Escapism is the word for 2023

When life feels out of control, there are two options: go against the current or surrender to the waves of the unknown.

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Escapism is the word for 2023


The Future. When life feels out of control, there are two options: go against the current or surrender to the waves of the unknown. Brands recognize the need for comfort during tough times, so they’re leaning into visual styles that deliver just the right amount of escapism to their customers. If society is fed utopian imagery — rather than dystopian — the transition into a new, post-pandemic era might be a little less worrying and a lot more whimsical.

We’re in a liminal space
Adweek identifies three major design trends that brands can adopt this year for positive vibes.

  • Mysticism: Millennial and Gen Z audiences can’t get enough of New Age symbolism, which reflects a cultural desire for connection, meaning, and personalization. The use of astrological and tarot-inspired designs by major brands such as McDonald’s, Spotify, and MAC Cosmetics helps build community and create a sense of belonging.
  • Science fiction: Brands are embracing the optimism of future possibilities in undiscovered worlds and tapping into all the emotions we may have felt as children when first learning about the universe. They’re imagining yesterday’s space odyssey as today’s reality.
  • Innocent nostalgia: As brands seek positivity, they’re growing a fondness for charming logos and doodles that might appear in the margins of a notebook. This design choice reminds their customers of youthful days with few responsibilities, creating a feeling of safety.

Futuristic fairy tale
Whether their intentions are playful or earnest, brands can leverage the comfort of these design trends with their customer base… and, ultimately, generate higher sales.

Kait Cunniff

Kait is a Chicago-raised, LA-based writer and NYU film grad. She created an anthology TV series for Refinery29 and worked as a development executive for John Wells Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Paramount Pictures. Her favorite color is orange.


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