They are to images what Anna Wintour is to fashion.
As part of the world’s leading visual media company, a global team of creative researchers and art directors understand image trends in a way few others can, predicting and producing the type of imagery brands will need in the year ahead.
They analyze data from the millions of images searched and licensed via gettyimages.com and track how these visuals are used in everything from advertising to movies, social media to magazines. Want to know where the visual zeitgeist is headed? Have tea with Pam Grossman, Getty Images Director of Visual Trends, and you will leave equal parts fascinated and inspired.
This time last year, Grossman and I did just that – and now, looking back, the predictions she and her colleagues made were right on target.
Take Genderblend, for example. In the 2015 “Creative in Focus” book, Grossman noted that society’s understanding of masculinity and femininity were becoming increasingly fluid, and that we’d see more imagery reflecting this in the months ahead in ads and pop culture. She was right.
By March, people were redefining the notions of gender on a grand scale, even before Caitlyn Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer. Advertisers took note, too, and even now, the trend shows no signs of stopping just because we’re turning a page on our calendars.
So what’s in store for 2016?
Outsider In – People who push the envelope and visuals that break with tradition will be widely embraced, as popular taste becomes more daring.
Extended Human – Our notion of personhood is expanding, as we harness the power of technology in all areas of our lives. The parameters of man and machine are starting to blur, and the results are riveting.
Divine Living – As brands focus on values, reflection and revelation become front and center, with consumers shifting their focus to more meaningful consumption.
Messthetics – Brands will harness the power of the ugly, messy, sweaty, visceral aesthetic. It’s a rebellion against the order of everyday life that revels in the physicality and soul of human nature.
Silence vs. Noise – This trend focuses on making space for consumers to breathe and reconnect in a cluttered marketplace, engaging our emotions and spirit with visual haikus.
Surreality – As we look to visually represent the multifaceted lives we experience in the digital age, the opportunities for creativity are endless. This trend focuses on surreal graphic imagery and plays with ideas of infinity, duality and multiplicity.