With 2018 fast approaching, the team at Adobe Stock is looking ahead. Adobe has been tracking the visual conversation around the world, from shows and galleries to brand campaigns and its own stock collection, to put together a list of what it believes will be the biggest image trends to watch in the coming year.

The Fluid Self

The Fluid Self

The very idea of identity is shifting, and artists are working to represent the new ways we understand ourselves. “Identity is so much less permanent and stable than it used to be,” explains Brenda Milis, Principal of Creative Services and Visual Trends at Adobe.

“Just consider the fact that Facebook has 71 gender options now. There are endless permutations of individual identity. A few years ago, people were talking about race or ethnicity, then body type, abilities, and age. Now we’re looking at the fluid self—identity as a vast and ever-changing range of ideas that should all be celebrated.”

Multilocalism

Multilocalism

Travel and technology are making the world a smaller place, turning us into one interconnected, global village.

People are prioritising exploration and experiences over material possessions, blurring the lines between business and adventure when they travel for work, and exposing a yearning for authentic experiences.

Brands are trying to keep up, hoping to reach customers as both local and global citizens. As we consider this trend, we’ll explore how artists and brands are embracing a mosaic of cultural experiences, and addressing consumers’ deepening global consciousness.

Creative Reality

Creative Reality

Unsettled moments always leave their mark on the art world. “We’re living in a time when there’s so much uncertainty, so much is in flux. Many people are becoming politically active, but there’s also a type of creativity that envisions escape,” Mills says.

“We’re seeing idealised, alternate worlds—they’re lush, tropical, almost utopic. There’s a reverence for the natural world, but with an intensity, an almost psychedelic twist. These artists are asking us to consider what is beautiful, and what is alive.”

History and Memory

History and Memory

In uncertain times, we look to the past for grounding and meaning. We’re watching as a growing group of artists and brands draw inspiration from classic art, work to preserve and celebrate what’s precious from the past, and build bridges between old-world techniques and new world technologies.

Touch and Tactility

Touch and Tactility

Our days are increasingly shaped by screens and devices rather than real-world, tactile interactions. “To make up for this loss, we’re seeing an incredible push from artists toward literal connection, actual touch, and being in the same room with someone,” says Brenda.

“It’s everywhere—think of the trend toward woven sneakers. It’s an invitation for a sensory experience. People are responding to anything that has to do with direct touch.

“In the visual world, it’s all about showing connections, whether it’s through images with richer textures, or people looking directly into the camera to establish a bold, personal moment with the viewer.”

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