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[REPORT] Shutterstock’s 2020 Key Design Trends

"Roaring 20s" Bang On Trend For 2020

Need ideas for jazzing up your Facebook ads or email hero images? Look no further than Shutterstock’s latest creative trends report.

Shutterstock’s ninth annual Creative Trends Report identifies global and local trends that will influence design aesthetics and visual culture in 2020.

The data-led report is an annual guide to what’s going to trend in 2020, based on image, video, and music searches from more than 1.9 million Shutterstock customers around the world.

Lou Weiss, CMO at Shutterstock

“The analysis, which is grounded in data from billions of keyword searches made by marketers, social media managers, video producers and designers, provides a glimpse into the creative trends that we expect to engage consumers on a much bigger scale.”

With around 300 million images and 16 million video clips, Shutterstock’s well placed to play Simon Cowell to the emerging trends which will influence design and creative this year.

Shutterstock’s Three Major Creative Trends For 2020

The Roaring 2020s

A century after the loud and lavish 1920s, the look that defined an era is back and on the centre stage globally in 2020.

Searches for “gold pattern” are up 4223% year-over-year, ‘‘20s retro” saw an increase of 189%, while linear geometric was up 106% from the previous year.

Shutterstock expects the coming year to include a decidedly retro twist. Ornate geometric shapes, elegant colour palettes, and Art Deco elements are on the rise, reflecting the hallmarks of a bygone era.

The report suggests exploring the coastal influence of Miami Art Deco for a twist on this iconic style.


Alternative faiths and age-old beliefs are enchanting Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, showing renewed interest in mainstream channels and on social media networks in particular.

Customers are searching for keywords like “magic” and “spiritual” an impressive 525% and 289% more respectively over last year. “Horoscopes” are up 37% while “palm reading” has seen a 22% lift year on year.

Occulture includes astrology, alchemy, palmistry, and other spiritual pursuits, with motifs ranging from the cosmic to the demonic.

In Full Bloom

Forget elegant arrangements and delicate displays. The floral visuals of tomorrow are big, bright and in full bloom.

The 141% surge in searches for “flowerscape” and 136% uptick for “bloom” make this a vivid trend for the year ahead.    

Photography with bold still life and footage of vivid flowerscapes is thriving, while typography teeming with plant life continues to grow in popularity.

Shutterstock's 2019 creative trends report was all about Bright Colours, Cartoon Faces, & Jazzy Animal Patterns. The report named the top three trends for 2019 as 'Zine Culture, '80s Opulence' and 'Yesterday's tomorrow'.

Niche and Emerging Design Trends

In addition to the three major trends, the report outlines local favourites in 25 countries around the world, as well as five rising trends that promise to gain traction in 2020.

Rising trends range from design mainstays like “minimalistic black” and traditional arts including “Chinese ink painting” to elegant photography and modernised visuals such as “wild life” and sports photography.

The annual report analyses data gathered over 12 months from billions of customer searches for images, footage, and music content.

The data combined with analysis from Shutterstock’s internal visual intelligence panel pinpoint patterns and styles that have the potential to stand out. As themes emerge, the panel confers to determine the trends they expect to command creative projects in 2020.

According to Shutterstock’s painful, interactive, trend widget, Australia’s main trending keywords are “Celtic cultures” and “Decorated cakes”, while it’s main trending colour is magenta or fuschia. Or, for the more technically minded, it’s #ff00ff.

Annoyingly, NZ data hasn’t been featured. But, at least it’s on the interactive map. Every cloud…

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