Getty Images’ visual trends for 2016

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Published:  December 8, 2015
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Getty Images unveiled its anticipated visual trend forecast, an industry-leading publication of the key visual trends Getty Images predicts will influence design, advertising and brand communications in 2016.  Forecast by Getty Images’ global team of visual anthropologists and art directors, the trends address the social and cultural visual language of tomorrow and predict what imagery consumers will be most responsive to in the year ahead.

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The trends are identified by drawing on a diverse set of resources to which Getty Images has unique access – expert analysis of imagery in advertising, local insight from Getty Images’ teams and customers worldwide and the buying trends from the approximately 400 million downloads from the Getty Images website each year – as well as the study of pop culture and the changing behaviours of consumers globally. In addition to providing critical insight for the company’s art directors, editors, photographers and videographers, the trends are expected to inspire, educate and support designers and creatives across the globe.

The 2016 trends identified by Getty Images’ visual trends are:

1.      Divine Living

Divine living - Stuart Hall

Credits: Stuart Hall/Getty Images

As brands start to focus on values, as we shift our focus to more meaningful consumption, a surge of concepts such as goodness, intention and interconnectedness play out in the visual landscape. In an overwhelming visual world, brands and storytellers are placing purpose at the core of their narratives and must now appeal to our sense of worth, inside and out.

2.      Extended Human 

Extended Human - David Vintiner

Credits: David Vintiner/Getty Images

Technology is changing the way we live our lives, share our experiences and take in our surroundings. This trend explores how tech is becoming an extension of ourselves and challenging our idea of what it means to be human, as technology optimizes our bodies, expands our capacity for memory and creativity, and affords total connectivity.

3.      Outsider In

Outsider in - Felicity McCabe

Credits: Felicity McCabe/Getty Images

People that push the envelope and visuals that break with tradition are being more widely embraced, as popular taste becomes more daring. As we become increasingly inundated with mass-replicated imagery and aggregated articles, our appetite for a unique point of view and standout visuals increases. This trend looks at unconventional thinking and disruption coming from outsiders in the form of rebels, oddballs, non-conformists and anti-heroes.

4.      Messthetics

Messthetics -  Andy Lo Pò (2)

Credits: Andy Lo Pò/Getty Images

A break away from predictability and a reaction to the perfection we often see in advertising imagery, the Messthetics approach to image making stands out in a busy market of sameness. The imagery is messy, grimy, sweaty, visceral, beautiful and ugly. It comes from our desire to break away from the sanitation and predictability of everyday life and revel in the physicality of human nature.

5.      Silence vs. Noise

Silence vs noice - Klaus Vedfelt

Credits: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

2016 is set to be full of visual extremes, big contrasts and contradictions in styles, and Silence vs. Noise can be seen as a counterpoint to Messthetics. The imagery is simple and minimalistic, with the opportunity for customers to create messages that are similar – succinct and uncomplicated but beautifully executed to stand out against imagery that’s more frenetic. Visually it says ‘less is more’ in both composition and colour.  The pictures are often quiet and restrained and are highly effective in a visually overstimulated world where a calm approach creates a welcome contrast.

6.      Surreality

Surreality - Yagi Studio

Credits: Yagi Studio/Getty Images

Photographers are using new photo manipulation techniques to create playful and often surreal imagery. Sometimes looking like a 21st century version of 60’s psychedelia, the imagery is also influenced by dreams, the subconscious, and the original surrealist movement. In response to a decade dominated by authenticity and realism, we now have a huge appetite for the surreal and unexpected.

“The impact of social media on the consumer has been a particular driver in identifying some of the key visual trends for 2016. This years’ predictions illustrate the contrasts faced by the modern consumer – the yearning for extremes, to be on the outside of the mainstream, but also seeking community and engagement for a wider social good,” says Andrew Saunders, senior vice president of creative at Getty Images.

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