Insight: Shutterstock's Creative and Style Trends for 2017

By David Schonauer   Tuesday January 31, 2017

This is going to be a year of contrasts, declares Shutterstock.

The stock photography, film, and music company has just released its annual analysis  of the creative and style trends that will be driving the culture in 2017. The report is certainly of interest to design and marketing professionals, and it should be also to creatives, including photographers and filmmakers.

Its conclusions reflect information gathered from millions of searches and downloads, as well as input from Shutterstock’s own design, video, and music teams. What will we be seeing in 2017? A visual landscape “torn between the real world and the digital world, between nature and technology, and between the past and the future.”

According to the report, emojis will be a dominant visual trend in the year to come, along with images evoking newsprint, analog TV and pop art. Also look for textured images reflecting patterns found in nature and visuals with “head-up display” — sleek dashboard-style at-a-glance presentations of measurements and numbers.

You can see an inforgraphic  detailing the report’s findings. Below are some of the visual and cultural trends identified by Shutterstock:

Cultural Trends

Culturally, notes the report, we are thinking about the past, present, and future – “balancing warm feelings of nostalgia with a sense of both excitement and uncertainty about the future.”

Social Trends

According to the report, the most popular images on Shutterstock’s social-media channels showed “the extremes of nature, from a source of solace to something unpredictable and dramatic.”

Design Trends

This year’s big design trends are direct opposites: We’ll be seeing both the precision of technology and the chaotic beauty of nature.

Video Trends

The trends in video, note the report, reflect “the changing nature of the workplace, technology that transports us, and the need to get away from it all.”

Global Trends

The report also identifies specific global trends. In Canada, imagery of clean energy is big. In Argentina, architecture is trending. Brazil is all about girl power. Russia is all about lace, while Turkey is thinking about serenity and Germans respond to imagery of the forested natural world. Interestingly, the U.S. trend is jalapeño peppers — perhaps reflecting the country’s changing culinary inclinations, or its current fixation on immigration from Mexico. On the Mexican side of the border the trend spotlighted by the report is hot air balloons — good platforms, perhaps, for seeing over the Great Wall of Trump.


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