Getty Images’ annual top searches reflect a mix of the year’s events, news, sports, popular celebrities and other major stories and trending ideas that connect the thinking of our visitors around the globe. Our Search Data and Creative Research teams collaborate to identify search terms and trends that capture the changing cultural landscape across advertising, pop culture and global news.

In 2014 our list of top searched celebrities was led by Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift. All of them were regulars in the top 10 of most searched celebrities in past years but managed to grow their popularity even further over the year. All three women had a great year – Beyoncé launched a number one album, gave showstopping performances at the Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards and sold out a summer tour with Jay Z; Kim Kardashian got married, released her app and almost ‘broke the Internet’ with her appearance on the cover of Paper Magazine; and Taylor Swift also hit number one with her record-breaking new album, ‘1989’.

Other celebrities that didn’t make the top 10 (yet), but who saw a spike in search interest were George Clooney’s newly-wedded wife Amal Alamuddin, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyang’o and actress Anne Hathaway.

We all remember the iconic images of players and fans from Brazil – 2014 was definitely a year for football! It’s not at all surprising that the FIFA Word Cup turned out to be our top searched sport event and ‘football’ (soccer) the most searched sport on Getty Images.

The two top searched news events in 2014 were ‘Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’ and ‘Malaysia Airlines Flight 17’. It has been a bad year for Malaysia Airlines, first the mystery of the Boeing 777 that disappeared over the South Indian Ocean and only months later the jet that crashed in Ukraine. In both incidents, the exact circumstances still remain unclear.

Other news events that dominated search terms in 2014 were the conflict in Ukraine, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the rise of ISIS across the Middle East, and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the Creative side a set of data that is always insightful to analyse is the conceptual terms that our customers use to search for creative content, as these words capture the thinking behind their image requirements. In 2014 the three top conceptual searches evolved around the themes of ‘cooperation’, ‘success’ and ‘connection’. Within the top 10 concepts, searchers showed more interest in imagery visualising ‘inspiration’, ‘direction’ and ‘change’ this year than in 2013.

The popular topics that were searched for in 2014 were fairy predictable: ‘sport’, ‘science & technology’, ‘business’, ‘finance’ and ‘healthy lifestyle’. But within the millions of searches, fast rising keywords always highlight areas in which our customers are starting to show increased interest. For the second year we saw a significant spike for the term ‘selfie’, echoing the increased significance of mobile photography and honest self portraits.

Another phrase we are currently seeing rise in frequency is ’3D Printing’. As more companies put their weight behind the technology, 3D printers are becoming more affordable as well as easier to use, and industry experts expect 2015 to be the year when 3D printing reaches the mainstream.

While many of the search trends capture the global zeitgeist, the regional differences are always worth checking out too. World Cup winner Germany celebrated their World Cup win with ‘soccer’ in their top 10 searched terms, while visitors in France expressed their love for food and customers in Japan demonstrated the importance of technology in their most frequently searched terms.

Discover the key visual and creative trends the research team at Getty Images are predicting for 2015 in our free Creative in Focus trends book