Twenty images that offer a lens on 2020

By December 29, 2020ISDose

McKinsey designers highlight the photos and illustrations that helped us tell the visual story of a remarkable year.


The way we see the world may well have changed in the course of 2020—as the global pandemic has upended our personal and professional lives. As the year draws to a close, we turned to McKinsey’s designers to get perspective on the images that helped bring our insights to life.

While we sometimes commission bespoke art for our articles and reports, for the most part we curate our visuals from outside image libraries. Even in prepandemic times, this presented special challenges when it came to selection (does the visual messaging fit the topic and tone of the piece?) and adaptation (is the image treatment consistent with our style and brand?). But in a year where much of the world spent many months maintaining some level of physical distancing, large swaths of the images in the libraries we access—those that showed people in the close proximity we were all used to before the pandemic—became unusable.

See our designers’ favorites from this year and why they resonated, then read the stories behind them to understand some of the year’s most important issues.

Guest Author: Parry Malm

This article first appeared in

Seeking to build and grow your brand using the force of consumer insight, strategic foresight, creative disruption and technology prowess? Talk to us at +971 50 6254340 or or visit