A Look Back at Our Favorite Visual Trends of 2017

Fran Mart / Adobe Stock

by Adobe Stock Team

posted on 12-29-2017

It’s been a tumultuous, creative, amazing year. Before we box up the last odds and ends of 2017, we’re taking a moment to look back at some of our favorite visual trends over the last 12 months, and we’re checking in with the artists who brought them to life.

The powerful female creator

In March, we looked at women making their marks in the creative world, whether they were dismantling visual stereotypes, offering a new take on the female gaze, or breaking barriers in historically male-dominated fields.

One of our favorite artists from our March profiles — illustrator and graphic designer Jing Zhang — wowed us with her fun and colorful take on infographics, including a beautiful homage to the work of another powerful female creator, architect Zaha Hadid.

Jing recently told us that one of her other favorite projects of 2017 was a fun, graphic take on classic cocktail recipes. In the new year, she’s planning to dive into more mapping projects, including an exploration of Europe and Oceania, and she’s working on illustrations of retro 1980s and 1990s games. She’s also planning to try out a few new ideas — her list includes black-and-white, 3D infographics, and a tribute to architects Charles and Ray Eames. And, she’s thinking about emojis: “I haven’t figured out a story for this one yet. All those emoji icons make people feel so happy (even the angry face),” Jing says.

Image courtesy of Jing Zhang.

Keeping it real

In June, we focused on authenticity, talking to artists about how to capture moments that feel real, genuine, and completely anti-cliché. Designer Kervin Brisseaux, talked to us about how to use stock images to tell an authentic story.

We checked in with Kervin recently to find out about his creative ideas for 2018. “I plan to incorporate more of my own photography in my work. I recently purchased a mirrorless camera, and I plan to take that thing everywhere!”

Image courtesy of Kervin Brisseaux

Stepping into the third dimension

In August, we looked at designers using 3D technology in their work. Ingrid Tsy told us about how 3D tools and Adobe Stock opened up a whole new level of creative freedom for her. In 2017, one of her favorite projects was printing in 3D for the first time. “I’ve always loved the creative freedom Zbrush gives 3D artists, and printing organic forms to tangible items was an eye-opening process — especially learning different materials and printing techniques,” Ingrid says.

In the new year, Ingrid plans to collaborate with artists across genres. “I went to see Bjork’s film — “The Gate” — in London with two friends, and we were completely mesmerized by everything from the graphics and fashion pieces (especially the masks by James Merry) to production design,” Ingrid explains. “I’d be up for a challenge to work on an abstract short that binds various mediums together — like 3D printing, concept art, illustration, and CGI.”

Creative minds and artificial intelligence (AI)

In November, we jumped into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning, talking to artists who use AI to get work done or who look to the newest technology as a muse.

One of our favorite tech-inspired artists was Sebastien Hue. His dark, moody work draws inspiration from video games and sci-fi. Sebastien told us that his favorite project this year was working as a concept artist for a French entertainment studio. In the new year, he’s planning to spend more time in the third dimension and another world: “I’m getting back to 3D in order to speed up my process. I’ll also probably try getting out of my comfort zone with more fantasy work,” Sebastien says.

Join us on the blog as we follow trends as they emerge and evolve throughout 2018. For a sneak peek at what we’re most looking forward to in the new year, read Adobe’s visual trend forecast for 2018.

Topics: Creativity

Products: Stock, Photoshop, Creative Cloud