In a world where it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell what's real and what's fake any more, how are you supposed to illustrate brands and products in a way that connects with your audience? Face the facts: authenticity is overrated, as iStock by Getty Images has identified with this new visual trend for the very opposite.(opens in new tab)
Magazines, adverts and cinema have always presented us with an idealised version of reality, from airbrushed cover models to serving suggestions that look nothing like what ends up on your plate. And despite the old adage about the truthfulness of cameras, the best photographers have always known the tricks for making the camera lie like a snake oil salesman.(opens in new tab)
Now, though, it's harder than ever to tell what's for real. The rise of Photoshop means that we can never take photographs at face value, and with AI-powered technology becoming increasingly powerful, you can't even be sure that videos or audio recordings are the real deal. Social media bots and the 'fake news' phenomenon have ramped up our cynicism about any reporting we see. The world's in a mess and who's to say what's real and what's fake?
As Hunter S. Thompson once said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. And with things as weird as they are right now, the only sensible option is to reject dull authenticity and inject a little weirdness into your visual palette. It's an attitude that's cropped up over and over again in times of turmoil, from artistic movements such as Surrealism, Dada and Cubism, through to more social movements such as Psychedelia, New Romanticism and even Acid House; people pushing back against the status quo with new ideas, new visual language and new sounds.
This notion's key to the current trend for eye-catching anti-authenticity, whether it's in stock photography, illustration or graphic design, and it's something you can find in abundance at iStock by Getty Images (opens in new tab). Rather than opt for the safe and comforting fake reality that's so often brought in to signal authority and reliability, creative expression has recently been leaning in more playful and dream-like directions, mixing up retro stylings and futuristic invention to create a dazzling new super-saturated aesthetic.(opens in new tab)
You can see it everywhere from music videos to Instagram feeds through to films such as Boots Riley's surrealistic 'Sorry to Bother You' or anything by Wes Anderson. It's also visible in the latest illustration trends (opens in new tab), which see creatives rejecting faithful representations of the world in favour of retro wave palettes, liquid effects, sparkling metallics and juddering glitches.
The only rules seem to be to avoid the mundane, relatable and the commonplace, and to instead embrace fantasy (opens in new tab), nostalgia (opens in new tab), dreams (opens in new tab) and surrealism (opens in new tab), crazy colour schemes and challenging compositions. Inspire, amaze and unsettle; provoke a reaction rather than go down the safe route with a tried and tested campaign.(opens in new tab)
Whether you're creating imagery or searching for stock visuals that'll provide you with a look that transcends reality and transports the viewer away from the everyday, if only for a moment, this trend for anti-authenticity is one to watch out for. Go for those clashing palettes that you'd normally avoid, bring in unnatural poses and anachronistic props, raid the dressing-up box and create whole new worlds that people have never seen before. Make it weird, make it fantastic and make it exciting.(opens in new tab)
You can find all manner of strange and unusual imagery to spark the imagination at iStock by Getty Images (opens in new tab). Get 15% off annual subscriptions by using the code ANNUAL15, or get 10% off credit packs with ISTOCK10 until Sept 30 2019.