Report: Real, retro, animals and wellness will dominate creative in 2023

Latest Adobe creative trends forecast explores four major trends being embraced in the creator economy

Real, retro, animal influences and wellness are dominating creative visual trends and design aesthetics going into 2023, Adobe’s latest Stock 2023 Annual Creative Trends Forecast suggests.

The sixth annual report, based on analysis of industry stock trends as well as internal and external data including creative and brand campaign creative, identified four key trends leading visual designs into the New Year.

First up is what the report dubbed ‘psychic waves’, or a rise in new ways of exploring spiritualty, nature and wellness driven by the post-pandemic experiences of consumers. This was emphasised by calming gradients full of vibrant colours, as well as aesthetics implying blurred vision. Adobe pointed to Deloitte 2002 research showing 46 per cent of gen Z now say they’re stressed or anxious most, if not all of the time. It also noted the psychic services market was worth US$2.2 billion in the US alone, according to 2021 IBIS World figures

The second trend identified in the report is ‘real is radical’, or the celebration of candid, unvarnished moments, experiences and realities. This is being reflected in embracing diversity and inclusion visually, as well as candid content. Adobe noted the trend has a major presence across social, brand campaigns plus via new apps such as BeReal and Locket.

“Ranging from rebellious, aggressive and provocative to deeply vulnerable, ‘real is radical’ visuals create powerful connections and inspire a sense of community across media channels and platforms,” the report stated.

The third creative trend is ‘retro active’, or the desire to explore vintage styles while modernising them. While this is a trend being driven by gen Z, the report said Millennial and Gen X creators are also exploring this resurgence through creative styles of the 1990s and Y2K. Examples highlighted included retro skateboard scenes, candy-color fashions, boom boxes and classic video game controllers.

“Though Gen Z creators are influential in developing these trends, Millennials still comprise a large portion of the creator economy. In fact, Millennials make up 42 per cent of the creator economy, thus propelling these trends further,” the report stated.

The fourth trend is ‘animals and influencers’ a whimsical creative feel being expressed through charming and adorable creatures and figures, from real-life furry pets to anime avatars.

“Charismatic creatures have proven themselves to be powerful tools that attract and retain consumer interest and engagement,” the report stated. “As a result, they have become a dominating presence in brand messaging, proliferating across sectors in the form of anime, illustrations, photography, and 3D renders.”

For Adobe principal of Consumer and Creative Insights, Brenda Milis, the trends indicate how creators are envisioning and shaping the world post-pandemic.

“As we emerge from a time overshadowed by uncertainty related to the global pandemic, people crave content that feels familiar yet fresh, but also evokes feelings through authentic, inclusive and unfiltered experiences,” she commented.  

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