Creative Trends 2022: Merging the future and the past by Depositphotos

On December 15, 2021, Depositphotos, an international content platform, released their annual creative trends forecast. “Creative Trends 2022: Merging the future and the past” examines how creative communication has changed and what brands and content creators can expect in the coming year.

2022 is the year of contrast, where the future stands side by side with the past. It’s a time when AI-generated music and the metaverse gain momentum to elevate user experience. On the other hand, Y2K aesthetics and 70s psychedelic art help content creators spark nostalgia and better connect with their audience. 

The two-sided nature of everything is not rocket science, but it’s a powerful tool in the creative’s hands. It is essentially what creates perspectives and inspires projects that stand out. To take a closer look at the 2022 trends, the Depositphotosteam collaborated with professionals that provided their expert opinions on the future of the creative industry.

Key trends:



Today, boundaries between real and virtual worlds are blurred. Many wonder: Where do we actually spend most of our time? Roblox is hosting a week-long online music festival with around 5 million visits, and Microsoft is bringing 3D avatars to Teams soon after the Facebook Meta announcement. But how does this influence visual communication?

In 2022, digital spaces will acquire an even more realistic look with the help of AR and VR technology. Designers will opt for well-thought-out 3D elements and motion graphics that bring a brand new level of interactivity. To make audiences feel even more present, creators will amplify their projects with ambient music and immersive sound effects.

The slow mainstreaming of the metaverse through 3D gaming worlds and Meta’s recent rebrand from Facebook is seeing digital creativity take on new meaning. If the metaverse is a space we can visit and spend time in, virtual goods are tools that can be used to enrich our environments and demonstrate social status. Whether they’re designer hoodies you can wear in Fortnite or virtual houses that can be visited via VR, people are starting to see the value of buying assets that have no stake in the real world.

Game worlds like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, and the rest are the first rung on the metaversal ladder. And with 85% of social media users globally saying they play some kind of video game, exploring if gaming is a good fit for your brand is a no brainer. Brands like KFC have seen participation in-game worlds – from showing up in Animal Crossing, to collaborating with Twitch streamers, to making their own games starring the Colonel – and demonstrate to global audiences that they’re young, reactive, adaptable, and engaged with digital culture. 

— Lore Oxford, Global Head of Cultural Insights at We Are Social


We often look back in history for artistic inspiration. This year, playful and bold motifs of the 70s will resonate with content creators worldwide. The desire to escape monotonous reality, captivate audiences, and the accessibility of graphic software will foster experiments with psychedelic art in the digital realm. 

Holographic and grainy backgrounds, complex abstractions, a rich mix of bright or highly contrasting colors, and different interpretations of psychedelic line art will appear in graphic design. Using a large number of design elements in one composition will provide designers with room for experimentation, and boost the commercial potential of projects.


AI has been standing behind most of our online interactions with music for the last couple of years. It influenced the way we consume content by simplifying decision-making and providing recommendations based on our search history, mood, or taste.

In the near future, AI will significantly impact content production as well. Brands and creators will get a chance to provide hyper-personalized experiences to their audiences, as AI-generated music will become more cost and time-effective. Background tracks on websites or apps will be tailored to fit a user’s taste or mood. Creative projects, campaigns, and ads will often feature custom soundtracks, creating a more interactive reality.


If you’ve felt nostalgic for the past two years, you’re not alone. A lack of new experiences and positive emotions can make an audience reminiscent of how things were back in the day. Millennials and Gen Z—the largest and most solvent generations today—are attracted to Y2K aesthetics that evoke happiness and serenity, similar to the kind they experienced in childhood or teenage years.

This universal nostalgia encourages content creators to use pastel color palettes that include pink, yellow, green, and blue. Design and photography projects will acquire retrofuturistic vibes with shiny features or film-like post-production, and find their way from blogger social media accounts to brand campaigns and ads.


Science fiction fueled technological advancements in the past, until it became a reality. Stanley Kubrick’s space travel or Ridley Scott’s flying cars don’t instill fear or blow our minds anymore. In contrast, they spark inspiration, curiosity, and excitement in the global creative community.

Extraterrestrial shapes and forms, illustrations of superintelligent robots and space travel equipment, as well as dark shades and metallic textures will be used to provide creative projects with new dimension. In addition to inciting visual interest, designs will make audiences wonder what the future holds for us, and what can be done today for a better tomorrow.

Science-inspired trends are a reflection of the things that are being discussed in society. The rise of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, space tourists, remote work during the pandemic, and the power that algorithms have at predicting human behavior. All these are things that have been talked about in the past year, and technological advances like these aren’t going to slow down.

— David Wehmeyer, an artist


A trend for self-love will obtain its peak in 2022. The idea will manifest in different communication fields, including photography. It will encourage brands and visual artists to collaborate towards improving society’s mental health, thus, driving global change.

In 2022, brands will revise their tone of voice and imagery to be more supportive and loving of their audience. Photographers will opt for simpler compositions, minimalist color solutions, and authentic environments, revealing the real context of products, services, or events. Such an approach will not only help brands and content creators gain more trust, but also serve a bigger mission of cultivating a healthier and happier society.


Telling stories that people engage with is becoming a real challenge nowadays. In order to attract an audience’s attention, creatives are urged to invent new formats. They are a captivating blend of multimedia such as videos, animation, and sound effects in website design. 

Versatile elements—from asymmetrical layouts and parallax scrolling, to oversized typography and 3D motion graphics—will come in handy for content creators in the months to come. To add dynamism and create an even more immersive experience, designers will opt for website hero videos, captivating music tracks, and sound effects. However, the main conditions for a successful scrollytelling project are a short loading time and a unique story readers can relate to.


In a rapidly changing world, brands are constantly rethinking their advertising formats and strategies to stand out from the crowd, increase engagement, and retain customer loyalty. With tons of approaches and tools at hand, forward-thinking companies are sure of one thing so far: It’s all about immersion. 

3D ads, AR filters, and shoppable lenses allow everyone with a smartphone to closely interact with, test, or customize a product before making a purchase online. Brands aiming to go beyond social media can give immersive, digital out-of-home campaigns a try. Along with 3D animation and motion graphics, techniques such as forced perspective create 3D illusions that fascinate today’s consumers.

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About Depositphotos

Depositphotos is an international content platform with a library of over 220 million stock photos, videos, vectors, templates, and music. Depositphotos supports a community of 100,000 contributors to help clients in 192 countries visualize their ideas. The company is headquartered in New York and has offices in Milan, Kyiv, Moscow, and Limassol.

The project team:

Marketing Director – Alina Volchek

Creative Director – Tati Timoshenko

Content Team Leader / Creative Copywriter – Maria Sibirtseva

PR Director / Brand Manager – Anastasiia Fed-Titova

Project design – Crevv (Art director – Anton Ivanov)

Designers – Iurii Cherkashyn, Elena Kovalenko

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