Winter call for content: Adobe Stock gets ready for the cozy season

Photo of young woman and child in bed laughing

Credit: Adobe Stock / Nabi Tang/Stocksy

By Brenda Milis

Posted on 10-15-2020

While many of us are enjoying the last days of summer, Adobe Stock clients are starting to think about their winter campaigns and projects now. For artists creating illustrations, vectors, videos, or still photography for stock, this is the perfect time to plan and submit new content to Adobe Stock and get in front of those customers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to have global effects, artists are wondering what’s different this year about the stock imagery most in demand. While our winter gatherings and celebrations may look very different this year, the joy they bring remains very familiar. The key to creating with today’s needs in mind is to consider how the pandemic may have shifted the way we all participate in traditional and everyday activities.

The overarching theme you’ll find across cultures and brand campaigns this season is one of comfort and connection. This is evergreen when we think about what winter means to us, year after year, and it’s particularly pertinent as the pandemic continues and many of us visit each other virtually, or in careful, smaller groups. Under the circumstances, many are thinking deeper about how to connect to each other in new ways. And let’s face it: these are uncertain times, and many are looking for comfort.

That’s one thing that’s so powerful about traditional winter seasonal content: it offers us comfort and connection every year when we need it most.

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At Adobe Stock, we’re looking for seasonal winter content of all types: photographs, video clips, vectors and illustrations, across topics, visual styles, and regional traditions. Here’s a look at a few of our top winter topics to get your inspiration going.

Illustration of plants, flowers and wreath

Credit: Adobe Stock / pinkpueblo

Color scheme of plants and wreath illustration

Cozy color and texture

Color and texture are some of the easiest and most powerful ways to convey mood, emotion, and season, so that’s a great place to start.

Granted, the “typical” outdoor winter colors and textures skew toward Northern Hemisphere weather (cool blues, pale snowy and icy tones), but no matter where you’re located there are winter color palettes to unlock inspiration. Cozier indoor winter activities like fires in the fireplace or cuddling with loved ones evoke bone-deep warmth, safety, and a sense of home.

Illustration of cat looking out window at snow and sparse trees

Credit: Adobe Stock / Ksenia Shokorova

Color scheme of cat illustration

Seasonal crafting and giving

Holiday activities like decorating around the home, arts and crafting, and DIY projects bring people together every year to connect creatively while making something new. Another holiday staple, exchanging gifts, is a perfect opportunity for colorful, festive photos and illustrations of the process of assembling gifts, wrapping and decorating, the decor materials themselves, and the moment of surprise and delight for the recipients.

Boy working on Gingerbread house

Credit: Adobe Stock / Léa Jones/Stocksy

Beyond gifting, making and sending seasonal greeting cards, and decorating outdoor spaces and home exteriors are all recurring activities that stock can depict with regional variations and specificity to produce authentic, in-demand imagery.

Two young women packing gifts for donation

Credit: Adobe Stock / Hero Images

Giving has taken on a wider meaning in recent years, and the pandemic has highlighted this, too. Besides giving material gifts to our loved ones, many of us are using the winter season as a time to give back to our communities, supporting our friends, family, and favorite charities. Whether crafting posters to thank essential workers, packing holiday meals to donate, or sewing protective face masks for others, giving encompasses acts of community and compassion.

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Embracing the season

While many folks who have been sheltering in place for long weeks or months may feel frustrated and tired of being home, the seasonal change to winter brings with it a chance to reset our frame of mind.

Staying home, cuddling and cocooning with children and pets might have felt a bit “off” during the COVID-restricted summer months, when many of us are used to spending more time in restaurants, in shops, at the beach, or on vacation. However, all of those home-loving, family-centric activities feel very right during wintertime. Our human need for connection coupled with the annual tendency towards winter hibernation makes home feel like a place of comfort and celebration again, as we engage in familiar family traditions.

Diverse family on couch in pajamas talking and playing

Credit: Adobe Stock / Sam Edwards/Caia Image

The important thing about these types of photographs, videos, or illustrations is that the warmth comes through in the lighting, colors, textures, and the faces or poses of your models. There’s no requirement that you must live in a place with cold or snowy winter weather to create soothing, relatable, successful content that’s completely seasonally appropriate and in demand.

Culture and tradition

Gone are the days when brands could get away with representing Christmas as the only significant holiday of the season. Today’s consumers are extremely diverse, globally and culturally aware, and interested in inclusivity. Similarly, brands have a heightened awareness of the need for authentically representing their diverse customers with campaign imagery that includes individuals of different backgrounds, ages, and lifestyles.

Indian woman and child lighting candles in the shape of a tree

Credit: Adobe Stock / Saptak Ganguly/Stocksy

What this means for winter and holiday content is that there’s an increased appetite for imagery depicting more variety when it comes to religious, and regional or hyper-local celebrations and traditions. For major holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice and others, consider how differently each holiday might look across cultures and locales; Christmas in Mexico City, Berlin, and Tokyo all look different.

On top of that, winter 2020 brings a continued need for social distancing and smaller gatherings—or even virtual ones. Brands will be looking for stock content that reflects our new reality, and imagines ways to ignite precious connections and maintain traditions while maintaining our safety.

Mother and two daughters waving at computer screen with Xmas tree in background

Credit: Adobe Stock / Hero Images

Winter pantry and feasting

During the pandemic, people staying home more have rediscovered the joy and satisfaction of cooking, baking, and eating from scratch. Winter is always a season synonymous with stocking up, creating special desserts, and cooking big, festive meals to share with family and friends, and this year food is more of a focal point than usual.

2 images: left is pastry dough in shape of moon and stars. Right is an artistic photo of a plate with fork and knife standing on end

Credit: Adobe Stock / Melanie DeFazio Photography/Stocksy (left) Credit: Adobe Stock / Yaroslav Danylchenko/Stocksy (right)

Feast table from above

Credit: Adobe Stock / Jill Chen/Stocksy

Color scheme of feast table photo

For stock content, we’re looking at how the details around the home create a vision of winter cooking and eating as the highlight of many of our days. Meticulous images of stocked pantry and grocery shelves, ingredients all laid out in the kitchen, homemade and preserved treats, seasonal produce and spices, and all stages of a meal, from preparation to picturesque plates, to a gathering’s messy and satisfying aftermath.

That theme of comfort and connection comes back here, too, as we look to images of multigenerational families poring over beloved recipes handed down through the years, or kids, parents, and friends all pitching in to create a delectable feast.

Older woman and younger child at kitchen table making food

Credit: Adobe Stock / Stocksy

Young people in kitchen danciing

Credit: Adobe Stock / Jarusha Brown/Caia Image

Download our full winter call for content here. You can also join our Discord channel for stock artists here and follow the #call-for-content channel. When you’re ready, submit your latest content to Adobe Stock.

For a deeper dive and more visual examples of 2020 Winter trends, check out this recording of our recent webinar with Principal of Visual Trends, Brenda Milis and Adobe Stock Contributor Evangelist Mat Hayward.

View our winter inspiration gallery on Adobe Stock.

Topics: Insights & Inspiration, Trends & Research, Creativity, Media & Entertainment, Creative Cloud, Retail and ECommerce Trends

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