With 2016 in high gear, now is an appropriate time to explore what’s hot for this year in the world of global design, music and social sharing.

After analyzing millions of image searches, downloads and other data, stock photo megasite Shutterstock released their yearly infographic (shown below) and interactive version to predict what’s trending in the creative world for 2016.

Like in previous years, they’ve compiled what’s hot in design around the world, as well as popular music tracks, video footage, and what’s being shared on social.  Check out the results and use them as guiding principles in future projects.

Global

The four concepts trending this year include Flat Lay, Boho, Metallics and Sacred Geometry. Flat Lay is especially hot on Instagram. The trend shows up all over recent stock photography, especially in food, fashion, and workspace photos. The minimalist style and clean edges blend well with the popular flay layouts prevalent in modern web design.

Visual Trends Around the World

Of the fourteen countries represented, the largest increase in trends are both in Asia, with gold up 1677% in South Korea and monkey increasing 1005% in Japan. According to the Chinese Zodiac this is the Year of the Monkey, so popularity will remain high through the year.

The largest trend in the United States is Data Science, up 356% from last year. More and more companies are collecting their own data and finding ways to represent it visually to strengthen their positions as industry leaders.

Cultural

This year’s dominant cultural trends are complete opposites. The ideas of “always on” vs. “unplugged” provide an interesting dichotomy as we struggle to balance having access to more information than ever and the need to get away from it all.

Within these two trends, Smart Watches and Wanderlust are the most popular, providing an even more detailed look in how we both connect with and disengage from the world.

In the Always On concept, new technology is the theme. Smart Watches lead the pack, with Drones, Virtual Reality and Mobile Payments coming in next. It’s clear that this concept explores the next big thing in the world of tech.

The only thing trendy on the Unplugged side is at the bottom of the list. Adult Coloring Books sits squarely in the number four spot, while broader topics including fitness and mindfulness inch closer to the top spot.

Design

The largest trends in design once again reflect our struggle to balance technology and disconnect, as material design and watercolor hold the top spots.

Material design was developed by Google and combines responsive design with grid layouts and minimalism to provide a sensory-rich experience in today’s web design.

Video

The one area where technology takes a back seat is in video. Instead of cool tech concepts and flashing lights, designers are inclined to use nature footage. Popular clips of water, fire and beaches will dominate this year’s creations.

Music

This year’s music trends continue to follow the pattern of last year, with optimistic happy tunes dominating the projects you’ll see in 2016.

Tracks characterized as bright, confident, happy and upbeat took the top spots in this year’s research.

These findings are no surprise. Who wants to buy a product from a company with a dreary soundtrack that reminds one of a funeral march?

Social

The two dominant themes of images shared on social are nature and people. Natural images with vibrant colors with high contrast and saturation top the list. After color in nature comes human scale, showing just how small humans are compared with the majesty of nature or large-scale human creations such as grand architecture.

Since attention spans are now proven to be shorter than that of a goldfish, design is no longer confined to a single medium. Websites are corporate organisms, constantly evolving and growing with the companies they represent.

Motion graphics, video and photography are standard on even the most simple websites, and come together to create a stunning display of technology and creativity.

No longer confined to a single discipline, designers are constantly pushing technology to the limit, creating works of art that amaze even the toughest critics. 2016 will continue to be a time when designers have to work harder to create responsive experiences that work well on the constantly evolving mobile devices we rely on more and more for internet.

shutterstock-trends-infographic-2016

Danita HornDanita Horn is a Senior Analyst at Wpromote, a leading online marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization, paid search, social media, email marketing and more.

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