Shutterstock reveals top creative trends for marketers in 2022

Shutterstock has released its annual Creative Trends Report, revealing six visual and thematic trends that will shape creative industries in 2022. The report has been designed to give readers a heightened interactive experience, allowing uses to move through key data points via a personalised avatar.

The interactive report is informed by search data collected from Shutterstock users, as well as Shutterstock.AI performance data that has been included for the first time this year to help marketers curate content that will drive the highest click-through rates.


The ongoing context of the pandemic has fueled a growing sense of escapism and the dissolution of time for many, which has been seen most recently in the recent surge of interest and investment in virtual spaces like the metaverse. This global experience is expressed in the two key themes that Shutterstock foresees will be dominant through marketing campaigns and creative projects in 2022: time and space.

“When we took a closer look at what the global Shutterstock community is searching for, it is clear that 2022 is set to be a year defined by pushing traditional boundaries and exploring the unknown,” said Flo Lau, Creative Director at Shutterstock.

“There is a sense of wanderlust and a desire to explore the fantastical and the uncanny, and this year’s trends captured just that. From the barren desert landscapes of the West to the neon reflections of a futuristic skyline, this year is ready to test the boundaries of our imagination.”



There are six key trends that fall under these themes: Fantastic, The Macabre, Way Out West, On the Road Again, Cyberpunk is Not Dead and What’s Cookin.

Fantastic refers to the time period of the 14th century and is a reflection of the global fascination with medieval sagas like Game of Thrones and The Witcher. The trend has seen massive growth in key search words like medieval building (+6496%), vintage shield (+2858%) and templar (+831%).

The Macabre falls into the modern era.

Way Out West is a reference to cowboy culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, with Western themed images such as wild horses garnering significant interest on the platform.

On the Road Again brings us back into the modern era, representing the global urge to return to travel, with terms like ‘bikes on the road’, ‘roads to mountain’ and ‘the badlands’ receiving significant growth.

Cyberpunk is not dead is a futuristic trend that Shutterstock has placed in the 2100s, with the popularisation of high-tech aesthetics. Content featuring electrical outlets, webcams and LED received the most amount of clicks.

The final trend, What’s Cooking, returns again to the Modern Era, highlighting the cooking frenzy spurred as people returned to their kitchens during lockdowns. Searches for regional ingredients like porcini, takoyaki and pana cotta increased, with cupcake and pretzel content receiving the highest amount of clicks.

The report has also highlighted global trends across 26 countries. The trending search terms in the Australian market were ‘celestial’ and ‘grim reaper’ and the trending colour was #FAF0E6, or linen.


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