The 25-most viewed GIFs of 2020 revealed

One of the 25 most-viewed GIFs of the year (Image credit: Giphy)

After the deeply unusual and unsettling year that has been 2020, many of us are no doubt feeling grateful that a new one is about to begin. And while you'd be forgiven for not wanting to look back at 2020 at all, perhaps the most palatable to do so is through the medium of GIFs – and a new roundup from Giphy is here to help you do just that.

The site has revealed its annual 25 most-viewed animations of the year, and from dumpsters on fire to social distancing reminders (below), they do a pretty good job of summing up highs and, more pertinently, the lows of 2020. (Check out our best animation tools if you fancy creating your own masterpiece.)

"We truly did not know what to expect as we prepared to pull our most-viewed GIFs of the year," Giphy says. "What sentiment would they reflect? What emotions were most-searched during these turbulent times? The answer — as you’ll see below — was actually very encouraging."

It probably won't come as much of a surprise that many of the most-viewed GIFs are amusing and light. Indeed, the humble GIF doesn't exactly lend itself to gravitas – we'd say it's only just ahead of the emoji when it comes to expressing the complexities of the human condition. But that simplicity can be effective – perhaps the most apt representation of our feelings towards the year are summed up by a rubbish bag labelled 2020 being tossed into a bin (below).

That said, there are some surprisingly earnest examples. The top-viewed GIF of the year (with a whopping 1,061,535,526 views – that's the power of the internet for you, folks) was made by cartoonist Red & Howling, and involves a message of gratitude for "all the selfless humans on the frontlines". It also features a dog in a hat (because why not?).

But while there are a few generic entries (dancing muppets, dancing aliens, dancing teddy bears), many of the GIFs are unmistakably creations of 2020. Here are some of our favourites that could only have been made this year:

You can see all 25 GIFs over at Giphy. And if you fancy looking forward instead of backwards (and we really can't blame you), check out these 10 unmissable graphic design trends for 2021

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.