Employer

Last year we spoke to Shutterstock about the big creative trends predicted for 2016.

I’ve had the opportunity to chat to Terrence Morash, Creative Director at Shutterstock, about what’s hot and what’s not for this year. And for you instant messaging fans among you, you’ll be pleased to know emojis will continue to have a strong presence in 2017 as well as a few other surprises.

You can listen to my interview with him below, or read on for a summary of our conversation. And be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

Tell us about the Creative Trends Research?

So this is the sixth year we’re doing the Creative Trends Report, and essentially what it is is we are predicting through data, are those trends that are going to influence creative direction and design aesthetics in 2017 across the board in images, videos, and music. And the way we go about doing that is by taking our billions of searches that happen on our website every year, all the downloads that happen and really start to crunch that data and understand what it is that is sort of starting to trend.

So we’re not just looking at necessarily what’s the most popular downloads, but we’re looking at the various keywords that are being looked for that are more popular this year than they were last year and dramatically so. And what that is able to do is we’re able to then predict what’s going to become hotter in 2017. So for example, last year, one of our trends was flat lay, which most people can identify. It’s that looking straight down, things organized neatly kind of aesthetic that you see across social media. So we saw that starting to trend even before it got gigantic last year, and actually saw it evolve a little bit even more this year.

What are the four global trends for this year?

1. White texture

This is the one that we saw the biggest spike on, and the way that we’re defining that is really adding a three-dimensional feel to imagery. So if you can imagine the texture of paper, or a paper folder, or even white paint on a surface that has these ridges, shadows, etc, which really give things a little bit more dimension than where we’ve come from. And the best way we think about that too is almost an evolution of what we saw last year with material design, which was a term coined by Google, which really looked at that flat interface that had been popular for so many years and starting to give it dimensionality, adding shadows, things that you can almost reach out and touch. And we saw that extend this year with this texture. So these white texture imagery, things that people can then apply to their designs and make them feel a little bit more tactile, really spiked this year.

2. Halftone

Any magazine you see or newspaper, what you’re seeing in any image on those various printed pieces are really made up by tiny little dots, sometimes a little bit more evident than others. So that’s called the dot pattern and also a halftone. And that’s what we saw spiking this year too, which was really kind of interesting. It’s again, very much like white texture. It’s almost adding that little bit more of an organic feel to some of the communications that we’re seeing being generated. And perhaps it is reflective of almost nostalgic for a simpler time when printed newspapers and posters were much more important than the 24/7 digital news world that we’re in now.

3. Heads-up display

Which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s actually really the integration of data into the physical environment in a way. So you may have seen it on race cars where the various instruments on the dashboard, the speedometers, that are projected up on the window itself, on the windshield. So you can actually see all that information and you can see through it as well. So it’s really this integration of digital data into our worlds, which is very interesting. And I think it’s somewhat reflective of how technology has more and more become incorporated into our everyday lives with things like Nest thermostats for example. This integration, I think, is really getting people to really muse about what’s going to be interesting in the future, and where are we going with technology.

4. Emojis

I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of them, but this is actually interesting, because emojis was a trend two years ago and then it’s come back this year. And it’s come back big time. So we’re seeing a 328% increase in the number of searches and downloads for emojis this year. It was a couple of years ago when it was starting to trend that it became much more mainstream, where we started seeing huge brands, global brands such as Pepsi starting to use emojis in a really meaningful way, where they had added emojis onto Pepsi cans last summer. And I think because of that, it’s also introduced that idea of emojis into a broader audience. So it’s no longer just the younger generation, but now you’re starting to see their parents and everybody else using emojis and everyone sort of piling on top that. And at the same time, of course, we’re seeing social media channels just really kind of at war with each other as far as who can make their various channels much more interesting. So incorporating into emojis and other augmented reality elements into Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. I think all those things are really driving emojis forward.

Follow Terrence on Twitter @TMorash and don’t forget to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

About Jörgen Sundberg

Employer Brand Consultant, Speaker & Author. Host of The Employer Branding Podcast.

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