NIXSolutions: Creative Trends for 2022 from Adobe Stock

The visuals that a person encounters are often a reflection of their state of mind. In the recent phase of the pandemic, people have focused on fun and whimsy and nature.

These themes are in line with research and data compiled by Adobe Stock, which sees a surge in interest in upbeat and authentic illustrations, vectors, photography, 3D, immersive experiences, and motion graphics. Its results have been combined into Creative Trends’ 2022 forecast.


Visual trends

Powerfully playful

It’s amazing how many brands and campaigns offer themes of optimism and playfulness. Powerfully Playful delights with vibrant, bold colors, play and dance, animated elements and nostalgia. For weary consumers across a range of sectors, from fashion and beauty, food and beverage to other mainstream product segments, this trend focuses on feelings of laughter, enthusiasm and hope. At the heart of this trend is tenacity: the determination to keep walking and smiling in the face of growing challenges, no matter how difficult.

Focus on yourself

With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic still taking its toll on the world, and many of them coming back to public life with new stresses, we are all struggling with some degree of burnout and self-doubt. In uncertain and difficult times, people massively turn to the value of prioritizing and maintaining their mental health. Even internationally renowned elite athletes such as Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles defend themselves by refusing to participate in high-profile sporting events, and there is increasing recognition for the right we all have to set strict boundaries in the name of our mental well-being, says MMR.

Planet in priority

Public concern about the environment and climate change is at an all-time high. 2021 has brought one natural disaster after another, from floods to wildfires, constantly bringing attention to the reality of climate change. However, the visual trend of Prioritize Our Planet is more than just continuing to move towards greater sustainability; it reflects a growing desire for revival and a change in course towards environmental destruction. As consumers become more aware and sophisticated about environmental topics, big brands continue to emphasize their commitment to these values.

In movement

Most of the campaigns are filled with dynamic movement, notes NIXSolutions. Even in stationary ads, visuals of folds of clothing and hair, or graceful lines of dancing bodies in motion, show more than a moment. Movement as a central theme in the brand’s advertising campaigns is not only beautiful and visually inspiring, but also gives us the opportunity to experience physicality without having to touch it. While we may be alone, working remotely, socially distancing ourselves from each other, these visuals allow us to remain sensually connected, at least in our minds.

Design trends

Soft pop

Soft Pop is a trend defined by fun, flexible shapes. These visuals are largely characterized by 3D cartoons and character storytelling. Design-oriented cousin of the Powerfully Playful visual trend, Soft Pop exudes playful optimism and pleasing colors. Recurring elements of this trend include emojis, cartoons, and characters infused with personality; soft, rounded, curved or exaggerated shapes. Typeface is a huge part of this trend.

New naturalism

The aesthetics of the new naturalism is defined by pure modernism and an almost clinical elevation of the organic. These visuals are inspired by process art, post-minimalism, and living in purity. Most prominently in fresh, contemporary designs that emphasize compositional elements to make their mark, authors have seen the emergence of New Naturalism in many industries, especially in fashion, beauty and interior design. Black, white and terracotta color palettes blend with earthy tones such as mossy, deep greens.

Heritage Craft

Glorifying creative craft and heritage through handcrafted illustrations and design elements, Heritage Craft explodes with layered and joyful maximalism from around the world, exploring local folk art, patterns, illustration and design. The trend introduces various hyperlocal and regional art and design elements, mixing colorful, hand-drawn and chaotic organic and geometric shapes. Besides geometry, we see an abundance of shapes and natural themes, as well as decorative serifs or hand-drawn type. This trend is especially strong in textile and pattern design, packaging and brand design, illustration, seasonal stationery, and mockups.

Transcendental imagery

Otherworldly Visions draws on a slightly cynical yet creative and progressive alternate reality. Combining influences and elements of Afrofuturism, solarpunk and vaporwave aesthetics, these designs can include softened color gradients, ethereal illustrations, optical illusions, and wild design combinations exploring dreamy contrasts. Highly sophisticated and intellectually driven, this trend inherits high-tech elements from cyberpunk and sci-fi aesthetics, but takes them to a whole new place with lush, surreal gradients, 3D surfaces and textures, as well as extraterrestrial fashion and scenography on and off the screen.