iStock Releases 2021 Visual Trends To Support SMBs And SMEs

Diverse group of friends exercising together outside during the COVID pandemic and wearing face masks.
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



iStock has released its top visual communications trends to help small and medium-sized businesses better plan their brand and performance marketing for 2021.

Experts from across iStock have identified key emerging trends that they claim will resonate with consumers after a year of disruption—from major political events, the impact of COVID-19, effects of climate change, and social change.

These are the key trends to keep your eye on in 2021, according to iStock.

Responsible depictions of sustainability

In iStock’s global consumer survey, Visual GPS, conducted earlier this year, 81 per cent of respondents said they expect companies to be environmentally aware in all their advertising communications.

Half of respondents said they only buy products from brands that try to be eco-friendly.

“With the outcome of the American election, it seems that sustainability will be high on the agenda in 2021,” Dr. Rebecca Swift, global head of creative insights, iStock said.

“Businesses should look for images, video and illustrations that convey their commitment to sustainability issues and visualise the concrete actions their customers can take that will pave the way to a better, more sustainable future.”

Accurately and inclusively represent your customers

Representation is key, with 80 per cent of consumers in the Visual GPS study saying it isn’t enough for brands to feature people from diverse backgrounds in advertising—they expect to see authentic representations of different cultures and lifestyles.

Dr. Swift explains: “Our data and research tells us that in addition to the moral responsibility for companies to do the right thing, there’s a clear appetite from consumers to tell, hear and see inclusive stories.

“Check out https://www.istockphoto.com/diversity for ideas and at the very least try using visuals that portray different groups within communities—different ages, genders or abilities—this will foster greater connection between you and your consumer.”

Soothing colour schemes

After a stressful year, a trend for soothing and reassuring colours is already emerging. Tones are warmer and palettes are balanced and muted to communicate calm.

Peter Noah, director, marketing and brand creative, iStock said: “Data visualisation and graphics will continue to be important, but consumers are looking for reassuring clarity, so flat colours, simple shapes and straightforward type styling will be most effective as we move into the new year.”

Social first

With consumers socialising less in person now, the need to stay connected and access information is driving stronger than ever social engagement, iStock said.

But with this, the need for brands to reflect the “authentic lives” of their consumers is more important than ever.

Sixty percent of respondents in the Visual GPS survey said they prefer to buy from brands that are founded by or represent people like themselves, according to iStock.

“Businesses must think social-first when communicating with their audiences, but authenticity will be key to building a connection across digital channels,” Meredith McCracken, vice president, CRM and sales marketing, iStock said.

“There has already been an evolution toward incorporating more authenticity in the tone, copy, and imagery in marketing but that need has become ever more important during this pandemic, and particularly when it comes to social media where people engage with brands in their personal feeds.”

Video is booming

Consumers are watching more video than ever before, and most of these videos are viewed via social media, iStock said.

Brands that represent real people in authentic environments in video formats will make better connections with their audiences.

Alwyn Gosford, Senior Video Art Director, iStock, said: “Brands must design videos with social media consumption in mind—vertical formats, which are more easily viewed on mobile phones, will work best.

“Subtitles or graphics will be important as social videos are frequently viewed without sound, and brevity is key—several videos of 30–60 seconds will be more effective than one video of over two minutes.”

Roughly a third (33 per cent) of respondents to iStock’s Visual GPS survey have boycotted a brand that went against their values in the past two years.

With seismic shifts in the consumer landscape in 2020, it’s more important than ever that businesses do their research to understand what consumers expect and use the right visuals to connect with their audiences.

You can find more information on iStock’s Visual GPS here.




Please login with linkedin to comment

Getty Images iStock

Latest News

Cashrewards Sets Out Stall For New CMO
  • Marketing

Cashrewards Sets Out Stall For New CMO

Anthony Seymour-Walsh has set the criteria he’s looking for Cashreward’s new CMO to fill. In a LinkedIn post, the rewards program CEO said that he was looking for an “innovative, customer-focused CMO” who can help the business continue to grow. “We are continuing to scale at significant pace and need a creative and commercially astute […]

Dentsu’s iProspect Partners With MOOD Tea Ahead Of May Campaign Launch
  • Advertising

Dentsu’s iProspect Partners With MOOD Tea Ahead Of May Campaign Launch

Dentsu’s iProspect has partnered with MOOD tea to empower the advertising and media community to make a difference in youth mental health. The partnership with MOOD tea will see iProspect support the brand from a strategic business level through to media partnerships, to build the brand’s salience and ultimately drive retail distribution and purchase. Marcelle […]

