We live in increasingly visual times. From touch screens to billboards and vehicles in urban environments, to newspapers and magazines, images have become one of the dominant forms of communication as all media have moved from text to visual representation. Newspapers did, the internet did — the oldest among you will remember sighing when you saw a jpeg slowly trying to load on a website — and, as a result, we are all becoming more fluent in the language of still, and especially moving images.
That means their careful use is becoming more important too. In the same way that words and filing styles change and date, so to do the image we use. Which is what makes Adobe Stock’s attempts to track what it calls the ‘visual conversation’ taking place around the world such an interesting project. After examining pop culture, art, technology, advertising, consumer behavior and course the searches input into their own stock collection, Adobe Stock has created a list of the most meaningful visual trends to keep an eye on over the course of the coming year.
As the company’s Principal of Creative Services and Visual Trends, Brenda Milis, puts it, and it’s worth repeating here, “For artists and brands alike, trends are a critical tool. They’re about more than what people are enjoying or fascinated by at the moment. They’re a look at where we are as a culture, and as a world, so you can really understand what makes an image resonate.”
Their Trend Report explores each of these trends and features artists stock assets to unpack some of the underlying reasons why they are proving so popular. Here’s a quick overview of the zeitgeist- friendly Visual Trends that Adobe Stock reckons will inform the media landscape over the coming months.
Silence and solitude
A riposte to the incessant buzz of everyday modern life which is leading to a demand for images that tap into a need for quiet and contemplation.
This is an update of Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase describing ‘the global village’. Aspiration nowadays is measured by where people have been and are going as much as what they own, with experience trumping possessions. Visuals reflect that, tapping into the local but on a global stage.
The flip side of multilocalism is a new thirst for fantasy worlds: hyperreal landscapes of alternate universes that also taps into the growth of HDR imagery. Lush utopias feature heavily.
History and memory
Inspiration from classical art and techniques is becoming popular once more, echoing and repackaging familiar imagery in a contemporary context.
Touch and tactility
As Brenda Milis puts it: “In the visual world, it’s all about showing connections, whether it’s through images with richer textures, or people looking directly into the camera to establish a bold, personal moment with the viewer.”
The fluid self
This is one of the most interesting areas of all and highlights why it is important to choose images that reflect the world around us, especially for commercial work. The way we construct our identities is changing — as Milis points out, Facebook has 71 gender options alone nowadays — and artists and creatives need to ensure that people can see themselves mirrored in their work for maximum engagement. The bodies and the faces that we see in both still and video imagery are thus more diverse than at any point in our visual history.
“As an artist, especially, it’s easy to feel isolated in your work. Trends can give you confidence and data about where interest is growing and why,” explains Milis. For creatives, these trends are a critical tool to understanding what people are enjoying or fascinated by at the moment. By tapping into these trends, creatives can produce work that resonates with your audience.
For more, read the Adobe blog as the year unfolds.