired. Our desire to break out of our screens and re-enter real life whenever possible seems a very real creative drive across all of our mini-studios. When in doubt, there’s always music and ice cream.


Question 05: What kind of creative projects do you want to work on more in 2021?

Campaigns, community projects, and show titles/packages were the clear winners in this category, and reflect a lot of the projects we worked on from home in 2020 – from re-envisioning the creative identity of Brooklyn-based NGO Mixteca to creating a promo package for Stephen Colbert’s election night special. The types of work we’re interested in this year also reflect the balance of the creative and strategy teams we’re currently fostering at the studio, where big thinking meets design thinking meets our ideal creative specialties.


Question 06: What are you watching right now for a creative escape?

First off, lots of HBO on our studio’s 2021 watch-list. You’ll also see that our creators are clearly trying to stay up on what’s popular and trending in the streaming and entertainment landscapes – from WandaVision to the online zeitgeist’s recent fascination with Shelley Duval. Call it escapism or call it market research, trust that there’s a reason we’re all watching so much TV and film lately.


Question 07: What does the design and animation world need more of as we head into the “new normal” of spring 2021? 

Finally, we wanted to hear from staff their thoughts on how we move forward into a new creative future. In a year where inequities were brought to the forefront in almost every industry, and an industry where an estimated 71% of designers are white, diversity is top of mind for the vast majority of creators at our studio. Purpose, collaboration, and originality quickly follow. How will you help us build community and impact in 2021?


To see these infographics in motion, head to our Instagram, where we’ll be publishing more insights throughout the week.

If you’re interested in collaborating or working with us, please reach out to us at hello@trollback.com. We’re currently on the lookout for new clients and new creative talent to help us bring these ideas, inspirations, and impacts to life.