Adobe Stock is a stock photo service that provides designers, businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies with tens of millions of carefully selected, high-quality royalty-free photos, videos, illustrations, vectors, 3D, and templates that can be used for any creative project. (Ref.)
Each year, the company publishes the Creative Trends Forecast, a global and regional forecast of creative trends.
Adobe Stock’s Creative Trends Forecast is divided into three sections: Visual Trends, Design Trends, and Motion Trends.
The 2022 Trends Forecast covered global and Japanese creative trends.
btrax collaborated with the Adobe Stock team on the Creative Trends Forecast for Japan.
In this article, we report on our interview with Brenda Milis, Adobe’s Principal of Consumer and Creative Insights, on the most recent global visual trends forecast.
Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself and your background?
Hi, I’m Brenda Milis and I currently work at Adobe Stock, where I lead the initiative to create and publish the annual Adobe Stock Creative Trends Forecast.
I started my career as a photo director working for a variety of industries.
I’ve been working with “visuals” since I started my career, so I’m used to researching visuals and the use of icons in photo stock.
Researching visuals has been a strength and passion of mine and because of that I was incredibly excited when I found that Adobe was launching a stock collection.
I find Adobe Stock’s Creative Trends Forecast to be quite influential because they forecast creative trends on a global scale, year round, based on ads and messaging that goes across all industries.
Q: Nowadays, visuals are found everywhere online, including on social networking sites.
But on the other hand, of course, the offline world is also full of visuals, such as billboards.
How has this change affected your research on contemporary creative trends?
All people, on all platforms, locations, and channels, are looking at images, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously.
One of the reasons I think visual trends are so important is that visuals today are changing at a really rapid pace.
This is because at any given moment, everywhere we look, we see some kind of image, and we “consume” that image.
Before people started looking at their phones 24/7, we used to discover images by walking down the street, looking at ads on the subway, looking at store window displays, and so on.
That is something that continues to happen today.
But now, even when I am at home in my private time, I am looking at images via social media.
With that, my research has become much broader.
Through the use of social media, I have far more opportunities to see visuals than I have in the past.
This is an important change for companies because it means that it is easier than ever before to constantly evolve your brand through changing your visuals.
Q: What are your impressions of the global visual trends produced for 2022?
What I found particularly interesting is that, in contrast to the difficult situation caused by COVID-19 infections over the last few years, visuals with a positive atmosphere tend to be the trend this year.
Adobe is a global company, we work closely with leads in each country to conduct in-depth research before publishing our trend forecasts and I was also struck by the fact that the same visuals are trending in every country.
When I first presented my global trend forecast for 2022 to the leads in each region, every country gave me consent immediately.
I believe this is because the pandemic has reduced the scope of activities in each country and lifestyles are becoming more similar, so it is easy for the trends to be alike.
Q: You talked about how you collaborate with teams in different countries.
When you do this Stock Trend project every year, what is your process and schedule for research?
I always conduct a broad research in the first half of the year.
Then, as we approach the second half of the year, I switch to in-depth research that builds on my previous research rather than broadening the scope of the project.
I look at a variety of areas, such as fashion, beauty, video games, media, entertainment, technology, etc., and then research what Adobe Stock users are searching for across all these industries.
I also do a lot of research on a daily basis on popular culture, trends by age, art, and so on.
Sometimes I go to other regional teams or Adobe Creative Cloud teams to research and ask for feedback from their perspectives to see if there are any specific visuals that are common across all geographies.
In this way, I work with a lot of teams, including teams from other Adobe offices and the Adobe Creative Cloud team.
I try to complete all of my extensive research between the end of June and September, and then go to Adobe’s other regional teams and the Adobe Creative Cloud team for feedback on what I have found.
In doing so, these trend predictions become more reliable. This way, we have trend forecasts that we can share with the entire world.
Q: You are constantly researching trends, but do you ever feel like switching off and shutting out all the information?
For example, you could go into the woods and spend some time holed up in a tent doing nothing.
Well, I would even see things in the woods because as you may know outdoor activities are one of the trends right now.
If I wanted to get away from all the official research I could shut off all devices and stop reading articles and comparing information, but I personally find researching how the world works visually and putting the pieces of the puzzle together really interesting.
Q: How accurate have you found the trend predictions to be?
2021 was super on target. The messages that the actual ads and brands were sending out in 2021 were similar to what was predicted.
2021 trends were ones that spoke to us. For example, “Let’s get through this together!”
In 2020, I was not sure if I would be able to spot the trends for 2021, but I remember that I followed the usual process and did my research and it was really accurate.
So, in conclusion, I think our trends are really accurate as long as there is no sudden disruption of the times or our lives (e.g., a pandemic).
Even in a COVID situation, it is necessary to find positive moments in life, isn’t it?
Exactly. One trend I have been talking about with my colleague and both thought “Powerfully Playful” is the strongest trend for 2022.
With the current situation in Ukraine, it does feel a little tone deaf to talk about powerfully playful, but I’ve also talked to colleagues and it does appear to be something that people do want right now.
Things are so challenging and stressful that people really do want to see lovely, inspiring, whimsical content and visuals because it does in fact offer relief. These are the kinds of visual and creative product types that people are responding to.
Every motif trend has a reason as to why it is popular. We believe it is because it brings comfort and peace of mind to those of us who live in this world.
Every motif trend has a reason why they’re popular.
One major priority over the last few years, due to the pandemic, has been focusing on mental health and one’s emotional being.
Being a healthy person has really been one of the top concerns for almost everyone.
Everyone is in a different situation but we are all looking for ways to find and maintain our mental state, so optimistic visuals help us with that.
Another one of the visual trends for 2022 is “The Centered Self”.
This means taking time to calm down and work on yourself.
Visuals really do have a lot of power, and they have a lot of power today because we have had fewer opportunities to interact with other people in real time.
Q: What surprised you about this year’s trends?
First of all, I’m always a bit surprised by the trends every year.
Every year I think, “How am I going to figure out the next trend?” Even though I research trends that doesn’t mean they are particularly obvious to me at the beginning of the year.
I am unaware of what I will find. But once I start to dig down, at a certain point, they start to present themselves to me.
So developing, confirming, and presenting these trends is very critical, because at some point, I realize which ones are mainstream.
I have been surprised lately at how the trends are absolutely global.
In previous years I have had to make accommodations for each region.
In this article, we have discussed the process of production and research for the Adobe Stock Creative Trends Forecast.
When you refer to the Creative Trends Forecast or use materials from Adobe Stock in the future, we hope you will remember that it was the result of many people’s efforts.
In the next article, we will share the story behind the creation of the Japanese version of the Creative Trends Forecast, which btrax supported.
To learn more about Adobe Stock Trend, take a look at this video:
You can also watch the interview with Brenda here.