Blog Home Design Design Inspiration Infographic: Explore Shutterstock’s Global Creative Trends That Will Shape 2017

Stay one step ahead with Shutterstock’s Creative Trends infographic, our look at the styles and trends that will dominate 2017. With information gathered from billions of searches, plus expert knowledge from our design, video, and music teams, we show what’s on the rise around the world.

This year’s trends reflect a contrast – between the real world and our digital lives, between nature and tech, and between the past and the future. As technology creates a new world around us, we seek comfort in familiar symbols and natural styles. But the thrill – and uncertainty – of the digital age remains a driving force behind the trends shaping 2017.

Learn about the trends below, then view the entire interactive 2017 Creative Trends Infographic.

Global Trends

Pictured: [1] White Texture [2] Emojis [3] Halftone [4] Head-up Display

Our global trends feature a mix of the old and the new, the natural and the technological. Up 482%, white texture is the embodiment of minimalism, offering a clean yet bold backdrop to any design. Emojis, conversely, communicate loud and clear. First appearing in our 2015 infographic, the trend continues to grow as we realize its potential as a universal language that transcends borders (and messaging apps). While emojis look to a future influenced by social media, halftone is built on a wistful reemergence of old media – newsprint and analog TV. Finally, head-up display (HUD) captures the sleek designs associated with future tech and the growing role of digital dashboards in our everyday life.

Cultural Trends

These trends follow a timeline, tracing our cultural explorations to past, present, and future themes.

The past contains those cultural relics that we obsess over, like Star Wars, Pokémon, and the funky stylings of Memphis design. As present and future prospects remain uncertain, we look for ways to revisit and reinvent familiar themes, seizing warm feelings of nostalgia along the way.

In the present we hold on to the moment, discovering complexities in ourselves and the people around us through reflection, mindfulness, and the individual shapes of spirituality.

One step ahead is the future, where the trends communicate technological ambition and the role of humanity in all of it. VR shows our desire to explore new realms of tech, but cybersecurity shows another side, capturing our growing concerns around privacy. Ephemeral internet speaks to the emerging trend of disappearing content, spearheaded by Snapchat, while the 4th Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, speaks to the wave of automation and its imminence in our economy and everyday lives.

Design Trends


The contrast between real and digital continues in our Design Trends, with natural looks offsetting tech-driven styles.

Organic & Tropical

The natural design trends include tropical and organic, posing nature as a lush escape or authentic and raw. Tropical designs explore lavish colors, king size leaves, and loud patterns, turning displays into destinations. Organic designs go au naturale, celebrating the rough-hewn look of wood, marble, or blossoms in their truest state.

Pictured: [1] Organic [2] Organic [3] Tropical [4] Tropical

Glitch & Laser Cutting

On the opposite end are the exact, sharp-edged compositions of tech-driven design. Laser cut defines the stenciled lines only possible of a machine, bringing precision to intricate designs. Glitch conveys a dystopian feel, taking data-bending to graphic heights and illustrating the colorful imperfections of the digital age.

Pictured: [1] Glitch [2] Glitch [3] Laser Cutting [4] Laser Cutting

Visual Trends Around the World

A global lens lets us explore specific countries and cultures to see what trends are emerging across the world. Interesting parallels, like Girl Power in Brazil and Women’s Day in Vietnam show the broad appeal of certain ideals. Some countries dove into their own culture, like South Korea, Germany, and Malaysia, while others explored artifacts with roots in other countries, like the US and Australia.

Video Trends

This year’s video trends, chosen by our experts, reflect the changing nature of the workplace, technology that transports us, and the need to get away from it all. Immersive tech, reflected throughout this report, shows the stylistic transformation of footage as digital elements come into play. The rise of the mobile office sees the use of technology in every corner of the world, while wanderlust captures our thirst for adventure and a pivot towards experience-based consumerism. Finally, top view changes the angle to show us how things are made, altering the landscape for instructional videos and more.

Music Trends

Our music trends build in tempo, following a successive beats per minute. Jazz, hip hop, and electronic elements combine to form chillhop, a smooth sound that reflects a cool and confident mood. Atmospheric tracks give us sweeping, ethereal melodies that serve as epic backdrops to intense footage. Then there’s high-octane music, built from big sounds and powerful riffs that are perfect for dynamic footage full of movement.

Social Trends

Pictured: [1] Extreme Weather [2] Splash of Warmth [3] Reflection [4] Muted Palette

We identify our social trends through our most liked Instagram images, and the Facebook photos with the highest share rates. This year nature ruled supreme. Haunting images of extreme weather events, from twisters to tsunamis, remind us that nature is beautiful for the very reason it is dangerous – it is out of our control. On the flip side are images of humans contemplating nature, seeking perspective in something greater than ourselves.

There are also trends on the color spectrum. Splashes of color stood out in otherwise quiet photos. White also played a starring role, with whole photos awash in a stark and stunning muted palette – the ultimate homage to minimalism.