Consumers search for inspiration and relief through nature, Adobe reveals

Recently, Adobe announced their Adobe Stock 2023 Annual Creative Trends Forecast, showcasing the trending visual styles and themes set to scale in demand and appeal to the general public throughout 2023. For the 6th consecutive year, Adobe has analysed emerging visual cultural themes and major brand campaigns across a myriad of creative sectors.

From the work of celebrated fashion designers to the creations of everyday social media users – and gathered stock industry data, Adobe has been able to identify the design trends and aesthetics that will dominate the digital space in the coming year based on their popularity.

What were the findings of the Adobe trends forecast?

  •  Adobe’s report predicts the global creative visual trends and themes – Psychic Waves, Real is Radical, Retro Active and Animals and Influencers – will dominate in demand and appeal in 2023.
  • Report shows that after the hardships of the last few years, consumers are searching for inspiration and relief through nature, familiarity and entertainment, with imagery that provokes new ways of thinking.
  • Consumers are determined to foster change and make progress using their creativity and influence to advance social causes, through authentic and real images.
  • With 46% of Gen Z’s saying they are anxious and stressed most of the time, there is a need for visuals that bring forward calming gradients full of vibrant colors.

Adobe has always been at the forefront of creativity and as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we are again looking around the corner, scouting for the trends shaping our industry. This year’s Adobe Stock 2023 Annual Creative Trends Forecast predicts four key creative themes spanning visual, design, and motion, that will significantly influence content across photography, videography, creative writing, social media platforms, blogs and more.

‘Psychic Waves,’ ‘Real is Radical,’ ‘Retro Active’ and ‘Animals and Influencers.’ These emerging design themes as predicted by the forecast are expected to guide how the creator economy, which has grown to 303 million creators around the world, will tap into their creativity to create digital content that resonates with their respective online audiences in the year, 2023.

“As we emerge from a time overshadowed by uncertainty related to the pandemic, people crave content that feels familiar yet fresh, but evokes feelings through authentic, inclusive and unfiltered experiences,” said Brenda Milis, Principal of Consumer and Creative Insights, Adobe. These trends are indicative of how creators are envisioning and shaping our world and using their platforms to share content that brings joy to people in their own unique styles.”

What are the four key Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends?

  • Psychic waves: The post-pandemic shift towards prioritising mental health and wellness is driving GenZ content creators to explore new ways of exploring spirituality, nature, and wellness. With 46% of Gen Z saying they are anxious and stressed, there is a need for the visual effect of Psychic Waves which includes calming gradients full of vibrant colors.

This trend is focused on creative authenticity as an outlet for expression, including escaping reality, through psychedelic gradients, vibrant colors and aesthetics that imply blurred vision

  • Real is radical: In combating perfectionist content, the Real is Radical trend is a celebration of unvarnished moments and experiences. Brands are embracing campaigns featuring all races, genders, ages, abilities, sizes — swapping out curated for candid moments.

According to recent Pinterest Body Neutrality report there is a 36% “loving myself” searches and 32% “how to become more confident” searches. The trend has major presence across social, brand campaigns, and wildly successful new apps like 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.

  • Retro active: Inspired by Gen Z evolving and experimenting with the aesthetics popular before they were born, the Retro Active trend focuses on exploring vintage styles and modernising them. Similar to Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X creators are exploring this resurgence, finding familiarity in the creative styles of the 90s and Y2K, such as retro skateboard scenes to candy-color fashions, boom boxes and classic video game controllers.

Though the younger generation, particularly 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 percent of the Creator Economy, thus propelling these trends further.

  • Animals and influencers: This whimsical theme appeals to the consumer affection and engagement evoked from charming and adorable creatures and figures. Whether it be a real-life furry friend or a charming anime avatar, charismatic creatures have proven themselves to be powerful tools that attract and retain consumer interest and engagement.

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. The feelings this trend evokes tie back to what consumers and creators alike crave, and that is to feel happiness and positivity. Over the past two years, there was a 118% rise in global demand for anime.

Since virtual influencers yield 3 times more engagement than humans (many finding them more trustworthy and relatable), brands are leveraging them in more and more ads.


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