10 Predictions for Imagery in 2014

Rebecca Swift By Rebecca Swift  |  Dec. 19, 2013

As a part of my role at iStock by Getty Images, I run global research projects that involve monitoring visual trends to help us stay one step ahead in sourcing fresh, relevant content for our customers, and serve as a resource for creatives who seek to stay on top of the latest trends.

Reflecting on our latest research, we anticipate the following trends will take off in 2014:

1) 2014 will be the year of lens flare

It is everywhere — movies, TV shows, fashion and advertising. What was previously perceived as a technical error is now a visual representation of the moment.

2) Accumulated experience over accumulated possessions

Rather than aspiring to own flashy cars and the latest flat screen TVs, we value travel, special days out and learning new skills. This is reflected in the shift towards imagery that represents “doing” rather than “owning”. 

3) Diverse women

The rise of realistic perceptions of women in fashion and beauty advertising is an ongoing trend that is not going to disappear in 2014. The diversity of women will be increasingly represented through the portrayal of many different factors; from age and ethnicity, to lifestyle choices and business power.

4) Edible inspiration

Instagram and its ilk have turned food photography on its head. Pictures of overly stylized food look both inedible and untrustworthy – in friends’ snaps we trust. Expect to see restaurants, cafes, food manufacturers and recipe books adopt this more authentic aesthetic in the coming year.

5) Collaboration will be a key concept for 2014

We anticipate brands making more of working together, joining forces and collaborating with their customer base (crowdsourcing). Sharing creativity will be massive.

6) Man and machine are going to meld

When information communication technologies were first invented, there was a fear that AI would take over, and machines would become human. Conversely, today the fear is that humans are becoming machine-like: data driven, less emotionally involved, less able to connect on a personal level. We expect to see the relationship between man and machine visualized in 2014 via imagery representing bionics or bio-robotics.

7) Short yet sweet

One of the biggest social media trends in the next 12 months will be 5-7 second storytelling. Clickable videos, Vine, animated Gifs — all use small pieces of moving media to capture attention and tell a story quickly, but effectively.

8) Voyeurism will be everywhere

Not in a creepy way, but in the sense of observing without intruding, whether through the use of the latest “capture” technology (wearable, nano or drone) or viewing people’s worlds without disrupting the intimacy. Voyeurism is the rejection of all things constructed and stylised.

9) Supernatural forces will prevail

In recent years there has been a fascination with the idea of the supernatural, of creatures of fantasy living amongst us. Vampires, werewolves and witches will continue to be well represented in TV schedules and movie releases in 2014.

10) Ethnicity in advertising

The next year will see a broadening of the ethnic mix of models featured in advertising.


What trends do you think will carry over from 2013 into 2014? What new trends do you anticipate next year? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image/thumbnail, predictions image via brookpeterson.