Getty predicts visual trends for 2018, and reveals what images people are searching for

17 January 2018

Paul Bence / Getty Images: Masculinity Undone

Getty has released its annual forecast of visual trends “set to inform and influence visual communication” in 2018. Divided into three categories, titled Masculinity Undone, Second Renaissance and Conceptual Realism, the predicted trends from the stock photo agency shine a light on the changes in visual culture. Its global search data, released alongside the trend report, also shows shifts in the popularity and prevalence of types of imagery. For example searches for “diversity” and “inclusion” are up a whopping 917% in the past year.

The trends are based on research by Getty Images into its own data, revealing the patterns of 1 billion customer searches and 400 million downloads from its site each year. The first trend, Masculinity Undone, shows “growing awareness that stereotypes for representing men are extremely outdated,” says Getty. The prediction for an increased awareness of the subject also reflects recent changes to Advertising Standards Authority rules which bans gender stereotyping. Getty Images’ data shows an increase of 53% in customer searches for for “gay dads”, and a 60% rise in searches for “single father”.

Second Renaissance refers to a surge in portrait photography that references art history, with subdued colour palettes and luxurious fabrics that resemble paintings. Interestintly Getty says this is driven in large part by “BAME creators looking for a more positive, culturally rich visual narrative through the subversion of classic art techniques”. Searches for “luxury abstract” are up 186% and “vintage portrait” by 94%.

Meanwhile Conceptual Realism represents the increase in surrealist subject matter in a realist style. Getty attributes this to a post social media culture, which goes against “authentic and real” imagery in an attempt to create something unexpected.

The agency’s global image search data also shows that searches for “LGBTQ” have gone up 809%, and “multi-ethnic family” as a search term has increased in popularity by 385%. Tellingly, searches for “emotional stress” are up 263%, “emotional abuse” by 110%, and “mental health awareness” by 258%.


Stephanie Nnamani / Getty Images: Second Renaissance


Getty Images: Conceptual Realism

Share Article

About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny (she/her) is online editor of It’s Nice That, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. She was previously news editor for five years. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.