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The 5 Biggest Visual Trends in 2014

It was never good measure to blindly follow trends but it is never too bad to check them out and know about them every now and then. It follows that old adage that says “in order to break the rules, you should know them first”.

But it is always not hard to work out the latest visual trends especially in this broken-up and fragmented world we live in. One good example is with regards to the fact that what may be trending in one part of the world may be non-existent on the other side. This becomes a problem when design requirements should appeal to an international audience instead of a specific geographic location.

How can you possibly do it?

Well, if you have one of the biggest images repository websites in the world with over 350 million downloads then I guess you can do it. This is what Shutterstock did and it showed some pretty interesting patterns.

Flat design

Flat designs are making a comeback after a short stint by skeumorphism. If you have no idea what skeumorphism then don’t worry you are not alone. A skeumorph is a design element in a recreated object that was structurally important in the original but no longer necessary. A good example of this would be the rivets in your jeans or the cuffs on your jacket that won’t undo. They are basically useless but are retained because we are used to have them there. This change is brought about by changes in software and app design according to Shutterstock. They saw a 200% increase in downloads of flat design elements over the past year.

Filtered images

If you thought that Camera360 or Instagrammed pics were just a fad then you might be wrong. There was a 661% increase in the amount of searches for filtered images in 2013. This is brought about by the popularity of a good number of smartphone apps and retro cameras. Shutterstock does not see an end for this rise anytime soon.

3D printing

With the introduction to the public and multitude of discussion regarding 3D printing, it owns the top rank for largest year-on-year growth in image search along with BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. Shutterstock saw a rise in search for these terms by 625 per cent, 583 per cent and 407 per cent respectively. This means more and more people are getting interested in creating their “own” designs and the possibility of them manufacturing it themselves.


As it always does, video is still increasing in popularity as a medium among visual storytellers. This fresh take on video is brought about by new image capturing technology including 4k. Some popular content topics include transportation, 3D renderings, education, and cityscapes.

Real-life designs

May it be people or other subjects, real-life designs are increasing in demand. According to Shutterstock, authentic settings are getting up to 347% increase in demand among users. This growing trend just shows that more and more are desiring for stronger emotional connections in design.

It is amazing how design plays a big role in marketing. Take cue from these trends and make your marketing material stand out!

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