The end of the year is the most inspiring and busy season for the creative industry. Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas – all holiday campaigns have been set in motion, but companies should have another important project up their sleeves. An annual industry trend report that walks your audience through the entire sales funnel, from building awareness and thought leadership to shape a community around your brand and acquiring some advocates.
It’s been eight years since Depositphotos (a stock content marketplace with over 270 million images, videos, and music files) first released its Creative Trends report (see our graphic design trends of 2023 here). It was first created as an article in 2017 and grew into an inspiring project. Today, it reaches millions of content creators, wins multiple awards, and helps the company nurture its 40 million community. Still thinking about whether to launch your own? Here are four ideas and insights from the Depositphotos team to help you create a project.
01. Set clear and realistic goals
A project without a roadmap and a final destination is a failed project. A project with unclear and unrealistic goals is very likely to come to a halt halfway through.
To achieve success, it is crucial for every team member to clearly understand what they want to accomplish as creative professionals during this time, as well as be enthusiastic and inspired by the more significant goals of your business.
How do you make things happen? By having an honest look at available resources altogether. Allocate some time with your team members (copywriters, designers, marketing managers, developers, and others) to list everything you have. What financial and material resources are available? How many people can you engage with the project, and how many do you need to? What equipment, tools, and facilities can be helpful in your work? Are there any procedures that have to be set up from scratch, or what frameworks can you rethink to use in your project? The answers to these questions will give you a comprehensive understanding of your actual capacities and allow you to set goals that your team will not only dream about, but also be capable of achieving.
Another important idea to remember is when you set realistic goals, you can achieve amazing results even with a small team. For instance, working on the Creative Trends 2023 project, the timeline stretched for around four months, with 12 in-house specialists engaged at every stage of development. From creative director and content team leader to designers and developers – everyone had specific responsibilities and objectives, while also engaging in weekly brainstorms, helping each other find the best solutions and ideas for their work.
02. Inspire your team with your vision
Once your goals are set, there’s more for the project leader during the primary stages. You need to become a visionary with a helicopter perspective—one who can inspire the team on an emotional level. Practice shows that for creative industry professionals, recognition is particularly important. So, think about small things that you can do to highlight and encourage people you’re working with.
You can add their credits to the project landing page, showcase behind-the-scenes on social media featuring people working on the project, and set aside part of your budget to apply for various awards and competitions. This will add value to what your team members are working on. You’ll most likely see more effort and dedication put into the project. Also, remember to come up with a mission statement – it’s truly inspiring to be part of something significant.
03. Act at your boldest when it comes to design
In the race for audience attention, the first to arrive are those who are fearless in breaking the rules. You have to think ahead of time when it comes to your design concept, layout, and colour choices. Ask your designer to share those unconventional or unexpected ideas piling up in their digital drawers. You’ll be surprised by how your corporate identity can get a trending makeover for the project, boldly appealing to your audiences and still translating the DNA of your brand.
For example, our 2023 Trends design revolves around a “ball of thoughts” –reminiscent of the Pensieve from the Harry Potter universe, a magical item used to gather and process memories. It’s not just a design element; it encapsulates the expertise of our dynamic creative team and represents the meticulous process of going through vast amounts of data to find the essentials and comprehend the trends accurately.
The design concept of Creative Trends 2022 was born with the name — ‘Merging the future and the past.’ The project page gives an intuitive feel of how innovative trends and visual techniques of the past are harmoniously combined. The design concept is based on an allusion to the “desktop” of our memory, in which files for each trend are located – an intellectual selection of opinions, analytics, and visual material.
04. Always think from the client's perspective
At every project stage, explore what’s there for your audience that makes you stand out. For instance, as the Depositphotos Creative Trends Guide was evolving, we communicated more with our clients and asked them what we could do differently this year to help them better navigate the future. A couple of years ago, in addition to detailed trend descriptions and supporting visuals, we added some ready-to-use tools such as mood boards with downloadable imagery and music, color palettes with respective hex codes to match every trend, as well as highlighted booming search queries.
This allowed us to not only showcase what keywords people can use when surfing stock photography platforms but also win the Red Dot Award twice in a row in the 'Brand & Communication Design' category.
As every trend report is a roadmap for your clients on what is gaining momentum in your industry, making it easy and applicable is a win-win strategy. On the one hand, your clients gain more confidence in the future and feel safer when it comes to decision-making – all while you build your awareness, expertise, and gain loyalty year over year.
05. Take your time to work on the project and trust your gut
If you want to make your report relevant and on-point, turn to data. But if you’re looking to connect with your audience on a deeper level, listen to your gut. Predictions are all about seeing the bigger picture, and once you see it, it all starts to come together from both ideological and business perspectives to drive better results.
Want more advice? See how to start a creative agency, advice from a pro.