Opinion: When Culture Starts Eating Itself: Navigating The Age Of Self-eating Nostalgia
  • Opinion

Opinion: When Culture Starts Eating Itself: Navigating The Age Of Self-eating Nostalgia

In this opinion piece, Born’s co-founder and strategy director, David Coupland (above), considers whether cultural nostalgia offers genuine comfort or stifles innovation in light of McDonald’s bringing back “The Original Mouthful.” Sitting there watching The Beckham documentary, shortly after I’d watched the Robbie Williams’ documentary, not that long after I’d watched The Last Dance it […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe Launches Express Mobile App With Firefly AI
  • Technology

Adobe Launches Express Mobile App With Firefly AI

Adobe has launched a new Adobe Express mobile app, giving users Firefly AI on the go. Adobe Express is the all-in-one AI content creation app that makes it fast and easy for anyone to ideate, design and share standout social media posts, videos, flyers, logos and more. Millions of users around the world are turning […]

ThinkNewsBrands & IMAA Extend News Publishing Education In Brisbane
  • Media

ThinkNewsBrands & IMAA Extend News Publishing Education In Brisbane

ThinkNewsBrands in collaboration with the Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA),  continued the in-person education rollout of the Publishing & News101 learning module yesterday, extending its reach to independent media agencies in Brisbane. That means Queensland has become the second state to benefit from the special in-person training and certification program. The program delves into […]

B&T Chats With Wavemaker’s Provocative Pioneers On Their Cross-Pacific Sojourn
  • B&T TV

B&T Chats With Wavemaker’s Provocative Pioneers On Their Cross-Pacific Sojourn

B&T had the honour of travelling to GroupM’s lush North Sydney offices to chat with Tatiana Patrón and Missie Saroyan, who had travelled all the way from the US to see how we do things down under. Patrón is an associate client investment lead in Wavemaker’s New York office, while Saroyan serves as a programmatic […]

HoMie & Champion Launch “Give One. Get One” Campaign Supporting Youth Homelessness Via Town Square
  • Campaigns

HoMie & Champion Launch “Give One. Get One” Campaign Supporting Youth Homelessness Via Town Square

HoMie, a Melbourne-based streetwear label that supports young people affected by homelessness or hardship, has turned traditional buy-one-get-one-free retail offers on their head with a special promotional campaign developed by Town Square. HoMie has launched ‘Give One. Get One,’ where for every HoMie hoodie purchased for Youth Homelessness Matters Day, fellow streetwear label Champion will […]

Thinkerbell Takes Us Back To Summer In Latest Work For XXXX
  • Campaigns

Thinkerbell Takes Us Back To Summer In Latest Work For XXXX

Lion and Thinkerbell have launched new work for XXXX Summer Bright, reminding everyone that it’s a beer to drink all year round. The idea is now live across social, digital and OOH. It centres on the insight that around here, unlike most places in the world, we only have one season really, summer. So it’s […]

Scroll Media Recruits Costa Panagos From Twitch
  • Advertising

Scroll Media Recruits Costa Panagos From Twitch

Digital publisher network Scroll Media has employed ex-Amazon Twitch gaming executive Costa Panagos (lead image) to strengthen its Scroll Gaming capability. Panagos is highly experienced in game advertising and media sales professional with two years in account management at Twitch and three years in media sales at News Corp, so will bring his extensive media agency […]

Year13, Microsoft & KPMG Australia Launch AI Course For Gen Zs
  • Technology

Year13, Microsoft & KPMG Australia Launch AI Course For Gen Zs

School-leaver service Year13 has launched a new Artificial Intelligence course to upskill young people in AI, made in collaboration with Microsoft and KPMG, at an event to rally industry support behind youth AI fluency. The free online course AI Amplified which is part of Year13’s Academy aims to provide all young people with the opportunity […]

General Motors Snares Heath Walker From Scania
  • Advertising

General Motors Snares Heath Walker From Scania

General Motors has announced the appointment of Heath Walker (lead image) as the new marketing director for GM Australia and New Zealand, effective April 23, 2024. Walker brings a wealth of marketing and communications experience gained from working across various industries, including IT, sporting, and auto – notably Tesla, Nissan and most recently, Scania in […]