Shutterstock Predicts Top Creative Trends For 2022

The data and AI-driven report identifies the six notable trends that will define creative expression and increase marketing performance in 2022

Shutterstock, Inc., a leading global creative platform offering full-service solutions, high-quality content, and applications for brands, businesses and media companies, today announced the launch of its annual Creative Trends Report. Based on search data from Shutterstock’s global users, this year’s interactive report foresees the themes of time and space dominating creative projects and marketing campaigns in 2022. Additionally, new to this year’s report is Shutterstock.AI performance data that pinpoints the content that will drive the highest click-through rates, giving creatives and marketers the insights to create and innovate with confidence.

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The pandemic has dislocated the concept of time for many; as days dissolve together, the passage of time is processed differently. Shutterstock’s data shows that in 2022, creatives are expected to visualise this overarching sensation of losing track of time and space through entering new realms, eras and possibilities in their marketing materials. As virtual spaces increase in popularity, this year’s report places users directly into the metaverse through a heightened interactive experience, allowing users to explore the trends via a personalized avatar.

“When we took a closer look at what the global Shutterstock community is searching for, it is clear that 2022 is set to be a year defined by pushing traditional boundaries and exploring the unknown,” said Flo Lau, Creative Director at Shutterstock. “There is a sense of wanderlust and a desire to explore the fantastical and the uncanny, and this year’s trends captured just that. From the barren desert landscapes of the West to the neon reflections of a futuristic skyline, this year is ready to test the boundaries of our imagination.”

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The six 2022 Creative Trends fall under two thematic categories: time and space.

Fantastic (14th Century): Reflecting the global obsession with medieval sagas such as Game of Thrones and The Witcher, the popularity of the Middle Ages continues to rise. Keywords such as medieval building (+6496%), vintage shield (+2858%) and templar (+831%) have seen a drastic uptick, as creatives and marketers turn back time to revisit a realm of drama and adventure. According to Shutterstock.ai data, the content receiving the most clicks include towers, goblets, and axes, with castles being the most popular.

The Macabre (Modern Era): Spooky elements like Egyptian mummies (+6923%), beasts (+3623%) and reapers (+388%) aren’t just for Halloween. Search patterns show that the genres of horror and thriller are making a comeback, with a particular focus on dystopian and post apocalyptic futures.

Way Out West (18th – 19th Century): Data shows a spike in interest for cowboy culture, wild west environments, and prairie fields, with searches for Wild Horses, for example, rising by 1961%. Western-themed images and videos are fast climbing marketing wish lists, with Navajo patterns having grown in popularity by 225% over the last year.

On The Road Again (Modern Era): Staying indoors has sparked the urge to travel for millions around the world. Users are searching for bikes on the road (+14911%), roads to mountain (+5763%) and the badlands (+487%) in an effort to explore unknown territories and paths less frequented from the comforts of their own homes. Content receiving the most clicks include luggage and mountain ranges.

Cyberpunk Is Not Dead (2100s): In a world that is constantly innovating and breaking technological barriers, it is no surprise that creatives are turning towards high-tech aesthetics such as nocturnal cityscapes, fractal backgrounds (+2955%) and woman avatars (+1503%) to keep up with the changes. Content receiving the most clicks include electrical outlets, webcams and LED.

What’s Cookin’ (Modern Era): Lockdowns around the world spurred people to get back in the kitchen and find inspiration from all corners of the globe. Searches for regional specialities and ingredients such as Porcini (+2566%), Takoyaki (+2024%) and Panna Cotta (+435%) are on the rise, as creatives and marketers look for gastronomical inspiration near and far. Content receiving the most clicks include pretzels and cupcakes.

In addition to reporting these six global trends, Shutterstock has localized the trends report for the first time for some of our top markets: BrazilFranceJapan, U.S., and the UK. These national reports highlight each of these country’s top three upcoming trends, such as “The Art of Living’ in Japan,” and “Dragon (On and On)” in the U.S., by utilizing our local search and click data. Moreover, the 2022 report also informs our global audience of the top local search terms of 26 different countries, from Chile to Norway.

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