With 2023 just around the corner, we asked our Envato experts to share the top creative trends they're predicting for the coming year.
There are no two ways about it – 2022 has been a massive year. From the rapid evolution of AI and NFTs to the massive rise of TikTok and the Y2K resurgence, the creative trends of 2022 have taken many twists and turns. And, with only a couple of weeks until the New Year, we’re pondering what 2023 will have in store for us.
As always, we’ve rounded up our top Envato experts to predict what trends they think will shape the creative industries over the coming year. Ranging from the unexpected to the unreal, we’re bringing you a collection of left-of-center creative trends we predict will shake up the status quo next year.
1. TikTok Overtakes Google as Top Search Tool
“You heard it here first: TikTok is coming for Google as the #1 search tool. TikTok’s plan to dominate the internet seems far more robust than anyone initially thought. The platform is fast becoming the go-to search engine of choice for Gen Z! TikTok is also optimizing its functionality toward this user behavior, with a recent update seeing common search terms appear above each video or comments section.
For example, suppose you watch someone vlog their “5-9 before my 9-5” (a common content trend where creators promote a structured, healthy work/life balance); a search term will automatically pop up, leading to other videos within this category. TikTok scans content, categorizes it, and then uses this information to influence in-app behavior.
Simultaneously, users are becoming less likely to search on Google because top results are over-optimized landing pages and often just veiled ads. Searchers are savvy enough to see Google no longer presents authentic results – whereas, if you search on TikTok, the platform will serve you top results based on relevancy. So, what does this mean for brands and businesses? Have an SEO lens when creating content for your TikTok account to be discoverable. You can’t just invest in SEO on Google – you need to invest in SEO on TikTok too.”
2. AI Copywriting Dominates PR
“The world of public relations is evolving, and artificial intelligence plays a significant role in this transformation. AI is being used to automate tedious tasks and provide real-time insights into consumer behavior, allowing PR professionals to better understand their target audience and craft effective communication strategies.
Sounds plausible, right? It should: that paragraph above was written entirely by the ChatGPT artificial intelligence platform released in early December by Open AI. The platform hit two million users within five days, a faster rate than even Instagram can boast. Already users have been sharing examples of an almost limitless number of potential uses, everything from developing a blog content plan with associated SEO and strategy to building a website from scratch, code, and all.
So, what does this mean for public relations and communications in 2023 and beyond? AI will have a more significant role to play in content generation. With the right prompts, AI can produce accurate and compelling blog posts, media releases, social media content, and more. As it advances, we can expect it to be more involved in the strategy and planning documentation that drives campaigns and potentially help to develop smart automation processes for our other tools.
Finally, the analysis and reporting tasks that underpin the work of professional communicators will be supported by AI platforms to provide a greater understanding of our target audiences and which strategies to use with each. This has already begun, of course, but if ChatGPT is an indication, we could be close to a giant leap forward.”
3. Creators Turn Their Backs on Instagram
“As Instagram usage declines, creators are looking to Instagram to address some of the issues that the platform’s recent changes in format, placements, and paid advertising have created. While TikTok is becoming increasingly user-friendly and flexible, marketers will expect Instagram to bolster its suite of features to make reaching the right audiences more achievable. This includes improvements to reporting metrics for Reels, easier ways to track where follower growth is coming from, and a greater selection of advertising objectives. The question is, will Instagram meet these demands?
And this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think imagery on Instagram is dead, yet! While video is king on Instagram Reels, there’s still a place for beautiful photography, stunning illustrations, and a good old inspirational quote. My tip to creators is to try mixing up your still image plan using Carousel placements, which generally garner stronger engagement than a single image. Of course, consider video wherever possible and appropriate, as this format is undeniably popular and effective as a creative placement on Instagram.”
4. Brands Explore Content Monetization
“Brands aren’t just using content to acquire customers; they’re monetizing it too. Dribbble, for example, has launched a Product Design course targeting aspiring product designers. But instead of giving it away for free, they’re charging for it. Meanwhile, the BBC has launched a rival to Masterclass called BBC Maestro, featuring paid lessons with experts and personalities connected with the broadcaster.
Despite content marketing being about providing something of value for free in exchange for audience attention, I expect more brands will experiment with monetization over time. It could be an additional revenue stream for a business and help position a brand as a thought leader. We’re also seeing this model through Substack, where brands are giving some content away for free but also changing a premium for extra tips, tools & templates (e.g., the MKT1 Newsletter from MKT1 Capital & Advisory).”
5. Real-time Remote Reviews
“In 2023, I’m predicting the rise of the remote real-time client review session. There will always be a client review process for any creative freelancer – the lucky ones will have fewer reviews. Still, more often than not, we’re talking multiple rounds of reviews with multiple stakeholders.
Some creatives might balk at sitting down in person with a client to make changes to a video, an animation, a website design, etc. However, if you’re like me, you’ll see a session like this as an opportunity to improve the creative process between you and your client. Sitting down together, opening up the work-in-progress project, and initiating real-time changes can lead to significant creative breakthroughs.
Plenty of great tools allow for sharing files for review with the ability to leave time-coded notes – like Frame.io. Gone are the days of messy Google documents and unorganized notes, which, when shared haphazardly by clients, leads to a frustratingly protracted editing process. And with more workplaces adopting remote work practices post-pandemic, we’re set to see technologies like this grow.
