These 4 Visual Trends Will Dominate 2020, According to Adobe Stock

From inclusion and community to radical self expression

a woman
Adobe says 2020's themes will be Express Yourself, All Ages Welcome, Makeup Is Not a Mask and From Me to We. Adobe Stock
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Today, Adobe Stock released its annual Visual Trends Forecast, attempting to predict the emergent visual trends marketers should expect to see and embrace in 2020.

This time, the report is part of the company’s first Creative Trends program, which includes two new reports on graphic design and motion graphics that will be released later this year. In a blog post, Adobe announced 2020’s visual trends that are “deeply connected to larger cultural, economic and social movements that we’ve traced through a multitude of industries.”

The report highlights four key visual trends Adobe expects to dominate 2020, on topics ranging from inclusion to community to radical self expression, which will help marketers and advertisers craft campaigns that resonate with audiences.

“The 24/7 media cycle requires a holistic approach to visual strategy, addressing trends across all creative components being used in the market,” Brenda Milis, principal of creative services and visual trends for Adobe Stock, told Adweek. “Our research revealed the need to find new and better ways to address content velocity and attract and retain viewer attention.”

All Ages Welcome

Adobe Stock

Rather than being portrayed as slowing down or needing help, older subjects in advertisements will be represented as “attractive, productive and in their prime.”

“Until recently, older subjects were typically portrayed in terms of needing help and slowing down. Even ‘active’ representations of folks over 50 tended to be patronizing or condescending—think frail, little old ladies dutifully power-walking in ads for hospitals or financial institutions,” Milis wrote in Adobe’s blog post summarizing the 2020 trends. “That’s changed, in a big way.”

Milis wrote that “every major industry from finance and banking to travel and healthcare has gotten the message that older people expect more authentic representation of their lives and aspirations.”

Express Yourself

Adobe Stock

People in 2020 will increasingly demand that brands, politicians and other public figures be authentic, raw, honest and reflective of diversity in culture.

“With Express Yourself, we’re focusing on the way people around the world are sharing more of their raw, honest life experiences online and in public—and demanding the same from brands, politicians and other public figures,” Milis wrote. “This trend is our way of describing the prevalent, new, visual form of ‘inclusivity.'”

Makeup Is Not a Mask

Adobe Stock

Personal style is no longer about trying to attain a linear ideal standard of beauty. In 2020, it’s about “breaking all the established rules of beauty in pursuit of authentic self expression,” Adobe said.

“Contemporary grooming focuses on celebrating a person’s unique looks and style,” Milis wrote in the blog post, “and color appears in expressive, artistic and inclusive ways.”

From Me to We

Adobe Stock

Mainly led by Gen Z and millennials, people will come together more than ever in 2020 to support causes, which is why images with a message will have the most impact.

“When it comes to visual imagery,” Milis’ blog post said, “brands are finding that images presenting a strong sense of community and meaningful lifestyle choices resonate best, creating a quick connection between companies and conscious customers.”

The trends are multifaceted, because, as Milis pointed out, visuals need to operate on more than one level.

“Creative professionals need to work with topics that speak to viewers’ identities and interests, as well as simultaneously knowing which kinds of images capture customer attention and successfully communicate their messaging,” Milis said.


@sammynickalls sammy.nickalls@adweek.com Sammy Nickalls is a freelance writer and the former departments editor at Adweek.
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