Adobe Visual Trends: Purpose Over Beauty

Posted on 5/15/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Adobe Stock has released a new Visual Trends report on Purpose Over Beauty based on studying images in more than 75 million social engagements. They found that a lack of content that makes a powerful statement cannot be disguised by pretty packaging.

In today’s competitive online environment function is winning out over form when both together are not in reach. A lack of content can no longer be disguised by pretty packaging – it first needs substance and weight. A brand’s imagery must communicate its mission and provide a call to action.

Adobe considered images whose main purpose is to motivate to action — maybe to make the world better, or to remember to be in a moment. They also considering those humble images designed to be a part of something bigger, like the stock textures and patterns that designers can use to build their compositions.

A few Insights include:
  • Holidays with a political or social message drive peaks in social media hashtag use – with advocacy mentions jumping 30% above baseline during Earth Month celebrations in April. They jump 90% above baseline in June for LGBTQ Pride month.
  • When celebrities post images with activist hashtags, it can drive their engagements up to three times the usual baseline. Social media has given a voice to everyone and celebrities recognize that people are expecting more than their faces emblazoned on selfies – fans want their intelligent support on social issues too.
For more inspiration see the Adobe Stock curated collection of more than 90 images and videos and links to similar images that communicate purpose with a contemporary aesthetic.

New search data has also revealed that vintage imagery is influencing modern design, with recent trends in logo, ad and package design looking to appeal to consumers’ cravings for the “good old days.” You can view the full report here.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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