Report used data and AI to identify the six trends that are set to define creative expression this year
Shutterstock, Inc. announced the release of its annual creative trends report on Wednesday (19).
Based on survey data from global users of the platform, this year’s interactive report predicts the dominant time and space themes in creative projects and marketing campaigns in 2022.
New to this year’s report is performance data from Shutterstock.AI, which identifies the content that will drive the highest click-through rates.
“As we take a closer look at what Shutterstock’s global community is looking for, it’s clear that 2022 will be a year set for pushing past traditional boundaries and exploring the unknown,” said Flo Lau, Creative Director at Shutterstock. “There’s a sense of wanderlust and a desire to explore the fantastic and the strange, and this year’s trends captured just that. From the barren desert landscapes of the West to the neon reflections of a futuristic skyline, this year is ready to test the limits of our imagination.”
The six creative trends of 2022 fall into two thematic categories: time and space. See the explanation below:
Fantastic (14th Century): Reflecting the global obsession with medieval sagas like Game of Thrones and The Witcher, the Middle Ages’ popularity continues to rise. Keywords like medieval building (+6496%), vintage shield (+2858%) and templars (+831%) have seen a dramatic increase as creatives and marketers go back in time to revisit a realm of drama and adventure. . According to data from Shutterstock.AI, the content that gets the most clicks includes towers, cups and axes, with castles being the most popular.
The Macabre (Modern Era): Creepy elements like Egyptian mummies (+6923%), monsters and beasts (+3623%) and The Death (+388%) aren’t just for Halloween. Research patterns show that the horror and thriller genres are making a comeback, with a particular focus on dystopian and post-apocalyptic futures.
Towards the Wild West (18th to 19th Centuries): Data show an increase in interest in cowboy culture, wild west environments and prairie countryside, with searches for wild horses, for example, increasing by 1961%. Western-themed images and videos are skyrocketing up marketing wish lists, with patterns reminiscent of Native Americans of the Navajo tribes growing 225% in popularity in the past year.
On the Road Again (Modern Era): Staying indoors has awakened the desire to travel for millions of people around the world. Users look for road bikes (+14911%), mountain roads (+5763%) and remote places (+487%) in an effort to explore uncharted territories and off-the-beaten-path paths from the comfort of their own homes. The content that gets the most clicks includes luggage and mountain ranges.
Cyberpunk Is Not Died (2100s): In a world that is constantly innovating and breaking technological barriers, it’s no surprise that creatives are turning to high-tech aesthetics like night cityscapes, fractal backgrounds (+2955%) and female avatars (+1503%) to accompany these changes. Content that gets the most clicks includes electrical outlets, webcams, and LED images.
Out of the Oven (Modern Era): Lockdowns across the world have spurred people to return to the kitchen and find inspiration in every corner of the planet. Searches for regional specialties and ingredients like Porcini (+2,566%), Takoyaki (+2,024%) and Panna Cotta (+435%) are on the rise as creatives and marketers seek culinary inspiration near and far. The content that gets the most engagement includes pretzels and cupcakes.
Shutterstock has also broken down the trends report for some of the major markets: Brazil, France, Japan, the US and the UK, which highlights each of the top three upcoming trends for these countries, such as “The Art of Living” in Japan and “Dragon ( On and On)” in the US using our local research and data from accessed materials.
For Brazil, the main trends point to “Piratas à Espreita”, “Flora and Fauna” and “Eat, Drink and Be Creative” — with searches increasing through keywords such as “pirate ships”, “animals of safari” and “cheese and wine”.
“It is interesting to note that while world trends turn towards futuristic, disruptive and innovative scenarios, in Brazil we find a need to look at what is genuinely ours, the specific flora and fauna of the country. This is a field to be explored by photographers who are spread across the immense Brazilian territory, making the local natural highlights, often forgotten, become visible to the whole world through the sharing of these images”, said Guilherme Tosetto, coordinator of Graduate in Photography at Fine Arts. “The photographic market, being extremely dynamic, requires professionals to constantly update themselves, having the notion of what the market needs and demands”, he added.