7 ways images are changing in 2015

iStock's Rebecca Swift gives her take on the way imagery is changing, and how designers can take advantage of these evolving trends.

This year marks 15 years of iStock by Getty Images, which was founded from an idea to trade spare images from photo shoots among designers online for free.

Now with the evolution of social media, crowd-sourced content has evolved to become an integral component of visual communication.

To mark the company’s 15th anniversary Rebecca Swift, director of creative planning at iStock by Getty Images, gives her key visual trends designers need to know about...

01. They're more mobile-friendly

Facebook recently announced that since June 2014, Facebook video has averaged 1 billion views a day with over 65% of the views worldwide happening on mobile. So you absolutely have to consider how your design is going to look on a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets are now featuring higher resolution screens, making the image used, and its quality, even more important.

02. Big, bold imagery is coming to the fore

Designers are making images the centre of their communications: placing emphasis on bold images, rather than busy designs with lots of text.

Katherine Burkhart's photo was shared 2.5 million times just an hour after it was posted

The most shared images are ones that are simple. For example, one of the most shared images of the year on social media is this photo of one man with a drink (above).

The image was originally posted on Facebook by New Yorker Katherine Burkhart. Within an hour, it had 4 million likes and 2.5 million shares. By the end of the day, it had over 970 million likes and 273 million shares.

03. They're representing women better

The Lean In Collection is devoted to the powerful depiction of women

At iStock by Getty Images we have seen a growing demand for visuals of women with diverse careers, lifestyles, loves and looks. The Lean In Collection that Getty Images launched in partnership with LeanIn.org features over 2,500 images of female leadership in contemporary work and life, with an aim to show people powerful images of women, rather than the old-fashioned images we often see of women in the media.

04. They're reflecting diversity better

Tiffany & Co made headlines by featuring a same-sex couple in its campaign

Celebrating diversity is a countertrend to the volume of images we see that represent a similar type of person again and again. An example of this is Valentine’s Day, which usually sees stereotypical visuals of love.

Tiffany & Co., recently made headlines with its campaign featuring seven real-life couples who all popped the question, including a same-sex couple. Increasingly love is represented as a universal feeling that transcends communities, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations.

05. They're often awe-inspiring

This Emirates campaign pushes the idea of the journey being as important as the destination

Visuals that fall into this category are often awe inspiring and show the expansive scale of our world, for example images of mountain ranges and forests. Emirates' 'Don’t Let The World Pass You By' adverts, include visuals of the sky with a local landmark making up a small part of the image, again to show the 'Wonderlust' experience is part of the journey as well as the final destination.

06. They're increasingly experiential

Devices like the GoPro are bringing action photography into the mainstream

Technology like GoPro makes action video (or images) shot from human eye level possible, creating a sense of realism as well as a first person experience. This lends itself to the trend towards an intimate view that helps to put the viewer in the position of the photographer or film-maker.

07. They're being shared more and more

Curation and sharing will become an even bigger part of a designers work process. In today’s always-on global economy, media and creative professionals collaborate with peers and clients who are just as likely to be across the world as across the office, and tools need to be developed and used to make this process easier.

Words: Rebecca Swift

Rebecca Swift is director of creative planning at iStock by Getty Images. She has previously worked at University of Central Lancashire and Save the Children.

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