What a year! Beginning in January, 99designs invited different Top Level designers to take over our Instagram account each week, showing the world how their daily lives inspire great design. This journey took us to thirty different cities across the globe.

We started in Rotterdam with Groenendijk95, sharing beautiful street art that channels the style of Gustav Klimt.

Photo courtesy of Groenendijk95

From Europe, we traveled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia with BATHI and his son. Fun fact: instead of napkins, restaurants put toilet paper on the table!

Both photos courtesy of BATHI

We also got to check out Orkha studio in Malang, a unique creative coworking space founded by community leader fattah setiawan.

orkha_studio_
Photo courtesy of fattah setiawan

Next we saw Brighton, England through the eyes of Descience, who finds beauty in the subtle qualities of his quaint seaside town.

Both photos courtesy of Descience

Plenty of time was spent in Belgrade, which ananana14 aptly calls “a city of opposites” for its interesting architectural juxtapositions. While ananana14 and kosta-xd showed us the city with their cameras, designer GmbH used miniature drawings for a unique perspective on the city!

Photo courtesy of ananana14
Photo courtesy of kosta-xd
Photo courtesy of GmbH

Throughout the year, we were introduced to some of the coolest art from across the globe, like Danilo Baletic’s larger-than-life transformers in Croatia (thanks, cmyk13!) and the mesmerizing stop-motion sculptures of Gregory Barsamian, which inspire Parisian designer JulienQui.

Photo courtesy of cmyk13
Photo courtesy of JulienQui

Our virtual travels never ceased to entertain and inspire. We rode a Jeepney in Manila with MANTSA, met the Palenqueras of Colombia with Luz Viera and absorbed the bright colors of Quebec with Emanuela.

Photo courtesy of MANTSA
Photo courtesy of Luz Viera
Photo courtesy of Emanuela

Just when we thought there was nothing new we could possibly see, CrossTheLime showed us the funky street art in Hamburg that inspires her illustrations, and m0mentum floored us with a photo of a 2000-year-old salt mine-turned-theme park in Bucharest.

Photo courtesy of CrossTheLime
Photo courtesy of m0mentum

We saw so many amazing things and learned so much about each city, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Needless to say, it makes sense why so many designers look to their hometowns for design inspiration:

Many of purpleri’s designs are inspired by the sea she saw everyday growing up in Carrara, Italy
This design by Frankie Cadillac refers to the rising of Kukulkan, a Mayan god important to Mexican culture
The bridges of Bosnia and Herzegovina were the driving force behind this book cover designed by PrštiPerje

And (not surprisingly), our designers have amazing studios where the magic happens.

Martis Lupus’ dreamy studio in Iasi, Romania
DSKY’s studio assistant is a calligraphy wiz
08-15-romania-workspace
Digital illustration of Anve’s workspace (notice the Game of Thrones posters!)

Our favorite part of the campaign, however, was the opportunity to learn about our designers’ lives offline:

Serbian designer Ludibes has a secret talent for woodworking
Croatian designer Artrocityhas a passion for veganism
D_MANN is an interior design wiz in Bulgaria
Smashingbug has two cats, one pictured here and another named “Jesse” after Breaking Bad
Every week DORARPOL gets coffee in Indonesia with his designer friends
07-12-charleston-portrait
And Envelup Design from Charleston, South Carolina really, really likes animals.

At the end of our year-long journey, we were filled with wanderlust and, more importantly, immense gratitude. We saw the world through thirty different perspectives and shared that experience with all of you, thanks to our global community of talented designers.

Thank you to all the designers who participated, and to our community at large for making 2016 such an inspiring year. You rock our world!

To see our journey in full, check out #designisglobal on Instagram, and don’t forget to follow us to see what we’re up to in 2017. Hint: it involves colors!