These striking creative trends will define 2023

As we approach the end of they year, everyone's starting to gaze into their crystal ball to predict the creative trends of 2023. Based on what's been emerging in the recent months, broader social themes and some pure guess work, we can get an idea of what we might see in next 12 months.

This list of creative trends contains some predictions that probably won't cause any surprises, while others might be complete new to you. Only time will tell whether they come to define 2023. Sometimes predictions hit the mark, but sometimes major developments take us by surprise. For example AI image generation was already developing in recent years, but few predicted the scale of the explosion we saw this year (see how to use DALL-E 2 for more on that).

Depositphotos has been publishing its annual creative trends predictions (opens in new tab) for the past five years, and often makes some good calls. It says it researches its choices with contributors and uses data on what's trending in its own library. It's just published its forecasts for the creative trends of 2023 and makes seven predictions. For each one it provides a moodboard with example photography and a colour palette.

First up on the list is what it calls 'anime thrill'. By this it refers to the use of styles inspired by Japanese animation and 'hyperbolic characters', noting that there's increased interest in anime due to the Y2K revival and growth of streaming services.

Next up comes 'back to the wild' – a renewed focus on wanderlust after a period of less international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it says the focus will be more on responsible travel and conscious experiences. An 'eye on sustainability' is also on the list of creative trends. This is something we've already seen (although it can also come with accusations of greenwashing, so brands need to be sure that it's genuine.

An image showing predictions of creative trends 2023

We're all in favour of a little joy in 2023 (Image credit: Depositphotos)

Depositphotos' pick of creative trends for 2023 also includes the 'ethereal world' – dreamlike aesthetics, including 'hazy and blurry effects, deep shadows, and compelling compositions' that make people ask if what they are seeing is real.

The site also predicts more of a focus on older people as brands seek to more relatable to an aging population (and respond to criticism of ageism) with authentic imagery of older people. Its final choices for the creative trends of 2023 are 'wellness upgrade' – the application of VR and AR to wellness and a 'blast of joy'. 

Now, we have to admit this one has us scratching are heads a little since we're not sure 'joy' can be a trend. But what it means by this is a return to extravagant minimalism after the restraint of the past few years. We're not sure that fits the current economic climate, but perhaps it's just what we need.

Of course, we should take all predictions of the creative trends of 2023 with a pinch of salt. Things don't change suddenly from one year to the next, and many trends are applicable only to certain brands. That said, it's very interesting to see what people predict, and Depositphotos says these trends are backed up by data. For more, see predictions of the hottest design trends in 2023.

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.