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Visual Trend: Color Surge

In partnership with Getty Images we visualize current trends in images. “Creative In Focus”, the annual trend report by Getty Images, shows intriguing parallels to many of the cultural phenomena, social changes and future trends that we uncover in our foresight work. The “Color Surge” trend is not necessarily beautiful in the conventional sense. Bold primary colors and complementary contrasts play with our expectations and answer our constant desire for the new, unusual and never before seen.

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Klaus Vedfelt

© Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

“A heightened sophistication around visual language means we can use color in ways we previously couldn’t, breaking the rules and embracing unnatural combinations” Getty Images’ 2017 visual trend report proclaims.

In ad campaigns by Alexander McQueen, Prada or Kate Spade color is at the center of the image, featuring brash, bright, dynamic and at times exquisitely ugly color combinations like blood red and royal blue. For its Color of the Year 2017, the Pantone Color Institute replaced the soft duo Serenity and Rose Quartz with a fresh yellow-green hue: “Greenery” has the bright green of apples and fresh leaves.

New photographic talents are experimenting with color statements, contrasts and color gradients. Photographer Aleksandra Kingo refers to her work as “feminine awkward neo pop”. Tongue-in-cheek, she stages shoes, perfumes and handbags for brands like Miu Miu, Accessorize or Bloomingdale’s as parts of complementary-colored still lifes. The images of Paul Rousteau, who works for brands like Cartier, Diptyque or Asos, feature blended pastels evoking paintings from another dimension. In a photo series for New York Times Magazine, fashion photographer Erik Madigan Heck portrayed Olympian swimmer Katie Ledecky almost two-dimensionally in blue and white. He describes his choice of color as a conscious stylistic device and a distinct format: “When I create color works they are primarily color studies. When I shoot in black and white, it becomes all about composition and light. They’re two totally different things. I think photographers shouldn’t see them as arbitrary choices but should really make a conscious effort to use one or the other when the subject matters lends itself to it.”

In the “Color Surge” trend, color is no longer a mere component of an image: It’s become the star, guaranteeing strong emotions and absorbing everybody’s attention.

Download the full Getty Images Visual Trend Report Creative In Focus 2017!

The next part of our series will feature Getty Images‘ visual trend “Unfiltered”.