Adobe Stock 2023 creative trends forecast: Seeking inspiration and authenticity

Neon close up portrait of young woman in red sunglasses. 80`s video game style.

Image credit: Adobe Stock / Igor Link.

The Adobe Stock team is passionate about visual culture. We’re dedicated to examining creative styles, consumer signals, and stock industry data on a global basis to identify the trends our customers need to know. And right now, we’re seeing interesting patterns take shape that will influence campaign needs in 2023.

As the world emerges from the worst of the pandemic, consumers are weary from the uncertainties they’ve endured over the past few years. Even so, they remain determined to foster change and make progress. We see these sentiments surfacing in visuals that are scaling in demand: content that provides respite and relief through familiarity and entertainment, imagery that inspires new ways of thinking, and the continued prioritization of authentic, inclusive, and unfiltered experiences.

Welcome to the 2023 creative trends forecast from Adobe Stock.

Collage of Contemporary minimal collage art, Abstract colorful rave music party design and an abstract background.

Clockwise from top left: Image credit: Adobe Stock / Porechenskaya , Adobe Stock / paul_craft , Adobe Stock / Maria Louceiro.

Psychic Waves

Linked to wellness and experimentation along with escapism, psychedelia, and surrealism, Psychic Waves is simultaneously an aesthetic, a mood, and a search for deeper meaning in a complex world. The trend has been woven into myriad brand messages across media and industry sectors, and it’s been embraced as a powerful mainstream storytelling style.

In Psychic Waves visuals, gradients serve as calming, even spiritual elements. Pastels and neons abound. And fonts with thin lines, surreal curves, and neon-light shapes help communicate expanding awareness and bold journeys into mental, emotional, and spiritual realms.

Explore the gallery | Get the font pack

Images of Fat fluffy white happy cat sleeps on yellow moon and futuristic young woman.

Clockwise from top: Image credit: Adobe Stock / flashmovie , Adobe Stock / Don Smith/Stocksy , Adobe Stock / roman3d.

Animals and Influencers

Whether cuddly creatures or synthetic influencers, virtual and animated characters proliferate in TV commercials, social ads, and even metaverse branding across all industry sectors. And it’s no surprise, given their ability to instantly spark affection and engagement in consumers.

The Animals and Influencers trend is all about whimsical, expressive, and charismatic characters that can support a wide range of messages for just about any product, from fashion to software, food to pet supplies, luxury goods to beverages. Paired with friendly, childlike, quirky fonts, these characters have the power to draw consumers in, inspire their loyalty, and influence their purchasing decisions.

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Image of Senior asian man portrait on pink background.

Image credit: Adobe Stock / Marko/Stocksy.

Image of man sitting on wooden with hand under chin.

Image credit: Adobe Stock / Adaeze Okaro.

Real is Radical

A trend reflecting unfiltered aesthetics and responding directly to the growing demand for authenticity, Real is Radical pushes back against idealized and curated content by celebrating candid and unvarnished moments, experiences, and realities. 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. Combine them with bold, expressive, and rough-hewn fonts to grab attention and push back against perfectionism.

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Left: Imagine of two people in retro active wear Right: Image of 90's inspired decals.

Clockwise from top left: Image credit: Adobe Stock / BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy , Adobe Stock / Dedraw Studio , Adobe Stock / Redbred.

Retro Active

As Gen Z creators evolve and experiment with styles that were popular before they were born, they’re having fun exploring vintage looks and applying them in updated ways. Older creators are participating in the resurgence, too, finding comfort and familiarity in the revival.

The Retro Active trend captures the surging interest in 90s and Y2K (a.k.a. noughties) aesthetics. Visuals encompass everything from retro skateboard scenes to candy-colored fashions to boom boxes, cassette tapes, and classic video game controllers. Fonts evoke the decades’ grunge styles, teen magazines, and arcade games to create some vintage fun. And with the rise of generative art, Retro Active looks, textures, and hues are as popular for avatars and virtual influencers as they are for real models.

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A person walks along the ocean against the background of stars and galaxies.

Image credit: Adobe Stock / Stas Pylypets/Stocksy.

Start planning your 2023 productions and campaigns today

Whether you’re a photographer, illustrator, videographer, or other type of digital creator, we encourage you to explore the above galleries and fonts and get inspired to produce and submit on-trend content to Adobe Stock. Submit your work now.

If you’re a stock buyer, be sure to check out the trends, absorb their moods and messages, and use them to inform your upcoming creative and campaigns. The trends are entering the mainstream now, and we expect them to stay relevant all year long.