Mood-boosting color is one of Adobe Stock’s 2021 visual trends.
Adobe Stock

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By Ian Zelaya

41 mins ago

The creative trends slated to dominate 2021 include compassionate, psychedelic, gradient and electronic audio content, according to Adobe Stock

The software company’s stock image platform has released its 2021 Visual & Creative Trends Report, an annual forecast compiled by Adobe Stock’s creative team informed by consumer behavior from the previous year. 

Brenda Milis, principal of creative and consumer insights at Adobe, said Adobe Stock’s team studied data and signals from Adobe users, artists and influencers, as well as insights found in research reports, news and social media to choose this year’s trends. Adobe Stock’s State of Creativity Survey, which surveyed 600 creatives in 2020, found that the pandemic sparked an uptick in stock imagery use, with 49% of creators developing content meant to drive positive societal impacts.

The 2021 design trends include Psych Out. Adobe Stock

“These trends represent creators’ responses to social change and provide sources of strength, hope and optimism in a collective context to not only make sense of our world, but to navigate through it,” Milis said in a statement. “Creatives can learn strategic insights to stay ahead of the curve, confidently plan or pivot their next projects and campaigns and evolve their creative branding to enhance visual appeal throughout 2021.” 

This year’s report highlights design, motion and visual trends, as well as audio trends for the first time. Here’s what you can expect to see on the creativity front this year:

Visual trends

Compassionate Collective is another forecasted visual trend.Adobe Stock
  • Compassionate Collective: The effort to support, represent and empower diverse voices and identities through compassionate imagery following a challenging year.
  • Mood-boosting Color: The use vibrant and saturated colors meant to make people feel happier and energized.
  • Comfort zone: The trend will stress how the home has become a safe space for living and working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Breath of fresh air: The trend highlights how nature has offered temporary relief from indoor living restrictions, as well as evolving public response to climate change and sustainability. 

Design trends

Austere Romanticism includes Victorian- and natured-themed imagery.Adobe Stock
  • Austere romanticism: Design offering a Victorian-inspired take on the beauty of nature with a minimal and modern edge.
  • Vintage vaporwave: An ode to the 1990s Internet, offering a mix of pop art and outlined sticker graphics, bright pastels matched with neutral tones and lo-fi design elements. 
Vintage Vaporwave is a love letter to the 1990s Internet.Adobe Stock
  • Back to Bauhaus: Design highlighted by balanced layouts and graphics that create powerful messaging. The trend includes a return to fundamentals with clean, geometric shapes and vibrant primary colors.
  • Psych out: Inspired by the 1970s and the Art Nouveau movement, the trend includes expansive shapes, curvaceous forms and typefaces and dreamy illustrations are updated with luminous gradients and earthy color palettes.

Motion trends

  • Handheld: In response to Covid-19’s shutdown of traditional shoots, the DIY trend is highlighted through handheld footage and a user-generated content aesthetic. 
  • Media replacement: Video editors and social media gurus will create professional-quality videos by inserting photos and videos into motion templates to increase production value.
  • Transformative transitions: Creators will incorporate seamless, colorful transitions and graphical elements into videos to bring their stories to life. 
  • Gradient: More video editors will use the blending of vibrant colors to grab attention and offer a calming presence.

Audio Trends

To identify trends in this first-time category, Milis said Adobe worked with audio content partners to identify “sonic styles with mainstream appeal during a time when demand for audio content is soaring.”

Ian Zelaya

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Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.