2020: Next year’s big visual trends (according to stock libraries) – Features

2020: Next year’s big visual trends (according to stock libraries) – Features

- in Design

Art and design predictions that’ll define your client work in the new decade.

We all know what the colour of 2020 is – Classic Blue, according to Pantone – but what about visual trends in general? How will visual culture look in 2020, and in what ways will it impact on your art and design work?

The brands who always have an answer for this are the stock image brigade; we’re talking Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Storyblocks, Getty and their like, who this time of year come around with their big forecasts for the year ahead.

Below you’ll find their predictions, as calculated by what sort of images customer are gravitating towards on their sites – and which hopefully they’ll sell more of in the months to come! As such, take a pinch of salt with these guesses, much like you would with any flowery Pantone announcement.

Design Trends 2020

Adobe Stock’s trend findings this week included a sneak preview of their design predictions, the full report on which will be out later in December.

From the sneak peek we learn of something they’re calling ‘Handmade Humanism’, where hand-drawn and DIY-inspired elements are offered by brands to give more of a personal touch in our virtual age. This ties in with how we’re seeing a lot more watercolour illustrators blowing up on social media these days.

Two old art styles will be returning, with futuristic updates on Art Deco on the horizon and the style of Semi Surreal, with new tools and techniques bringing fantastical imagery to life. For the latter, think Grimes and her more recent cover artwork.

Art Deco updated
Semi Surreal

Another old look is coming, but one more from the music scene than the art world: the Goth aesthetic, imbuing dark and edgy visuals with analogue and digital elements to make what they’re calling Modern Goth. Again, think Grimes!

Motion Trends 2020

Adobe’s motion trend report was also teased, suggesting some interesting tidbits for digital artists and designers, such as creating more interactive graphics that respond to movement and grab attention.    

Liquid Abstract is the name of another trend, the use of freely flowing shapes and curves to create dynamic and fluid compositions.

Finally, nu-rave is back in the form of Neon Glow, putting neon in motion assets to create a retro, cyberpunkish feel that’s visionary, fun and electric.

Colour Trends 2020

Classic Blue isn’t the be all and end all next year, as is clear from Shutterstock’s recent Colour Trends report.

The stock giant is saying that next year is all about sensational shades. Screw subtlety, in other words, even if Pantone is saying the opposite with their rather conservative choice this year.

Lush Lava (hex #ff4500, below)  heads Shutterstock’s three top colour tips for 2020, a bold and fiery orange-red that definitely turns heads. Think sunsets or the burning embers of a roaring Christmas fireplace.

Aqua Menthe (hex #7FFFD4) is more closer to Pantone’s pick, and chimes with the big P’s aquatic-themed Colour Planner from spring.

The colour is a mix of cyan and mint, bright and serene and evocative of a “playful, modern, and outgoing personality”, to quote Shutterstock.

Finally, Phantom Blue (hex #191970) may not be ‘classic’ but does have that same sophisticated allure.

Used in van Gogh’s Starry Night, this deep saturated indigo-navy perfectly illustrated the dramatic skies around a glowing moon. Darker tones communicate stability and trustworthiness to customers, but Phantom Blue can also be used as a companion for pops of bright, contrasting colours like Lush Lava.

Creative Trends 2020

Back to Adobe, who are indicating that if brands want to get their message out there then, they better speak to not just the young but the old.

For the latter, expect to be creating work that portrays the ageing population as active, healthy and productive members of society.

That spirit of inclusion extends to how brand will be talking to Millennials and Generation Z, remembering that consumers have a stronger sense of community these days and actively seek more purpose-driven lifestyle choices.

They’ll also be expected to show some ’emotional authenticity’, or what stock brand Storyblocks calls ‘Real and Raw’, so expect ads with emotional reactions like tears and jubilation. Public figures may start be being more honest and open to connect with their audiences, so expect Boris Johnson to hire an acting coach to appear like he might give a toss or two about ailing kids.

Storyblocks is also calling 2020 to be the year of more videos where the viewer plays a role in shaping the story.

Early adopters of this visual format have made experiences ranging from customisable cooking lessons to choose-your-narrative ads. Creators implementing this trend will need to be both storytellers and technically-savvy.

Digital Arts will be keeping track of 2020 trend forecasts as they come in, so keep an eye on this page and our socials.

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