The good folks at Shutterstock, home to millions of royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, and vectors, have revealed a data-driven report on the latest creative trends prevalent amongst their users. Need further clarification? Well, when it comes to royalty-free images, videos, and music, these are the search terms with the sharpest search rate increases heading into 2018.

If you feel out of the loop, wondering what's caused the sudden growth in popularity for these featured selections, it may prove best to read on. 


Quite literally, things are going out of this world in 2018. The biggest filmmaking trend is the outer space

From the blockbuster appeal of Star Wars and Marvel comic films to the resurgence of sci-fi series like The Orville and Star Trek, space is a popular trend. Searches for “solar” are up 991% on Shutterstock, and “astro” is up 671%. 

To get you excited about space, the team at RocketStock put together 19 free space background videos perfect for creating animated title sequences.

If you're interested in using the free assets in your own work, be sure to check out the following Shutterstock tutorial, and remember: you can download all the free space assets here


From mermaids and unicorns to dungeons and dragons, fantasy is another major trend in both graphic design and filmmaking. 

This trend not only incorporates traditional fantasy elements (“unicorn” is up 297%, and “mermaid” 145%), but it also samples modern twists on the genre like Netflix's hit series Stranger Things. This even includes the show’s soundtrack, with synthwave seeing an increase of 494% in search volume. 

If you’re looking for that retro synthwave sound, check out these curated playlists from PremiumBeat. If you want a classic orchestral score, try Shutterstock Music.

New Minimalism

Looking for the calming simplicity apparent in vibrant neon and bold lines? This minimalist trend is all about sleek design and continuous flow. Searches for “continuous line” are up 432%, and “neon circle” is up 387%.

You’ll discover much of this trend in animated video transitions and graphics, popular in commercials and on YouTube. 

More Creative Trends

You can discover all 11 trends on the Shutterstock blog, and see what’s popular with looks like Natural Luxury, Ancient Geometrics, Holographic Foil, and more.