2018 Creative Trends

Every year, Shutterstock customers across the world make billions of searches for images, footage, and music. Our data and creative teams analyze this search and download data to discover the biggest year-over-year increases. With the information gathered, plus expert knowledge from our content, design, video, and music teams, we identify the trends that will continue to grow throughout 2018.

From major trends that will dominate popular culture to trends to watch that will burst onto the design scene, these are the top 11 styles to emerge in the coming year. Scroll through the infographic to see each one, and be sure to get all the way to the bottom to see our trend to watch, which we think will be inescapable this year.

Stay ahead with our trend insights, then see how you can make cutting-edge creative projects in 2018 with our hand-selected images, footage, and music for the trends. Check out ourcoverage of these trendsthroughout the year, including tips, tutorials, and trendspotting.

From mythical beasts to magical landscapes, symbols and styles of the fantasy genre help us slip into another world.Game of Throneshas dominated pop culture for several years, but new ventures, like the recently announcedLord of the RingsTV series, bring fresh interest to this age-old genre.

Searches are increasing for recognized fantasy characters unicornup 297% andmermaidup 145% and epic, orchestral music is growing in popularity as marketers and creative professionals look to add a bit of the supernatural to our everyday. Look for fantasy styles, sounds, and narratives to gain influence across the board.

Tip: To find fantasy images on Shutterstock, try the search termmagical landscape.

Minimalism is evolving from its modest roots to a look fit for modern times. The new minimalism goes beyond crisp, clean lines to feature bold, vibrant colors and fluid styles that reimagine this consistently popular art form.

While searches forcontinuous lineincreased 432%, a new contender in minimalism,neon circle, was searched for 387% more. Look for designs that challenge the concept of stripped down with neon lights, added texture, and concentrated color, plus minimalist tracks that feature continuous, loopable sounds.

Tip: Discover the characteristic sound of new minimalism on Shutterstock by searching foratmosphericmusic.

The sci-fi genre continues to win at the box office with the revitalization ofStar Wars,Star Trek, and several Marvel cosmic films, as well as TV, in popular series likeStranger Things,Dark, andThe Orville. The creative world is taking note with an emphasis on space. Searches forsolarare up 991% and interest inastrohas increased 671%, while the popularity of the unmistakable sci-fisynthwavesound has increased 494%.

As we live out the innovations and technology once the stuff of storybooks, our ideas about the next frontier and a changing Earth are bubbling to the surface. The result is a space full of awe-inspiring galactic beauty and a darker, more dystopian feel.

Tip: Search forgalaxyorspace shuttleto find amazing footage of this trend on Shutterstock.

Rising from the popularity of bohemia and new age aesthetics and practices, this style incorporates the swirls ofmarble(+416%) or the ripples ofagate(+275%) for a luxe effect that can be subtle or dramatic. Stones like marble contain all the history and secrets of the Earth, adding a sense of mysticism to their innate beauty. From housewares to paper goods, look for this style to dominate in its natural luxury.

Tip: Try searching formarbleized effecton Shutterstock to find colorful photos and vectors of this trend.

A pastel palette is rarely something to write home about, but these new, rebellious color schemes increase the saturation for sweet candy colors with an undeniable kick.

Look for otherwise subtle colors complemented by a bright hue, likeblue candy(+609%), or a juicy set of colors that reconsider the meaning of delicate. Blow off the dust from these traditional hues and dont be afraid to up to the ante.

Tip: To find bright and fun images of this trend, search forcreative pastelsorpastel minimalism.

A century after women gained the right to vote across much of the world, the battle for equality continues with fresh urgency. Searches forInternational Womens Dayare up 660%, whileactivismsaw an increase of 540%.

Women continue to band together in a global march that takes their voice to every stage. Their message reverberates through art, film, theater, and writing, across industries and within politics, as a daily reminder that there is still much to achieve.

Tip: Find the right music for the movement withProduction genretracks from Shutterstock.

Rounding out the aesthetic of similar natural trends like marble and agate, these plants call the desert home, belying their survivor nature. From wallpapers to prints to props, the popularity of thecactus(+261%) speaks to an obsession with desert culture and its new age tendencies. Try the cute side of cacti with sweet watercolor renderings, or evoke their edginess with saturated backgrounds or stark, authentic photography.

Tip: Discover an array of illustrated styles for this trend by searchinghand drawn cactusorwatercolor cactuson Shutterstock.

As material design dominates UI, old art forms are being recreated for digital consumption. Traditional paper and fabric-centric crafts, likeembroidery(+432%) andpaper art(+130%), are finding new life as theyre reinterpreted for a new era. These tactile designs bring a much-needed sense of touch and texture to the web as their whimsical nature makes us forget the limits of screens and pixels.

Tip: Find the perfect images for this trend on Shutterstock with search termsorigami,papercraft, orembroidery style.

Both spiritual and mathematical, these intricate patterns have their origins in diverse and disparate cultures. The symmetry of these styles make for a perfect backdrop, but its their ancient mystical nature that make them such compelling design elements.

Its clear that these ancient geometrics are universally loved; searches forarabesqueare up 8,536% an astronomical increase and the largest weve seen this year whileguillocheis up 695%, andmandalasis up 632%.

Tip: Get psychedelic footage for your next project by searching forkaleidoscopeon Shutterstock.

Once a curiosity and now reaching critical mass, searches forcryptocurrencyare up 1,264%. As early players start to see returns, newcomers are excitedly envisioning the prospects of a digital economy. Expect peak conversation around this topic as every outlet covers it and seeks out ways to visualize its intangible nature.

Tip: Stay ahead of this changing trend by searching for images ofdigital currencyon Shutterstock.

From the highlight craze in makeup to the ironically retro vaporwave aesthetic, the 2018 holographic trend has notes of the glitzy 80s, a dash of sci-fi, and hint of nostalgia for a look that is undeniably and inescapably now.

Up 435% in searches,holographics chameleon palette of shimmering colors is a trend to watch because it works on so many levels as high or low culture, as old or new, as playful or serious and its always beautiful in application.

Tip: Add nostalgic flair to your projects by searching forholographic patternsandtextureson Shutterstock.

These are the fastest growing trends across 20 countries. Some reflect bigger trends, like the rise of the new minimalist trendloop designin Malaysia, or larger cultural events such as the Chinese Zodiac, which hasdogtrending in Brazil. Others mark more local curiosities, likejazzin Mexico andantiquityin Spain.

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