Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends Report reveals a retro revival

A treasure trove of bright colours, cartoon faces, and fancy animal patterns; these are just some of the highlights from the eighth annual Shutterstock Creative Trends Report.

The stock photography company continues to give us the lowdown with what’s ahead for 2019. They’ve analyzed data across billions of its searches and downloads, made within Shutterstock’s around 225 million graphics by users worldwide, to determine trends across advertising, media, fashion, and more.

This year’s Creative Trends Report highlights 11 design styles — many of which pay homage to the retro era. However, 3 major trends that stand out:

  • Zine Culture
  • 80s Opulence
  • Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Zine Culture is based on raw, DIY aesthetic comprises collages, paper cutouts, noise, grain textures, and rough-edged layers. It’s been making headway with a significant increase in online searches.

80s Opulence, on the other hand, revives gold chains and animal prints in line with many nostalgic revivals of 2018.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow is a mash of old-school video games, brash neon and other vintage elements.

See the creative trends below and read more about them here

Infographic: Shutterstock Creative Trends Report

Shutterstock Creative Trends

Major Trends

Go retro: based on year-over-year search increases, the top trends echo the past in a playful way.

Zine Culture: The raw, homemade aesthetic gets a digital upgrade.

  • Contemporary art collages: +1376%

80s Opulence: Gold chains, animal print, and attitude… Forget about good taste, this is about good times.

  • Elegance pattern: +1060%
  • Chain print: +731%
  • Leopard print pattern: +168%
  • Snakeskin pattern: +157%

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Think old school video games, brash neon, and futuristic landscapes.

  • Synthwave: +717%
  • Retrowave: +676%
  • Duotone: +230%

Rising Trends

Some of 2019’s rising trends are a rhapsody of beauty and joy made for escapism, while others put reality into sharp focus. From unique illustrations to urgent issues, see what will make an impact this year.

Beyond Plastic: Gaining global attention, this trend is a reminder that the choices we make matter.

  • Hemp: +759%
  • Plastic free: +729%
  • Bamboo toothbrush: +656%

Kawaii: The Japanese culture of cuteness is about to go mainstream.

  • Kawaii: +911%
  • Cute illustration: +182%

Kalamkari: Discover the ancient intricate art of Indian painting and printmaking.

  • Ceramic decors: +974%
  • Kalamkari: +160%

Rococo Romance: Embrace maximalism with rich patterns, Old World paintings, and dramatic flourishes.

  • Design vintage romantic: +1296%
  • Damask: +1227%

Prism: Explore the rainbow with this optimistic style with a 3D feel.

  • Disco lights: +7923%
  • Rainbow geometric: +434%

Hypnotic: Lose yourself in these swirling patterns and eye-catching designs.

  • Poly art: +844%
  • Hypnotic: +741%
  • Kaleidoscope: +513%

Everyday Futurism: A celebration of the technological advances that are redefining our lives.

  • eSports: +1679%
  • Face ID: +1414%
  • RPA: +923%

One to watch

Tempting Typography: Get ready to indulge. This sweet style is the cherry on top of the Creative Trends Report.

  • Icing letters: +8389%

Global Trends

  • Argentina: Fish patterns
  • Australia: Elephants
  • Brazil: Vintage Romantic
  • Canada: Ice Cream Pattern
  • Egypt: Fabric Painting
  • France: Motorcycle
  • Germany: World Tourism
  • India: Peacock
  • Italy: Watermelon
  • Japan: Superhero
  • Korea: Retro Neon
  • Malaysia: Magnolia
  • Mexico: Fragment Illustration
  • Poland: Velociraptor
  • Russia: Gold Animal
  • South Africa: Black and White Vortex
  • Spain: Chess Pattern
  • Turkey: Geometric Watercolour
  • United Kingdom: Intelligent Space
  • United States: Colourful Cartoon Art


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