A quick look at the creative trends, shifts and sustaining movements we’re anticipating in 2022.

2021 brought new challenges and anticipations for creative rejuvenation. What was in store for the future of remote work? Was Zoom fatigue here to stay? Would brands maintain their commitment to diversity and inclusion beyond performance?

A few weeks into 2022 we’re asking some of the same questions. What will creativity look like this year? How are we looking forward?  What are we optimistic will change?

We gathered insights on our creative shifts and hopes for 2022.

1. Video Video Video

Marketers have been saying “Video will be big this year” for more than a decade, and we see that continuing this year. Between 2019 and 2021, the average user went from watching 84 minutes of video content per day to over 100 minutes per day, likely influenced by the shift to working from home. And in 2021, video’s dominance became increasingly apparent on social media with Tiktok gaining 63% of GenZ usage – likely influencing Instagram’s algorithmic shift to prioritize video content over still images.

And for a while now, commercial photographers are increasingly taking on video jobs, expanding how the role of photographer into all-around-content producer. While we don’t see still photography going away, we’re excited to see new ways and new channels for video to take hold and drive visual storytelling.

 

2. Gender-Free Product, Design and UX

Intuit’s 2019 gender-neutral glyphs created for Turbo Tax

As gender fluidity becomes widely accepted, we’ll continue to see an increase in how brands think about gender. Not only in their language and representation, but in the colors they use and how they define their demographics. This isn’t an entirely new concept. In 2019, for example, Turbo Tax Live was applauded for their approach to gender-neutral design thinking. And more recently, Mastercard’s True Name and Citbank’s #UpdateMyName initiatives gave customers the opportunity to use their chosen names on their credit cards.

We see this continuing to evolve and ramp up in how brands collect and use data, how they think about their customers and the language, voice and tone they use to communicate their products and implement effective user experience.

 

3. Accessibility

The ability of a product or service to be used by everyone is becoming more important – and innovative, especially as technology and UX advances. Going beyond the bare minimum legal requirements, accessibility as a pillar of design and brand thinking expands how design and products can be used. It can create new markets, open up new audiences and previously closed-off demographics and ways of thinking creatively about the world around us.

AccessiBe, which launched in 2018, is making strides to make the entire internet accessible by 2025 “so that everyone, with and without disabilities, can enjoy what it has to offer.” Integrated into 116K+ websites so far, belief is that accessibility not only helps reduce ablest obstacles, it prevents tension and lawsuits that continuously challenge small businesses. “We are here to make everybody win.”

And Nike’s 2021 hands free “Fly Ease” sneaker is a great example of a product designed specifically around accessibility. The lace-less sneakers require no hands making it accessible for everyone.

We’re intrigued and hopeful to see an accelerated emphasis on accessibility (and how we define it) in design moving forward and what that means for all of the above.

 

4. Global Creative Collaboration

The future of content is collaborative

As brands look to reach customers across cultures and geographies, flying a single photographer around the world can be impractical, costly and – during a pandemic – unsafe. But managing hundreds of photographers locally can also add complications: ensuring a consistent visual aesthetic for a single campaign is an ongoing creative challenge.

In 2021, this sparked The Luupe to launch “Luupe Collabs,” a simple way for brands to collaborate with photographers from around the world on a single creative brief. Ensuring that all photographers are paid out for this work, a spirit of creative camaraderie takes hold and everyone wins.

 

5. No Excuses for Lacking Diversity

2020’s global reassessment of racism and cultural inequity sparked many brands to assess their patterns of hiring and representation. Many made clear and public commitments to change. Countless brands like Nike and Apple doubled down to create projects that more equitably reflect our world’s diversity in front of and behind the lens. And this past holiday season, brands like Starbucks and Target centered diversity in their campaigns on togetherness within the pandemic.

And in March, 2021, photographer Nadine Ijewere became the first Black woman to photograph a cover story for American Vogue (in 2018, she was the first to photograph a cover for British Vogue.)

This good, albeit late, progress leaves no excuse for brands and magazines to say “we couldn’t find anyone,” when hiring photographers, especially when platforms and communities like Black Women Photographers, Diversify Photo, The Luupe, and Women Photograph are at their fingertips.

Our hope is that the positive strides of the past few years are more than a trend. We’re excited to see representation continues to change.

 

6. Rethinking How Brands Hire Creative “Influencers”

The widely popular Snap Before Eat

For years, brands have hired pop-culture influencers to hock their products and boost their credibility. But many of these influencers are not trained photographers, and even with the widespread availability of ring lights to give images an extra “pop,” their photos aren’t always up to par. And while there has been a push over the past decade towards a more “authentic,” every-person aesthetic, we anticipate brands will prioritize quality in capturing influencer moments.

We’re excited to see many photographers emerge as food and product influencers in their own right, combining their expertise to develop eloquently photographed food platforms. Luupe photographer Prang Chenaphun, while regularly creating content for brands like FCB/ Diners Club, is also a powerful food influencer, famous for her 193K follower Instagram page “SnapBeforeEat.”

These are just five ideas so far. We’d love to hear what’s on your mind. Is there a creative shift or movement in marketing, brand and visual culture that’s on your mind? Drop us a note!