As 2017 gets underway we’ve been busy researching the visual trends that we think will define the year. Here are the 10 key visual concepts to look out for over the coming months.
1. Vivid Colours
Bold, bright colours and striking contrasts are predicted to be popular in 2017, including unusual and eye-catching colour partnerships.
We’ve seen a need for clean, crisp imagery over the past couple of years in book publishing and this looks set to go hand-in-hand with these colour trends.
Flowers, leaves and plant life of all kinds are very popular visual elements as we enter 2017.
These are not necessarily straight still-life shots, but may be more abstract uses of colour, shape and pattern. Flowers and plant motifs are frequently being used as borders and cut-outs as well as being primary elements within a design.
2016 was a turbulent year that exposed unsuspected levels of political and social division in the Western world. This is likely to be reflected in darker political fiction and nonfiction. We expect to see turmoil, upheaval and revolution as recurrent ideas alongside themes of corruption and the power of big business.
The power of hackers to expose secrets and influence events is also likely to be suggested and explored visually.
As a counterpoint to the Politics trend, we also expect to see the instability of 2016 prompt a search for comfort and reassurance in the past; ‘cosy crime’ and other nostalgic genres will probably enjoy a resurgence in popularity.
The 1950s has been a popular era to explore and we expect this to continue, with depictions of strong nuclear families as well as the Beatnik generation. We also expect to see more fiction set in the 1970s and 1980s.
5. Powerful & Heroic Females
2016 closed with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a huge success in cinemas, with Felicity Jones playing the lead character Jyn Erso. 2017 will also see the release of a new Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot in the title role; this will be the first feature film of the revived DC or Marvel franchises to centre on a female superhero.
Female-led action titles are likely to enjoy a higher profile this year, both inside and outside the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
6. In The Moment
Technology allows people to share their experiences as they happen; more than ever before, we can look back over our recent lives in vivid detail and with a sense of immediacy.
We foresee ever more demand for upbeat imagery that captures the essence of a moment or an emotion; images that suggest a life-changing event or a shared experience. Images suggesting a first-person perspective will also form part of this trend.
Our relationship with technology also has its more troubling side, with the power of fake news to twist our worldview and undermine trust, for example. Distorted imagery with a glitch aesthetic can be a way to visually represent these themes.
These images can also be employed effectively in the psychological thriller genre, which often plays on characters questioning their reality.
8. Real People
Something we often hear from designers in fiction publishing is the need for characters who – while appealing – are recognisable and grounded in reality.
Attractiveness will always be called for, but ‘attractive’ needn’t mean ‘flawless’. People’s differences and idiosyncrasies are being celebrated more than ever; geeks and misfits are now the mainstream, so individuality, quirkiness and a sense of fun will be in demand.
Spots, dots, points, fragments… We’re seeing a lot of designs playing with small individual details, used in repetition or forming patterns. They might be objects, natural forms, or just touches of light and colour.
There’s scope for a wide range of moods and concepts using these techniques, so we expect this trend to be explored further.
Photography can be used to create effects that look almost like graphic designs, by showing patterns or textures in close-up, as well as paper constructions and collages. There is an enduring trend for clean, abstract designs that can be easily adapted for copy space; this style of imagery supports this trend perfectly.
Featured Image: Lisa-Marie Kaspar AA1551933