Creative trends in 2020 according to Shutterstock

If you have ever searched for a photo or a video on the internet, you probably already know about Shutterstock.  What you might not know is that the largest image bank in the world uses the search patterns of is users to predict creative trends.  Millions of pieces of data have been boiled down to the 9 themes that will inspire visual design in 2020.


Highlighted trends

The Roaring 20s

Art deco, golden patterns, geometric shapes.  It’s all part of the return to retro for this century.

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The occult

From the cosmic to the demonic, millennials are being drawn more and more to astrology, palm reading, and anything spiritual.

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In bloom

Big, bright, colourful floral elements – in bloom, of course.

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Growing trends

Modern cannabis

Cannabis is becoming less associated with the hippy spirit and more with minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired designs.

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Black minimalism

Designers are going all out with the depth and contrast of black.


Chinese ink

The calligraphy and painting styles of Asia are taking over thanks to their simple lines.

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Outdoor adventures

Feel at one with nature with images that show its wildest side.



The power of sports photography is in the way it shows the fighting spirit.

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Protest art

Graffiti, signs, buttons.  Art with a message that gives a voice to what we are fighting for.

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From country to country

Shutterstock also gives us the chance to explore the world and see how the identity of each country influences trends.  In the US, dreamlike landscapes dominate, while in the UK, it’s all about tropical plants.  In France, they are interested in futuristic white, but in neighbouring Spain, they are drawn to zebras.

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Colour trends

Shutterstock is pointing to maximalism and saturated tones this year.  The three colours that will dominate 2020 fit into this category: Lush Lava, Aqua Menthe, and Phantom Blue.  These are the colours that experienced the most growth according to the pixel analysis (!) of images downloaded last year.


Lush Lava

A mix of bright orange and intense red, it attracts attention whenever it is used, just like volcanic lava does.



Aqua Menthe

This serene combination of cyan and mint reminds us of summer holidays and crystal-clear water.



Phantom Blue

This is the deep, saturated, navy blue of dramatic night skies, like the one seen in “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh.



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