Getty Images recently revealed its predictions for the latest set of visual trends making an impact throughout 2015 and beyond.

The trends were revealed by Getty Images Director of Visual Trends, Pam Grossman in a recent briefing and are also available to explore in full in the digital eBook, now available to download for free.

We asked Pam to revisit some of the questions from participants during the webinar to give you some further insights into the 2015 visual trends, and how they will play out in brand and advertising campaigns in 2015.

1. Without a dedicated team focused on creating content, what is the best way to stay on top of the trends?

Pam Grossman: Within the Creative Research team here at Getty Images we use a variety of trend forecasting methods that allow us to take a look at what has been happening across the visual landscape over the past twelve months and beyond. It is very important for organizations to look behind them and analyze what data they have at their disposal, whether that is sales data, brand performance, or social interactions etc.

That being said, it is not guaranteed that a trend will take off by simply looking retrospectively. This activity should be complemented by actively ingesting a large variety of media from around the world, taking inspiration from as many sources as you can that touch upon your industry or service – and wider! On our team, we collectively read thousands of blogs; monitor box office, book sales, most emailed articles, trending hashtags; and keep our eye on the TV shows, art exhibitions, online videos, and so on that are building buzz.

Looking at multiple mediums and messages allows us to build a story around themes and capture the patterns that emerge – making our own connections and letting the stories unfold. We’re source-agnostic in that way, and are more interested in the overall visual constellation that forms as these different culture points interface and connect.

2. How can the visual trends outlined be translated to fit specific industries?

PG: We are under no misconception that every trend we cover will be applicable for every project, brand or industry. What we are doing as the leader in visual communications is painting the wider picture for creative trends that we feel will be featured next year and onwards.

The purpose of these trends is to give creatives from any industry, brand or service a nugget of inspiration that they can take and translate for the project/campaign they are working on. A lot of times, they’re relevant for photography or video-driven projects, but it could also take the form of design elements, color schemes, or text effects to keep their marketing activity fresh and forward thinking.

We believe that within all of these trends there is an element that can be taken away for people in any industry to make use of in their visual communication efforts.

3. Do these trends apply to video as well as images?

PG: The visual trends outlined in this briefing are definitely not exclusive to stills alone – we envision these trends being played out across multiple formats including video and possibly even transcending into virtual and augmented reality.

The trends outline visual communication concepts in general, which is why the webinar contained stills and screen grabs from commercials and video.

4. Are these trends global or are do they have a US focus?

PG: The trends we have outlined in the Creative In Focus book are not limited to the United States and are global in nature. But of course we understand that not all of these trends may be adopted as fully as we outline them; some societies across the globe don’t have the same views around gender politics for example – with particular reference to the “Genderblend” trend – and won’t fully adopt the notions of a balanced transgender society, at least in the immediate future.

However, the other side of Genderblend – the equilibrium of male and female roles at home and in the work place – is certainly being challenged on a global level, and this is something we feel will make an impact in 2015.

5. What role can UGC play when thinking about how brands can utilize these trends?

PG: At Getty Images we love user-generated content (UGC), in fact we have created our own platform to capture this unique perspective from our contributors, called Moment. Taking advantage of UGC is something that is becoming more important to us as it allows us to source incredible views of everyday life from the mundane day-to-day experiences and images from around the world to regional celebrations and landmarks that are more challenging for us to cover.

On the flipside of that, although UGC is a wonderful way of capturing more natural, authentic images of everyday life, it’s not the solution for everyone or for every brand or project. We see UGC as a wonderful tool that is now another bow on the visual communications string, one creative crayon in a full set if you will.

6. How can B2B marketing make better use of these trends in their marketing efforts?

PG: This is an interesting question as it completely depends on what is being sold or serviced. One thing B2B marketers can do is to try and be more imaginative in the types of visual communication they serve to customers. Too often we see B2B marketers keep to the usual service/solutions-orientated advertising, speaking in a formal tone and using a very safe tone, both in voice and visuals.

There is definite room for change here! The fact is, humans are the consumers who are viewing B2B marketing efforts, the same as with B2C, and humans crave engagement. As humans we gravitate to more diverse and interesting imagery so naturally will be more likely to interact with it– whether that is a B2B or B2C brand communications. We would love to see more B2B brands taking these trends and then elevating their projects into more surprising and inspiring realms. I truly believe this is how B2B business can differentiate themselves from the competition and really stick out from the crowd.

7. Is it now a trend to use bigger images and less text in advertising?

PG: We have definitely seen a shift in the ratio of images vs. text in advertisements, and in overall web and app design. Today when we consume media the images are now larger and more engaging that ever before. We see brands visually tell a story through emotion and stimulating imagery that invokes both our senses and emotions, creating resonance that is sometimes more powerful than words.

A trend that we flagged last year, Super Sensory, is all about the visual interaction and the immersive experience a highly sensorial image creates. Bigger pictures, closer crops, macro detailing, visceral textures…the more lush the better.

We can see Super Sensory in the trends we outline this year, such as Wonderlust and Mutant Nature, and I believe we will continue to see it being used but in ways that dip into different visual pockets.

8. How can these trends work for sports marketing?

PG: All of these trends can be applied to sports marketing and we are already seeing them come into play. We can see notions of Genderblend in the portrayal of more powerful and achieving female sports stars. Wonderlust is, in a way, perfect for sports marketing as it conveys the mythic nature of sport perfectly: the struggle, the journey, good vs evil, and the archetype of conquering something, (a mountain, a World Cup), and becoming a hero. Epic backdrops and extreme scales suit these stories beautifully. Future Unknown is already being reflected in design by companies like Nike, whose latest workout gear for women would look equally at home in the next Wachowskis’ film.

9. As you are outlining these trends, is there a risk of everyone jumping on the bandwagon and it being all ‘me too’ rather than something innovative?

PG: This is something that we think about a lot at Getty Images and it is something we are asked from time to time. Of course there is always a danger of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ but we feel that the challenge we have as creatives is to take these trends and use them as creative sparks to ignite and shape our original ideas. This has always been the case with creativity: by its nature it is about mashing up and mutation what’s come before, even if to eventually reject it entirely. We are providing the trends as a foundation for ideas to grow, allowing brands to take these and then build on them to create something different that fits with their vision and ethos. Luckily, our customers are the most creative human beings in the world, so we are excited to see how they take these visual trends forward and run with them!

10. Can every type of business embrace or portray The Vanguardians image as their own?

PG: The Vanguardians trend is a special one, because in order to have it be an effective creative tool, your brand really has to walk the walk. It’s much more difficult today to project an image of stewardship outwardly, if your business practices are deplorable behind closed doors. We had “greenwashing,” with brands and sustainability, we’re having “pinkwashing” with brands and feminism, and I think “goodwashing” will definitely be the next iteration of this: pretending to be a better global citizen than you actually are.

Consumers are more sophisticated than ever when it comes to the mechanics of branding and media, and they can spot a thin veneer from a mile away – and they will be only too happy to try and let the entire internet know about it as soon as possible! So I think if you want to tell the visual story of The Vanguardian, you need to be prepared to be one. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a wonderful thing.

Discover imagery reflecting these visual trends on Getty Images