Creative Trends 2021 Adobe Stock

Every year, Adobe Stock combines sources, consumer signals, and the deep experience of our creative team to release our annual trend forecast. Last year, we expanded our forecast from photography, illustration, and vectors to include motion graphics, graphic design, 3D renders, and immersive experiences.

This year, we’re introducing our first-ever lineup of audio trends.

Across all creative mediums, the 2021 trends feel especially meaningful—reflecting a range of reactions to the past year, and the hopeful, regenerative spirit with which we face the year ahead.

2021 Visual Trends

Compassionate Collective

Over the past several years, the collective drive to associate with brands that share and demonstrate our values has continued to gain momentum. Compassionate Collective is a visual trend that expresses that craving, along with the desire to connect with strength and empathy. The effects of the social movements and strong emotions of last year are now rippling through our culture, making this a potent and heartfelt source of visual inspiration that we expect to grow.

Mood Boosting Color

The power of color is nothing new, but it’s exactly what we need right now. Bright, more saturated colors have the happy psychological effect of making us feel more awake and alive, lifting our mood when we’re down and giving us much-needed energy. Aside from adding a vibrant spirit to our monochrome days, the Mood-Boosting Color visual trend expresses a feeling of joy and power that is strong and defiant while still retaining a sense of playfulness.

Comfort Zone

The home has shifted from being a place where we sleep at night to the center of our family and social lives. With the public health and safety restrictions brought about by the pandemic, 2020 saw a huge uptick and this trend enveloped us all. In 2021, we’ll see much more of the visual trend we’ve dubbed Comfort Zone throughout every type of campaign and creative visuals.

Breath of Fresh Air

Celebrating the regenerative powers of nature and the great outdoors can sometimes mean reveling in the novelty of simply going outside. During quarantine, our need for immersion in nature and the outdoors became a high priority and created balance in our lives. Brands responded, leading to our visual trend, Breath of Fresh Air.

2021 Design Trends

Austere Romanticism

Pastoral dreams meet restrained theatricality in Austere Romanticism. These designs offer a Victorian-tinged take on the beauty of nature with a minimal, modern edge—and, similar to the Breath of Fresh Air visual trend, partially serve as a response to the pandemic.

Vintage Vaporwave

A visual love letter to 1990s internet, Vintage Vaporwave mixes pop art and outlined sticker graphics, bright pastels matched with neutral tones, and lo-fi design elements. Checkers and grids, random tiling of pattern elements, and cheeky cartoons keep these designs full of movement.

Back to Bauhaus

Bauhaus design provides inspiration for an updated return to form and craft, with balanced layouts and graphics that create powerful, direct messaging. This trend includes a return to the fundamentals with clean, geometric shapes, strong-yet-harmonious elements, and vibrant primary colors.

Psych Out

With design roots in the psychedelic 1970s and the Art Nouveau movement, the Psych Out design trend is funky, escapist, and bold. Expansive shapes, curvaceous forms and typefaces, and dreamy illustrations are updated with iridescent gradients and unexpectedly earthy color palettes.

2021 Motion Trends


As COVID-19 challenged the world and drove budget cuts and cancellations for shoots, brands responded by embracing a video trend that’s been on the rise for a while now: true user generated content (UGC), and the DIY look of content created in the moment. Handheld footage and the UGC aesthetic have been dominant across industries, and we’ll see it everywhere in 2021.

Media Replacement

The ability to add swappable images and video to motion graphics—has dramatically lowered the barrier to entry for creating complex motion pieces. Video editors, social media creators, and knowledge workers are now creating professional-quality videos by inserting photos and videos into motion templates to increase production value, communication, and make videos come alive.

Transformative Transitions

To communicate more effectively and capture attention, creators are incorporating seamless transitions and graphical elements into videos to bring their stories to life. Colorful transitions draw the eye powerfully from one scene to the next, or reveal titles and logos within a commercial. While the use of animated transitions and overlays is not new, the fresh incarnations and popularity of these techniques is notable.


Gradients have jumped from the pages of graphic designers to the screens of video editors. The blending of vibrant colors can grab attention and, at the same time, offer a calming presence in turbulent times. Smooth, multicolor gradients are rising in popularity in major brand campaigns, identity design, and more.

2021 Audio Trends

This year marks the first time Adobe Stock will include Audio Trends as part of our annual Creative Trend forecast, and we couldn’t be more excited. Our creative team, together with our partners Epidemic Sound, went to work reviewing the most requested, most searched, and best-selling audio clips, artists, and genres to bring you the trends we’ll all be hearing throughout 2021.

Global Rhythms

Today, listeners expect diversity and inclusiveness in visuals and the music within their videos, too. In response, video editors and producers are actively seeking audio tracks to help create a global, modern feel to their branded content.

Pod Tracks

With hundreds of thousands of podcasts available and millions of people listening to podcasts in the USA alone, podcasting has definitely gone mainstream. Video editors, producers, and advertisers are all on the hunt for music to create podcast stories and ads.

Electronic Spectrum

Electronic productions are clean and contemporary, with a huge variety of subgenres to suit any need. We're hearing electronic sounds everywhere, with explosive growth in online videos and social media, and a rise in popularity around subgenres including Future Bass, Electrofunk, and Synthwave.