Rebellion is in the air. People that push the envelope and visuals that break with tradition are being more widely embraced, as popular taste becomes more daring.
All hail the outspoken, the outré and the odd. As we become ever more inundated with mass-replicated imagery and aggregated articles, our appetite for unique messengers and standout visuals increases with each and every share. Those with anti-hero spirits and extreme style are being more readily celebrated by the populace, and what was once marginal is increasingly becoming mainstream. Consumers are cannier than ever about how content is manufactured and how business and governments are run, and are more frequently rejecting anything that has even the slightest whiff of Goliath.
It should come as no surprise, then, that in this climate the US presidential candidates with the fastest growing support bases are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, opponents who both have fringe appeal and equally forthright attitudes. In the UK, liberal underdog Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party. Millennial pop stars Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have recently launched bold image updates and more envelope-pushing musical partnerships with The Flaming Lips, Scrillex and Diplo. And some of the biggest stars in entertainment at the moment are female comedians like Amy Schumer, Tig Notaro and Broad City creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, all of whom are lauded for their irreverence and non-Hollywood starlet looks.
Fortune favors the audacious, it seems, and brands are starting to follow suit.
Campaigns that rabble-rouse using a sly sense of humor and outrageous design are grabbing attention. Vintage Handbag Company Ethel + Frank launched their site with the tagline “Give No Fucks in Style,” using octogenarian models in neon fashions. Although Rebel Yell Bourbon has been around since 1849, they decided the time was right for a rebrand this past year with the declaration: “Risk Takers, Rule Breakers & Noise Makers, UNITE!” UK fashion brand Belstaff recently released their short film “Outlaws,” starring David Beckham as a motorcycle-riding mystery man encountering Fellini-esque characters in surreal vignettes. Even Bank of America is embracing its rebellious side, hiring Billy Idol as spokesperson in commercials directed by comic auteur Christopher Guest.
Outright oddballs are having their day as well. A recent campaign for Trulia’s real estate site that showcases people in their houses indulging in peculiar predilections, such as nude Scrabble and whale-speak, has the slogan “Find A Home Where You Can Be You.” David Lynch’s beloved bizarre show “Twin Peaks” is being resurrected for a new season 25 years after its series finale. Google Play’s animated commercial with musician Reggie Watts celebrates his past as a “weirdo kid.” We’ve entered a new Age of the Strange.
At Getty Images, we’ve seen this sideways point of view rising steadily in our top-selling pictures as well. In a 5-year time span, the keyword “attitude” has gone up 42%, “individuality” is up 76% and “creativity” is up 134%. We’re getting far less faint of heart, it seems, and favoring images that express an ethos on nonconformity using garish colors unusual models and left-of-center conceptual narratives.
In the coming year, we fully expect to see an increase in visuals that confront us, wake us up and make us look. And we can’t wait to make plenty more of these provocative pictures ourselves.
See which keywords have risen in Getty Images search data that have helped define the Outsider In trend:
Explore more quirky, rebellious imagery inspired by the Outsider In trend at Getty Images and iStock by Getty Images