11 Hot Creative Trends Influencing Art and Design This Year

Krista Gray

Trends come and go, and while they aren’t all for everyone, knowing what’s popular with people can help you stay relevant. Whether you plan to rock some stylish spring #OOTDs, are looking to spruce up your home decor game, or just need to know what’s up for work purposes, Shutterstock’s latest report — which features 11 creativity and design trends to watch this year — is sure to serve as a source of ultra-valuable intel. Read on for the breakdown.

the Top 3 Creative Trends to Know This Year

A mysterious black cabin sits in a field of flowers
A mysterious black cabin sits in a field of flowers

“This year’s report highlights some of the biggest year-over-year increases in Creative Trends history,” highlights curator Robin Lange from the Shutterstock team. “The strong data points to a few distinct trends and major increases in very specific themes.”

1. Fantasy: According to Shutterstock, search for recognizable fantasy characters is up in a huge way. Find it hard to believe? Consider that quite a few of our faves — like unicorns (up 297 percent) and mermaids (up 145 percent) — belong in this bucket.

2. New Minimalism: From clean white walls to a “less is more” type of mentality, minimalism has evolved to suit modern times. Shutterstock shows that searches for “continuous line” increased by an impressive 432 percent, while the term “neon circle” was looked for 387 percent more. Pop of color, anyone?

3. Space: “The creative world is taking note of box office hits with an emphasis on space,” confirms the team at Shutterstock. To prove the point, data shows that solar searches have risen 991 percent, while interest in all things astro appears 671 percent more than it did last year. When it comes to sound, sci-fi-influenced synthwave has risen in popularity too. (Talk about a trend that’s literally out of this world!)

8 More Creative Trends to Get on Your Radar

Cherry blossoms in a waffle cone on a pastel pink and green background
Cherry blossoms in a waffle cone on a pastel pink and green background

1. Punchy Pastels: Pops of color can brighten up any drab design. Hues like bright blue and candy colors rule while helping redefine the meaning of delicate. Put one of these popular palettes to use to help give a space or look some punch.

2. Natural Luxury: Feel like you’ve been seeing tons of cool bohemian stuff lately? It’s not your imagination. The Shutterstock report shows a real rise in the popularity of new age aesthetics, plus a big uptick in styles that incorporate marble and agate. “These add luxe effects that can be subtle or dramatic,” the team notes.

3. Global March: It’s been about a century since the first big push for women’s suffrage around the globe, and this year has shown the continued rise of women with movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up. According to Shutterstock, searches for International Women’s Day are up 660 percent, while activism saw an increase of 540 percent. Awesome!

4. Digital Crafts: “Traditional paper- and fabric-centric crafts, like embroidery and paper art, have found new life in a new era,” the Shutterstock team reports. But who’s really surprised? We know first-hand how far texture and whimsy can go on the web, even when limited by pixels and digital screens.

A closeup view of a blue agave plant
A closeup view of a blue agave plant

5. Cactus: Trending jungalows and dreamy, desert-inspired destinations have popped up everywhere on Instagram in recent months, while wallpapers and prints further prove the cactus’s increasing popularity. Online searches show the same interest in the spiky plant’s new age tendencies for health and healing — searches are up a significant 261 percent.

6. Ancient Geometrics: Everything old can be new again, and a fascination with ancient geometrics has crept up in searches. Specifically, it’s the term “arabesque” — up a whopping 8,536 percent, it stood out as the most popular term for the entire year. Guilloche (an architectural ornamentation that looks like braided ribbons) and mandalas (a spiritual and ritual symbol) also prove to be popular as they show big search spikes. “It’s clear that ancient geometrics are universally loved,” agrees Lange; “their symmetry makes for a perfect backdrop, but it’s their ancient mystical nature that makes them such compelling design elements.”

7. Cryptocurrency: Searches for cryptocurrency are up a huge 1,264 percent as outlets continue to address the public’s curiosity about Bitcoin, Ripple, and other new intangible currencies. Looks like crypto-based convos aren’t likely to slow down anytime soon.

holographic paper
holographic paper

8. Holographic Foil: “This is one to watch!” the Shutterstock team promises. “Up 435 percent in searches, a holograph’s chameleon palette of shimmering colors works on so many levels: As a high or low culture, as old or new, as playful or serious — and it’s always beautiful in an application.”

Which creative trends excite you the most? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)

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