2019's Visual Trends (according to stock libraries)


We look at the predictions from Adobe, iStock, Shutterstock and more on the visual trends that may be coming your way in 2019.

It's that time of year again as stock image companies begin to share their forecasts for visual trends in the oncoming year. While we at Digital Arts prefer to wait until the New Year to discuss predictions with the industry instead of asking while the mad pre-Christmas rush unwhirls around them, we're always keen to see what the photo libraries come out with as they almost simultaneously make the same announcements during the same period.

It pays to be cynical as companies like DepositPhotos, Adobe Stock and Getty/iStock are obviously looking to get you to replace/grow your current library by buying more 'on-trend' images, but they do also hit the mark in terms of what consumers are naturally gravitating towards to. You may have already seen some of the predictions below slowly creeping into the picture, like those pertaining to social activism, and perhaps you're already using some of Shutterstock's hotly tipped colours in your work (or have been asked to). If so, let us know in the comments or on social media as we're always eager to hear straight from the horse's mouth.

Without further ado, we present you the future (or four versions of it anyway).

Photography in 2019

Classical-infused images


Last year's trend of art history informing the photography of today is predicted by DepositPhotos to continue, who reference the Baroque-like work of American photographer Christy Lee. All her photos like the one above centre on underwater subjects, their fragility exposed, so expect to see more models posed like classical figures in the ornate, emotional style of the Baroque. This is a neat continuation also of a recent Gucci campaign steeped in Pre-Raphaelite imagery that was honoured by the London Design Museum.

Getty is meanwhile predicting a similar trend extending to still life photography, mainly of food, with something being called 'Dark table mood' photography on social media. These are photos which feature tablescapes and fruit shot with chiaroscuro lighting, in a style evocative of still life from 17th century Dutch masters like Willem Kalf.

Getty has been showcasing tablescapes on its blog (above).

Finding stock in nature


Both Adobe Stock and Getty/iStock are instead predicting an abundance of nature in 2019's viewfinder, as brought on by concerns with rising temperatures and an overabundance of technology in our lives. Images like the one above explore our place in nature, finding solace and stock amongst the grandeur of the natural world.

iStock breask this down even further, elaborating on its trend-tracking Creative Insights page about 'Plant Ladies' and 'Boys in Bloom.' (below). These two trends reflect how gardening is now a common millennial pastime, with women kicking back with their plants tipped to replace current Instagrams of them cosying down with their pets. Of course, what's becoming popular on social media will eventually be co-opted by advertisers.

The male equivalent of this trend is more related to fashion editorial, and is a further reconstruction of male identity in the 21st century through the use of floral ornaments. This of course follows on from the fluidity of gender that's been so prevalent visually in the last few years.

Colour Trends in 2019

Shutterstock's colour trend forecast for 2019 is more digital tech/neon urban focused in its highlighting of UFO Green, Plastic Pink and Proton Purple as the ones to watch next year. The UFO Green swatch is the closest to Mother Earth's tones, evoking 'lush countrysides alongside whirling rows of binary code' according to Shutterstock's, err, flowery and purple prose.

Trending colours in a global sense are more in-keeping with the natural photography trend, with Brazil and Korea going for a deep foliage green, Japan liking the look of lavender, and the US having a growing penchant for a lime shade straight out of the Florida wetlands.

Adobe has partnered with Pantone to create an image library (examples below) that reflects the colour and ink company's choice for Pantone Colour of the Year 2019, Living Coral.

Branding in 2019


The pink and purple tones we saw in Shutterstock's crystal ball tally with DepositPhotos' tip that the 1990s are back in fashion, website design and marketing. We have to agree, after seeing the very purple branded Sneaks event at this year's Adobe MAX conference, which was soundtracked by '90s genres like new jack swing and decorated on the big screen with illustrations of gawdy old school trainers and school stationery. Adidas got in on the same nostalgia with their very Internet 1.0 website for the 2018 Yung range. Colourful, loud and plastic was the '90s aesthetic, and it seems that's coming back our way in 2019.

Conversely, DepositPhotos also argues the very forward thinking and current sense of social outrage will get bigger next year, in what Adobe is calling 'disruptive expression.'


We've already seen Super Bowl ads in recent years tackle issues like clean water deprivation (Stella Artois) and racism (Airbnb) instead of aiming to be mere 'watercooler moments', but next year expect to see brands borrow more the visual language of protest for shop windows and clothing lines - hopefully with more tact than Lush UK did this year with their awfully misjudged campaign against undercover police officers.

Digital Arts will be keeping track of next year's trend forecasts as we head towards 2019, with expert insights going well beyond the stock giants coming your way.


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