4 huge visual trends for 2019

Adobe Stock has announced the visual trends it's forecasting for 2019. It's no surprise that these trends are closely linked to some of the social and political themes we've seen this year, such as an increasing appreciation for nature, activism and an ethical conscience when it comes to brands.

These trends were curated by Adobe Stock, which looked at areas such as fashion, art and business to discover the emerging visuals that will be taking a more central role in 2019. The report (opens in new tab) outlines four visual trends we can expect to see a lot more of next year and beyond, so don't be surprised if you see them crop up on your next mood board (opens in new tab).

For more predictions of what to expect in the design industries in 2019, take a look at our post on the trends headed your way in illustration (opens in new tab),  typography (opens in new tab), web design (opens in new tab) and graphic design (opens in new tab)

01. Natural instincts

woman in sea Adobe Stock

In our digital world, people are longing to connect with nature

As we spend more and more of our days online or staring at a screen, people are feeling further and further away from nature. This trend sees creatives being drawn into the natural world, and using it as their inspiration. 

Consumers are also increasingly tuned in to nature, with nearly half of US consumers looking for natural ingredients in products (opens in new tab). Consumers are now also looking for products that are ethical, sustainable and transparent: with "clean beauty" the fastest growing section of the wellness and beauty industry (opens in new tab)

The other growing area is "spirituality", with brands looking to satisfy consumer's spiritual needs.

Of course, what consumers are looking for affects what brands seek to deliver, and brands all around the globe will continue to look to the natural world to engage their customers. In terms of visuals, expect to see "aspirational images with natural elements and celebrations of physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness." That means yoga poses on top of a mountain are still very much in.

02. Creative democracy

woman with skateboard Adobe Stock

Bright colours and "unstudied images" make up this visual trend

The ubiquity of mobile means that it's no longer just creatives who are shaping our visual worlds. According to the report, 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram, and people watch 100 million hours of content on Facebook every single day.

Brands are tapping into this trend by capitalising on user-generated content, for example, furniture companies such as Wayfair are inviting customers to post images of their new furniture.

"Diversity rules in Creative Democracy, both in front of the lens and behind it," says the report. "Visually, creative democracy is all about unstudied images, bright colours, diverse subjects and video that moves people."

03. Disruptive expression

woman making peace sign - Adobe Stock

Brands are borrowing the visual language of protest to create powerful visuals

According to Adobe's report, "People are ready to have their voices heard." And Brands are harnessing this by borrowing the visual language of protest for shop windows (opens in new tab) and clothing lines (opens in new tab).

This new form of self-expression isn't necessarily about politics, and the visuals surrounding it are inclusive, unapologetic and eye-catching. "The images range from haunting and hypnotising, like luxury fashion house Balenciaga’s jaw-droppingly bendable models (opens in new tab), to shiny and playful, like the boom of Instagram posts bedazzled with the KiraKira app (opens in new tab)," says the report.

Expect powerful and intense images that cover a wide range of identities and experiences. 

04. Brand stand

crushed cans Adobe Stock

Good-looking branding is no longer enough – consumers expect their brands to be ethical too

These days, branding isn't just about products. Gen Z and millennials in particular are loyal to brands that have "stated values and a commitment to transparency." This means that brands need to incorporate the brand values into their messaging, and communicate this appropriately. 

"Other brands are helping consumers become more ethically aware themselves," says the report. "The innovative financial firm Aspiration (opens in new tab), for example, created a program to help consumers match their day-to-day spending to their ethical beliefs."

What does this mean for visual trends? We'll be seeing more powerful images of popular causes and issues, and these images are likely to have a big impact.

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Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where her blogging prowess led her to become Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on art and design magazines, including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw, and got the 'Apple bug' when working on US title, Mac|Life. In 2018, she left the world of print behind and moved to Creative Bloq, where she helps take care of the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach through trying to please the Google Gods, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure its content serves its readers as best it can. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.