Mapping What’s New in Creative Agency Trends
By Roy Husdell, Chief Creative Officer, Mad
The agency landscape is constantly evolving to meet the demands of the digital age. As we head into the second half of 2023, there are a few key trends to look out for. Social fragmentation, AI, and an unpredictable financial market are making it more challenging than ever for creatives to cut through the noise. But maybe that’s exactly what the industry needs: fresh narratives that make brands stand out.
AI Sparks New Conversations
AI tools offer a world of exciting possibilities, from workflows to copyright, but some still question their use in the workplace. With unheard-of speed and efficiency, AI empowers creatives to learn and accomplish more than ever before. Though this means AI is starting to play a bigger role in the creative process, it will ultimately be humans who steer and spark its potential.
As consumers crave increasingly immersive experiences personalized to their individual needs, the expectation for brands is high. They need new ways to create impactful content that resonates with general audiences but also niche ones. Enter AI.
With AI, creators can use generative iterations at a level of consistency and style that are nearly impossible without it. Creating a consistent look and feel becomes so much easier, as AI is great at writing in a universal style. You can type something into Midjourney, hit enter, and instantly launch the creative process, tweaking and refining your vision as you go. Changes that would take an illustrator days to implement can now yield 10 different high-quality versions in under 10 minutes – and you’re in control of it.
This is where human creativity comes into play: AI does the busy work, but you’re still the artist directing and manipulating the content according to your unique vision. It can produce results that reflect a high level of creativity in far less time.
The advancements in gaming, AI, and AR/VR are incredible. These technologies are universal and fully immersive – you don’t have to learn anything or be taught anything to participate. You just open your eyes. Whether the viewer is a 4-year-old or an 89-year-old, they are instantly plugged into the experience. Anyone can observe or interact with it…if it’s designed well.
Being able to interact with the world in VR or AR, whether through education, gaming, movies, etc, is always going to be the next explosion. While VR has been around for a long time, it’s always been on the outskirts. Now, Apple is getting into AR/VR with vision pro headsets; as soon as they get involved, you know it’s going to be mainstream. Though they rolled out their best new hardware at a high price point, Apple will already be working on other, more affordable versions which will push advancements in what’s possible. This could even redefine what the desktop setup looks like, taking into account the increase in hybrid work culture and letting consumers take their office with them anywhere.
What’s exciting is that it’s just a device; it still needs content. Brands continue to jump in on it, creating 3D worlds with their own unique environments. But so what? There isn’t that level of brand loyalty outside of the gaming world. Yes, the tech is there but the content still has to be relevant and fun. If it’s just a brand with a 3D world trying to sell things, it’s not interesting. What’s exciting is the opportunity to create really good content on a device that’s really engaging.
Digital Art Boom
The digital revolution has expanded the possibilities and means for artistic expression. Digital art is becoming increasingly popular as artists blend technology with creativity to craft immersive experiences. Expect to see more interactive projections, augmented reality displays, and dynamic light installations that transform physical spaces into mesmerizing works of art. From eye-catching installations and interactive galleries to NFT launches and city-wide sponsored events, artists and agencies are taking things digital.
A few companies are already doing quite well in working alongside artists who would not typically have access to cutting-edge tech like augmented reality or projection mapping. This allows traditional artists to bridge the gap between their current skill sets and their goal to move into more immersive realms. There seems to be a natural collaboration between technical people and creative artists; more and more, this evolving trend sees them becoming one and the same.
Authentic Sustainability Campaigns
Sustainability is a hot topic that’s still trending hard across industries. To do their part, agencies can promote their own internal initiatives and influence consumer behavior through their work with clients. In the creative space, this means incorporating mindful language, eco-friendly materials, and ethical practices into designs.
From ethically sourced fabrics in fashion to recycled packaging in graphic design, sustainability will remain a key focus for brands looking to make an impact in the way they build and maintain consumer trust. Modern shoppers have higher expectations and are willing to pay more for products that keep sustainability in mind when considering everything from packaging and ingredients to production. Sustainability is more than a buzzword; it is a purpose-driven mindset that agencies should take into account.
A Look Ahead
The second half of 2023 promises exciting developments in the creative landscape. AI, digital art, and mixed reality are set to dominate the industry, as brands look for innovative ways to engage with their audiences. By embracing these evolving trends and technologies, creative agencies can deliver impactful campaigns that keep brands relevant and resonate with consumers in this digital age.