What does the future actually look like?

As the speed of consumption accelerates, the challenge for brands to stay relevant has become increasingly difficult. But the award-winning art directors at Getty Images see this as an opportunity.

“These turbulent times are driving a new creative revolution,” says Senior Art Director Gemma Fletcher, who works with photographers around the world creating breathtaking imagery. “Image makers are rejecting nostalgia and designing a new visual aesthetic that represents a unique vision of the future with technology at its core.”

Fletcher breaks this “future unknown” creative viewpoint into four key drivers:

1. Collective consciousness

Over the past decade we have often relied on nostalgia to drive consumer engagement, both literally and visually. Where the previous century saw each decade clearly defined by a creative subculture, the 21st century saw the rise of “cottage culture,” a melting pot of ideas and aesthetics from the past.

The internet created a level platform transcending borders, initiating an environment where ideas are generated and adopted overnight, building a global collective consciousness that connects us, but lacks a distinct style of our era.

2. Anti-nostalgia

Future unknown embraces experimentation fused with technology to create a new set of rules for visualizing our future. At the heart of it is a rebellious wave of anti-nostalgia and a collective desire to experience something new and unpredictable. This means embracing the unknown, rejecting traditional conventions and harnessing developments in science, art and technology to construct a visual language that defines our times.

3. Digital DIY

Technology is a driving force in image-making, and we are recognizing a tech-savvy DIY culture in which image makers are hacking, coding and reshaping to uncover a new aesthetic. For example, Nick Knight’s campaign for lane Crawford pushed 3D scanning and motion capture to its limits to create a series of images without using any photography.

This is as much about aesthetics as it is about process. Stylistically, image makers embrace the experimental, presenting the viewer with something surprising.

4. Capturing the unseen

Developments in technology have allowed us to visualize what was previously unseen. For example, in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic games, Japanese agency Dentsu is working on visualizing sports such as fencing, with the help of sensors to illustrate movements on screen that are too quick for the human eye to see.
Similarly, with Google Glass, drones and the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift set to be the next wave of accessible tech, creatives are becoming more excited by the idea of the unknown — and are harnessing a new code of visual aesthetics, with technology at the core.

These disruptive ideas are the catalyst for shaping what tomorrow will look like.