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Shaping visual communication in 2018




Mixed Media
Still Life
Visual Identity

Discover 10 trends shaping visual communication in 2018!

Images resonate with us long after words disappear off the pages. What we shoot, the images we choose and how we use them influences our audience from year to year. It becomes important to keep track of new formats, emerging technologies and trends that determine how we communicate. The key movements in visual communication are going to be the integration of these technologies that are now part of our reality, and a new aesthetic that is more open, honest and relatable. Depositphotos analyzed data from the Depositphotos search algorithms and collaborated with our top photographers to predict the main visual trends for 2018. Let’s find out what’s waiting for us in the coming year.

Impact Photography

According to Statista Research, the number of smartphone users will raise to 2.7 billion by 2019. The accessibility of cameras is going to inspire people to not only document their daily life but also shine light on important events. Impact photography is concerned with the truth, these are images that are going to resonate with us all and highlight the events that will shape the coming years. Amateur journalism is also starting to develop social awareness around the world, battling fake news in the process.

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Perfect Strangers

The fact that we always have a smartphone with a high-quality camera at hand has also changed the way we approach street photography. Have you heard a story about a Nigerian woman who became a top model after she was accidentally photographed on the street? Stories of photographers finding their subjects in crowds are circulating around the web. We’re seeing a new approach to selecting models where ordinary people make for compelling subjects that are more relatable. Gap, Eileen Fisher, and Modcloth have recently started using real people to promote their brands. It goes to show that we crave something more personal, and sometimes these perfect strangers are ideal examples of what we’d like to see reflected in the modeling industry.

Artistic Expression Through Travels

People remain the most popular subjects in stock photography. However, most of our customers are looking for the photos of people in context with nature rather than the images shot in a closed photo studio space. These types of images are among the bestsellers on stock photography websites. More and more people are prioritizing travels. This led to a completely new way of living – «van life», when people escape their homes and return to their roots, looking for harmony with nature. It’s becoming one of the most popular social media trends with more than 2 million mentions on Instagram. When exploring remote places, people are documenting their travels and promoting a new lifestyle through their photography. Instead of dreaming about travels and indulging in adventures on holidays, people revolve their lives around travel, becoming the main heroes of their visual storytelling. These images narrow in on the importance of nature, a simple life and the much-needed getaways from busy city life.

Deadpan Photography

Deadpan photography, popular in the 50’s, has made a big comeback and is reverting back to the truth-telling capacity of photography. This style of photography is clearly influencing users around the world. It’s also become a very simple way to illustrate something just as it is, right in front of us. Deadpan photography is a cool, detached form of art. We’re noticing a tendency to value unfiltered and raw photos much more than the glossy, picture-perfect opposites. Qualities of deadpan photography have led to the emergence of a completely new trend in user-generated content. After social media became an integral part of our life, people started sharing pictures and the reviews of the items they bought. Instead of applying filters to glorify products, people are sharing images to show items and products as they are. The increased popularity of these ‘honest’ photos formed a new way to establish trust. Domino’s has successfully implemented this strategy and started posting these types of photos of their products on Instagram.


Video as a tool of communication

Although Instagram stories were launched 1,5 year ago, it feels like this became a distinct form of communication that shaped the way we capture and share stories about our life. It also became one of the more powerful tools brands use to promote their services. Rather than downloading a recorded event, people prefer to feel “in the moment” and watch livestream videos. Q&A sessions, live streams for events, the ability to show how the company works from the inside – it all takes away the image of a faceless corporation and brings companies closer to people. It is also influencing commercial videos and the shooting style of stock footage because in many ways, we depend on this format to quickly digest information.

Motion as a new norm for graphics

GIFs turned 30 this year and still seem to be as popular as ever. There are many reasons why we still love moving images – they’re fun and somehow mesmerizing. In 2018, we’ll be seeing a lot of experimentation with photos and videos. Graphics with motion add another dimension to otherwise static images and combine current video trends with still photos. Many popular brands choose GIFs when it comes to content curation. Among them are Starbucks, Pepsi, Skittles, and others. More and more services are also making motion graphics available and affordable for non-designers – like Crello or Powtoon. Social media will be flooded with animated images in 2018, and we’re seeing an increasing demand to bring back the lively form of graphics.

Blurred lines of reality

Augmented reality is not an unknown theory anymore. We can easily transform the world around us even with the help of our phones. We can edit photos, add filters and masks to images while we’re shooting, or even add objects from a shop to our homes to see if they fit, using a smartphone camera. We can safely say that the future is here, and brands have to integrate these trending formats into their projects. Keeping track of new and emerging technologies is a must in today’s world. How these different concepts influence our lives ultimately determines what the “next big thing” is going to be. The implications for new technologies (AI, AR) cross over with many industries. We can expect to see adoption and mainstreaming of these technologies, concepts and ultimately visuals.

Creative collages

The growing popularity of creative collages emerged in the graphic design industry. We’re looking for new ways of self-expression through design, the opportunity to stand out and to communicate messages to audiences in a more unusual way. Cropping images, combining them in unexpected ways and playing around with different mediums and effects introduces something a little more unexpected from visual content. Creative collages add a touch of personality and visual interest to online and print materials. Still images need something extra to be eye-catching and memorable. Creative collage is a form of art where imperfection meets beauty and creativity.


Brave color choices and effects

To make people like and want to share your content, they first need to notice it in their flooded feed. Bold color choices make for a loud statement as do soft, pastel colors that translate a trendy aesthetic. We’re expecting to see a duality of two extremes – bold and bright vs soft and pastel. Experimenting with unusual effects and finding new ways to alter photos is another trend we’ll be seeing a lot of. These images grab attention and give more room to creativity. Next year we’ll see more duotone effects, glitches, and double exposure shots which will add an artistic touch to visuals.

Accept me for who I am

Challenging stereotypes became relevant across many industries. Visual communication is no exception. No longer are we concerned with the perfect image, enhanced looks, or a younger appearance. France went as far as to ban companies from drastic enhancements of models in adverts. People want to be seen and accepted as they are – women showing their strengths, highlighting femininity or masculinity the same way men are free to do so.

There is also a growing popularity of highlighting cultural diversity, which is not a barrier anymore but rather an opportunity to show that we live in a united world. Stereotypes are long broken and now we’re getting accustomed to new images of interchanging roles for both men and women.

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Hallo stella, das ist wirklich sehr interessant