Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends Forecast: Psychedelics, Real, Retro & Animals Trending

Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends Forecast: Psychedelics, Real, Retro & Animals Trending


San Jose, CA—Adobe released the findings of its Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends forecast. The study showcases four key creative themes spanning visual, design and motion that will significantly influence content across photography, videography, creative writing, social media platforms and blogs.

Moreover, the findings reveal that Psychic Waves, Real Is Radical, Retro Active as well as Animals and Influencers themes will guide the creator economy.

For the sixth consecutive year, Adobe analyzed emerging visual cultural themes and major brand campaigns across a myriad of sectors. They ranged from the work of celebrated fashion designers to the creations of everyday users. Adobe gathered stock industry data to identify the design trends and aesthetics that will dominate the digital space in the coming year.

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“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,” said Brenda Milis, principal of consumer and creative insights at Adobe.

“These trends are indicative of how creators are envisioning and shaping our world as well as using their platforms to share content that brings joy and happiness in their own unique styles to people globally.”

Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends

Here is a closer look at the four key Adobe Stock 2023 creative trends.

Psychic Waves

The post-pandemic shift toward prioritizing mental health and wellness is driving new ways of exploring spirituality, nature and wellness. With 46% of gen Z saying they are anxious and stressed, there’s a need for the visual effect of “Psychic Waves.” They  include calming gradients full of vibrant colors.

According to Adobe, this new trend is focused on creative authenticity as an outlet for expression. It supports escaping reality through psychedelic gradients, vibrant colors and aesthetics that incorporate surrealism styles to convey experiences beyond the visible, tangible world.

Real Is Radical

Furthermore, as a combat against highly curated and filtered content, the Real Is Radical trend is popular. It is a celebration of candid, unvarnished moments, experiences and realities. The report predicts that brands will embrace campaigns featuring all races, genders, ages, abilities and sizes. They will also be “swapping out curated for candid moments.”

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

Ranging from rebellious, aggressive and provocative to deeply vulnerable, Real Is Radical visuals create powerful connections. They also aim to inspire a sense of community across media channels and platforms.

Retro Active

This trend is inspired by gen Z creators evolving and experimenting with the aesthetics popular before they were born. The Retro Active trend focuses on exploring vintage styles and modernizing them. Like gen Z, millennial and gen X creators are exploring this resurgence. According to Adobe, they are finding comfort and familiarity in the creative styles of the 1990s and Y2K. This may include retro skateboard scenes to candy-color fashions, boom boxes and classic video game controllers. Adobe-Logo creative cloud express

What’s more, the study sees gen Z creators as influential in developing these trends. However, millennials still comprise a large portion of the creator economy. “In fact, millennials make up 42% of the creator economy, thus propelling these trends further.”

Animals and Influencers

This whimsical theme appeals to the consumer affection and engagement evoked by adorable creatures and virtual influencers. Whether it be a real-life furry friend or an anime avatar, charismatic creatures have proven themselves as powerful tools that attract and retain consumer interest and engagement. As a result, they will prove a dominating presence in brand messaging, proliferating across sectors in the form of photography, anime, illustrations and 3D renders.

“The feelings this trend evokes tie back to what consumers and creators alike crave. That is to feel happiness and positivity as well as entertained,” stated Adobe.

In addition, over the past two years, there was a 118% rise in global demand for anime. Since virtual influencers yield three times more engagement than humans (many finding them more trustworthy and relatable), brands are leveraging them in more and more ads.

The Adobe Stock 2023 Creative Trends forecast can be found in full here.