You may or may not like Japanese animation, but you can’t help but notice how many anime aesthetic commercials, packaging designs, and fashion items are around. Fashion houses are turning their video ads into exciting anime series, food chains are adding characters from famous anime series to their app designs, and startups are choosing anime style aesthetics for their logos and overall brand identity. So, it’s no surprise that we added Anime Thrill to Creative Trends 2023 several month ago.

Why and when did anime stop being niche? To answer this question, the Depositphotos team has done extensive research on the use of anime themes, aesthetics, and characters for marketing purposes. With a new video on our Creativity. Insight & Out YouTube channel, find out which brands turn to the anime aesthetic principles more successfully than others, what their campaigns look like, and where to start creating anime-style designs.


Key 90s anime aesthetic features 

First, let’s define what anime is. This term is used to describe Japanese animation, which is characterized not only by visual style, but also by a specific approach to building a plot and choosing a story theme. You can recognize anime by the following visual features:

  • 2D;
  • Cell shading;
  • Limited frame number;
  • Highly detailed and moody backgrounds;
  • Large eyes, big hair, small mouths, and elongated limbs;
  • Distinct facial expressions like facial fault or stress marks;
  • Contrasting diagonal strokes in the background to suggest velocity.

anime aesthetic illustration

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If you see an animated video with one or more of the features described above, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re watching an original anime. European and American animation studios are resorting to the style today, but their content is more of an “anime-style series”, not an original anime that was produced in Japan and intended for a Japanese audience. To get into anime, watch classics produced by Studio Ghibli, Madhouse, Studio Bones, and Toei Animation, as well as works by iconic directors such as Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, and Osamu Dezaki.

Anime is not only a visual style. You can also recognize a Japanese product by the topics chosen by its authors. Anime plots usually revolve around 4 big topics:

  • Life issues like coming-of-age, defiance, or death;
  • Emotions such as love, fear, or despair;
  • War or violence;
  • Sex.

Japanese animation producers also take an authentic approach towards uncovering issues that their anime series are dedicated to. For example, anime characters often vividly experience any situation and are emotionally sensitive. In turn, memories, aesthetics, and a thirst for justice drive the anime’s plot.

So, why is anime popular far beyond Japan, and why is it influencing what global brand communication looks like in 2023? It’s because anime is always about basic values that can move and unite people all over the world.

anime girl aesthetic illustration

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Will animecore bring new clients and sales to you?   

Some brands benefit more from tapping into anime aesthetics. The reason for this is that anime aesthetic visuals are positively perceived by only a part of the global audience.

Millennials and Gen Zs are most receptive to animecore, but these two groups have slightly different attitudes toward the anime aesthetic. In particular, Millennials feel nostalgic when they encounter anime style content. This is because they used to watch it during their childhood or teenage years.

As for the younger generation, including the children of early Millennials, they perceive the 90s anime aesthetic  as mainstream. For this reason, you can exchange more complex messages with them instead of referring to one’s youth.

B2B enterprise rarely resort to animecore successfully, but we can’t say the same about small businesses serving customers. Fashion, computer games, entertainment and food, show business, and initiatives related to sports and beauty are the business categories that should pay attention to anime. For more on this, check out our interview with Justin Hamra, Art Director at 99designs by Vista—The video is here.

Justin Hamra, Art Director at 99designs by Vista

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Animecore experiments. Where to start  

“If you get an anime-themed design task from your client, start with browsing anime and researching what the client needs. The designer working on a project featuring anime aesthetics should know or be interested in anime. They can get inspired by watching it. Usually, the anime icon or style used in marketing is influenced by popular anime, e.g. “One Piece, Naruto”, “Attack on Titan”.”— humbl., Top Level Designer at 99designs by Vista.

To make the process of creating an anime-style design clear for you, we invited the winner of one of the logo contest held by 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for clients and freelance designers to work together online. Participants were offered to create a Naruto-themed logo for an advertisement agency. Go to the video on our channel to see the designer in action and hear his comments.

Anime Aesthetic Designs How to Create One and Why in 2023 99designs by Vista

Source: 99designs by Vista

Justin Hamra, Art Director at 99designs by Vista and trend expert in our video, also believes that it’s best to start the creative search by watching the most famous anime films and series. However, this is only the first step.

“To achieve anime-inspired design, start with bold illustrations, striking lines, and vibrant colors. Unique designs that draw your attention with bright colors, and intricate linework, and unusual shapes can capture the spirit of anime and create memorable experiences for a consumer. And wherever possible, be bold. Boldness is crucial to perfecting an anime-inspired design, as anime is anything but forgettable!”—Justin Hamra, Art Director at 99designs by Vista.


Wrapping up 

A 90s anime aesthetic can help you stand out from competition and find common ground with younger generations. Another advantage of the anime style trend is that it requires low production costs when it comes to 2D video or illustrations. And don’t forget about how well anime fits storytelling and character introductions.

If these arguments aren’t enough to get you thinking about adding some animecore to your next creative campaign, just watch our new YouTube video to explore 10+ brand cases and put your doubts to rest.

Watch the Episode


Find more about animecore on Depositphotos:  

Creative Trends 2023: Anime Thrill Overview 

Graphic Design Trends 2023 [Infographic] 

Spring Color Trends 2023: Palettes, Design Ideas, Stock Visuals, and Mockups 

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