The search and download data is in — and images with bright colors, a fantasy feel, the final frontier, and global activism are all expected to rise. The data comes from Shutterstock’s annual study that tallies both search and download data to identify some of the fastest-growing trends in photography, video, audio and graphic design. Several areas support data from other stock companies, including a mix of creative reality and duotone, while other category growth is more specific to Shutterstock.
Get your Photoshop fingers ready: Shutterstock saw a jump in searches for both unicorns (279 percent) and mermaids (145 percent) jump. While some of those searches will require digital manipulation to create fantasy creatures, images that capture a fantasy feel — like a howling wolf or pink clouds — are also included in the category.
Shutterstock credits this trend to the entertainment industry. As productions like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings (now being adapted for a TV series) grow, the stock company expects the traditional genre to get both a fresh look and a new resurgence in popularity in 2018.
Minimalist photography has popped in and out of the trends over the past few years and Shutterstock is anticipating a colorful new look at the aesthetic. New minimalism, the company says, is a modern take on minimalism that keeps the simplicity but adds bold colors and fluid styles. The researchers were tipped off to this growing trend from a 432 percent increase for “continuous line” and 387 percent for “neon circle.”
Game of Thrones may be inspiring a growth in fantasy, but Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stranger Things are also creating a resurgence in space photography and design. Some of these space shots, Shutterstock says, have a dystopian feel. The numbers supporting the growth include a huge 991 percent increase for solar, along with 671 percent for astro, and 494 percent for “synthwave” for audio searches.
Marble may be a popular style for home design but the stone and other natural textures are also growing trends in stock media. Marble jumped by 416 percent and agate by 275 percent. The trend uses natural items to create a texture or background.
A mix of unexpected candy colors is creating another trend for punchy pastels. Shutterstock calls the trend a color rebellion, bumping up the saturation — this isn’t the baby wardrobe pastel, but a candy aisle pop. Searches for blue candy saw a 609 percent jump, but the color scheme doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to food items.
A global march
While photo trends are often inspired straight from Instagram feeds, you don’t need to look any further than the #metoo hashtag as Time’s Person of the Year or Facebook’s most-discussed topic of 2017, International Women’s Day. Shutterstock saw an increase in the second term by 660 percent, alongside a 540 percent increase for the term activism. This trend can appear in many different forms from art to politics, Shutterstock says.
Arguably the most specific trend in the bunch, the term cactus saw a 261 percent increase. While the subject is specific, the trend covers everything from wallpapers to landscapes to food shots. Shutterstock says the trend suggests a growth in appreciation for dessert cultures.
Traditional crafts are seeing an update for the digital era — graphics with embroidery (432 percent) and paper art (130 percent) are growing. Shutterstock says that while the designs may be digital, they are also very much tactile and create a sense of texture not normally part of a screen.
Building on the idea of traditional art, patterns that are both artistic and mathematical are also seeing growth, including guilloche (695 percent) and mandalas (632 percent). This category also contains Shutterstock’s largest search term jump for the year: Arabesque at 8,536 percent growth. (Arabesque is an ornamental design that usually includes a natural element like foliage or an animal).
The running joke is that companies only need to mention blockchain or cryptocurrency to see their stocks jump — and as more companies look into the market, more companies need images on the topic. Searches for cryptocurrency jumped 1,264 percent over the previous year.
Taking a nod from the pastel and sci-fi trends, the holographic’s shimmering colors are also growing. Shutterstock is reporting a 435 percent jump in searches for holographic, which the company says has dashes of inspiration from multiple sources from the 1980s to sci-fi.
Along with the global trends report, Shutterstock also included a list of popular trends by country, several of which overlap the global trends while others are oddities, like the U.S. trend for waxy monkey (which isn’t a monkey at all but a type of pet frog), comics in France, and pink circles in Japan. Shutterstock will continue to explore 2018’s trends with a series of blogs throughout the year.
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