Design a year-in-review video with Adobe Express



With a new year right around the corner, it’s time to cue the sentimental music:

Everyone loves a year-end recap. It’s fun to see how people commemorate their experiences and how you think about your own. Highlights, lowlights, and everything in between, an annual recap gives you the chance to look at how you spent your 525,600 minutes and celebrate what’s been most meaningful to you through them all.

Social media has jumped on the year-in-review bandwagon with companies like Snapchat, Meta, and famously Spotify, offering users a chance to revisit their year through the lens of the songs, places, moments, television shows, and more that were part of their past 12 months.

Science says these recaps matter. Recalling fond memories causes happy feelings and overall improved well-being. And nostalgia — the practice of reviewing our memories — is a (primarily) positive experience that can lead to a better mood, stronger bonds with loved ones, feeling more optimistic, and even improved health outcomes.

As we enter the season reserved for looking both forward and back, here are some ways to think about and create a year-in-review video that’s as unique as the milestones and adventures it represents.

Turn your experiences into content

Capturing attention at the end of the year can be tricky given all the other wonderful seasonal happenings. A video keeps people more engaged with content, giving them time to enjoy your fun-filled experiences from the year.

Wrapping up your year with a best-of-2023 video allows viewers to experience your highlights on a more personal level. While simple posts and holiday mailers are a great way to spread some well-wishes, creating something that shows your year’s greatest hits, accompanied by design and music, will make for more memorable content that viewers want to share. This approach does more than just provide a list. It gives you the chance to get creative and let your moments speak for themselves.

Recap videos are popular on social media. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner aiming to expand your reach, an influencer or a creator looking to increase your following, or a casual social media user who wants to share your experiences with family and friends, jumping on the year-in-review trend can help you connect with your audience and succeed with video content.

A recap video can function as a mini-marketing campaign for brands and is a great way to drive engagement and encourage sharing. But a year-in-review video isn’t just for brands. A great 2023 recap lets families and friends connect in meaningful and festive ways while providing an opportunity to create a video memory you’ll come back to for years to come.

Ring in the new year with a video recap

You can use Adobe Express to quickly and easily create a fun, fresh take on year-in-review content. Even though you’re looking back, you’ll be ahead of the curve, thanks to user-friendly tools with fantastic design and video capabilities that will make your creation the star of everybody’s social media timeline.

Let’s look at five ways to build a recap video that’s creative, compelling, and memorable, highlighting your (personal or professional) accomplishments and capturing the spirit of your year.

1. Pick an event from each month

Those lazy summer months might not seem like anything special — until you’re in the middle of a cold and drab December, longing for bright, buoyant days again. Give every part of the calendar a chance to shine in your year-in-review video by choosing a special moment or event from each month. Maybe May found you reading under a tree with your dog, while October had you winning your office Halloween costume party. With 12 months, you’ve got plenty of content options to present in an Instagram Reel or a TikTok video.

Whatever content you choose, try a template to make your video stand out with fun, engaging, and easy-to-incorporate elements.

2. Organize your year into a "top-10" list

If specific things made your year better, why not share them? It could be songs, it could be recipes, it could be a pair of socks. Whatever got you through 2023, celebrate it with a video. Include specific aspects of each item on your list to make sure the audience knows what made these 10 so special. For example, a sneakerhead could rank their favorite pairs of 2023 — complete with attention to the details they care about most: laces, heels, leather, stitching, and more. You could also turn it into a top-10 list — like a New Year’s Eve countdown — where you release a video each hour or each day to build suspense and interest.

If you aren’t sure how you want your recap video to look, try using a color theme to set the mood. The hard work is already done for you with color combinations that create any kind of look and feel.

3. Try an overall theme of your year

As scattered as a year can seem, use your recap as the chance to see your experiences through one particular lens. Maybe you moved this year, so 2023 was a time of “Lasts and Firsts” — last dinner in your old place, last visit to your favorite local bookstore, first walk around your new neighborhood, first piece of mail with your new address on it. Or maybe you want to focus your year around growth with images celebrating a job promotion, a half marathon, starting college, or something else.

Try adding photos to your video to give your content a professional edge. Or, include an audio track for extra interest that relates to your theme — you can even record your own voiceover.

4. Honor a key person, place, or thing in your life

Review your year with a special connection in mind. Whether it’s your mom, your baby goat, your grow boxes, or your favorite yarn store, create a recap centered around what you love the most. Did a coworker make every workday bearable with a different knock-knock joke? That’s prime year-in-review material. Or maybe you realized you’ve spent enough time each week in a coffee shop and now you’ve got your own reserved table. Make a video that celebrates something small but joyful about your everyday life.

Try Text Effects to easily create things like signs and labels or headlines, and add even more visual interest.

5. Lean into creative data

Looking at your year by the numbers is an unconventional approach that lets you tell a story from different data points. Consider a list of things that will engage your audience through a balance of relatability and uniqueness — for example, three visits to the local art museum, 52 loaves of homemade sourdough bread, one Costa Rican bucket list trip, and so on. Everybody loves interesting statistics, and this year-in-review gives you the chance to be creative and quantifiable at the same time.

Lean into AI for some added video creativity. The sky’s the limit, so try something like Generative Fill, an AI tool powered by Adobe Firefly that lets you add and remove content from images using simple text prompts.

Spread the recap love with Adobe Express

Bring your best creative game to your year-in-review video and build something you’ll love to revisit long after the new year is here. Adobe Express offers the intuitive, fun, and usable tools you need to make a showstopping recap you’ll want to share. And when customers, friends, and family see how well your unique expression shines, they’ll want to know your secret so they can celebrate their own year with just as much heart and soul.

Try Adobe Express today