Parsec is another remote access tool enabling clients to view and interact with your projects in full resolution and with a barely perceptible delay – it’s as if they’re in the room with you. It might not be for everyone, but I highly recommend this approach if you need a last-minute power session to complete a project before a deadline.
Adobe spent a lot of its keynote at this year’s Adobe Max conference talking about the new collaboration tools for Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. The ‘share for review’ button allows you to create a link from your project that a client can access in their browser to leave comments, notes, and replies which simultaneously show up in your project. Photoshop has also added an Invite to Edit function where you can share your project with multiple collaborators for seamless collaboration in remote settings. It’s basically Google Docs for design!
DaVinci Resolve has also recently overhauled its project databases, renaming them project libraries and opening them up for remote collaboration via the cloud. Now, you can share projects and work collaboratively with editors, colorists, VFX artists, and audio engineers on the same project simultaneously, anywhere in the world.
So that’s my hot take on the future of remote work for creatives responsible for generating content for remote clients. I predict an even more significant increase in the tools and functionality available to creatives for working remotely and collaborating in real-time.”
6. Email Becomes Increasingly Automated
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the rise of machine learning and automation in marketing. It’s helping marketers deliver personalized and timely content to users across various touchpoints and marketing channels.
While these tools have advanced, there’s still room for improvement in email marketing. Even the most advanced tools still need considerable time and effort to set up and get working effectively. You need to navigate a web of automation logic and consider unique variations of events and experiences that users take when interacting with your business across multiple platforms. Make a mistake, and it can all go wrong. AI to the rescue!
Not only do I foresee Machine Learning assisting with marketing automation for customer journeys and experiences, but I think it will also help with user personalization and production. It will begin with automating and optimizing email deliverability and delivery times, writing subject lines that encourage engagement, providing accurate user product recommendations, analyzing email structure and content, and providing completed emails with minimum input.
Given the rapid and astonishing improvements in AI in the past two years, nothing’s impossible. It could mean more meaningful and valuable emails for users and a better business bottom line.”
7. Brands Make Diversity a Priority
“In 2023, there will be more emphasis on diversity– creatively and in the workplace. As more brands make diversity a core value and employ diverse practices across everything they do, there will be an increased focus on producing more inclusive designs and visual assets and attracting and retaining diverse talent.
Mastercard is leading the way in this regard; the brand has been ranked in the top 10 diverse companies for four consecutive years due to its commitment to diversity. In addition to championing diverse content externally on its marketing channels, Mastercard is also dedicated to prioritizing diversity internally, providing equal pay for equal work, using technology for social good, and sponsoring Girls4Tech. This STEM curriculum provides mentorships and career support to girls aged 8 to 12. The company also offers practical, direct employee benefits, such as sex reassignment surgery coverage, same-sex domestic partner coverage, and fertility treatment, surrogacy, and adoption assistance.
As the world continues to actively seek to embrace diversity and inclusivity, I’m looking forward to seeing more brands and businesses showcasing diversity front and center – and not just in the short term.”
8. Businesses Go ‘Green Digital’
“One thing I only became aware of this year was the idea of “green digital.” As more digital companies establish themselves or existing businesses pivot to digital, the environmental impacts of their online activities are amplified. As a result, resource usage, environmental impacts, and climate change must get more attention.
In 2023, I predict new and existing businesses will move further into digital spaces, become aware of their digital footprint, and make moves to offset their impact. Through our work in 2022 (including becoming Carbon Neutral), I hope we’ve inspired other companies to take similar actions! We want to see tech businesses like ours work to become Carbon Neutral (offsetting what they emit) and Carbon Positive (drawing down more carbon than they emit).”
9. A ‘New Energy’ Shapes Design
“While I’ve seen a significant shift toward majestic, earthy branding this year, it’s all starting to blend together and feel less unique. In 2023, brands will crave new energy and excitement, and this trend will push designers to capture this in their work.
For example, designers continually reinvent shapes, a foundational design element. From Spotify’s 2022 Wrapped Campaign Identity to ultra-minimalistic seltzer, shapes are versatile for masking textures, creating scalable patterns, turning static visuals into dynamic art, or paired with a punchy color palette.
Shifting shapes will also enable anti-design to break new ground and encourage designers to explore the naturally uncomfortable territory. It’s incredibly edgy and a little cringe – just like the unfiltered craze of TikTok, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!”
10. YouTube Shorts Don’t Make the Cut
“This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think YouTube Shorts will last. YouTube has such stiff competition from the likes of Instagram and TikTok that I can’t imagine Shorts will grow much beyond their current adaptation. Instead, I expect YouTube to lean into what makes them different from the social media platforms that demand shorter-form video content and prove value in a new way – whether that be through switching up their UI or adding new features to enhance the viewing experience.
I also think we’ll see much more adventurous content from brands on YouTube. Businesses have traditionally been conservative, sticking closely to their brand and products. In 2023, I expect brands to take the lead from those without boundaries – the creative influencers who do what works. In this regard, we’ll see branded accounts lean more into entertainment on YouTube with less concern for direct correlation to their products.”