Shutterstock's 2018 Creative Trends Report

2018 Creative Trends Report

Discover 5 of the biggest image, video styles of the year.

Every year, Shutterstock customers across the world make billions of searches for images, footage, and music. Our data and creative teams analyze this search and download data to discover the biggest year-over-year increases. With the information gathered, plus expert knowledge from our content, design, video, and music teams, we identify the trends that will continue to grow throughout 2018. 

Stay ahead with our trend insights, then see how you can make cutting-edge creative projects in 2018 with our hand-selected images, footage, and music for the trends


1.    Major Trend: FANTASY

From mythical beasts to magical landscapes, symbols and styles of the fantasy genre help us slip into another world. Game of Thrones has dominated pop culture for several years, but new ventures, like the recently announced Lord of the Rings TV series, bring fresh interest to this age-old genre.

Searches are increasing for recognized fantasy characters – unicorn up 297% and mermaid up 145% – and epic, orchestral music is growing in popularity as marketers and creative professionals look to add a bit of the supernatural to our everyday. Look for fantasy styles, sounds, and narratives to gain influence across the board.



 2.    Major Trend: NEW MINIMALISM

Minimalism is evolving from its modest roots to a look fit for modern times. The new minimalism goes beyond crisp, clean lines to feature bold, vibrant colors and fluid styles that reimagine this consistently popular art form.

While searches for continuous line increased 432%, a new contender in minimalism, neon circle, was searched for 387% more. Look for designs that challenge the concept of “stripped down” with neon lights, added texture, and concentrated color, plus minimalist tracks that feature continuous, loopable sounds.



3.    Major Trend: SPACE

The sci-fi genre continues to win at the box office with the revitalization of Star Wars, Star Trek, and several Marvel cosmic films, as well as TV, in popular series like Stranger Things, Dark, and The Orville. The creative world is taking note with an emphasis on space. Searches for solar are up 991% and interest in astro has increased 671%, while the popularity of the unmistakable sci-fi synthwave sound has increased 494%.

As we live out the innovations and technology once the stuff of storybooks, our ideas about the next frontier – and a changing Earth – are bubbling to the surface. The result is a space full of awe-inspiring galactic beauty and a darker, more dystopian feel.




 Rising from the popularity of bohemia and new age aesthetics and practices, this style incorporates the swirls of marble (+416%) or the ripples of agate (+275) for a luxe effect that can be subtle or dramatic. Stones like marble contain all the history and secrets of the Earth, adding a sense of mysticism to their innate beauty. From housewares to paper goods, look for this style to dominate in its natural luxury.




A pastel palette is rarely something to write home about, but these new, rebellious color schemes increase the saturation for sweet candy colors with an undeniable kick.

Look for otherwise subtle colors complemented by a bright hue, like blue candy (+609%), or a juicy set of colors that reconsider the meaning of delicate. Blow off the dust from these traditional hues and don’t be afraid to up to the ante.