2016 has been a year of minimalism in many fields. Web designers welcomed plain, complementary colours and geometric layouts to make navigation easier and information shine, while graphic designers dipped heavily into vectors and continued to craft infographics that presented data in a straightforward way.
Photographers, in the meantime, opted for simplistic, austere views that put story above everything else. And across the board, creative social media storytelling continued to be a primary vehicle for spreading art and important information far and wide.
Looking to 2017, we may see this minimalist trend continue while hot topics such as 3D and virtual reality expand what's possible. But more likely we'll see the following incredible creatives ushering in new trends and movements. Thanks to some help from our friends over at Adobe and Behance, here are 20 artists, designers, and photographers you should keep your eye on in the New Year.
1. Lukas Furlan
This Italian photographer has shot landscapes in many isolated places, from mountain tops to lost human structures. He looks for ways to enhance the peaceful and contemplative solitude that breaks through his work through light, tone and perspective.
2. Marie-Laure Crushi aka Crushiform
Marie-laure Crushi is the French illustrator behind the Paris-based studio Cruschiform. Her work features geometric shapes and insightful use of space. Her use of textures gives the images a distinctively painterly characteristic. Her creativity also breaks through a wide and clever range of spicy colours.
3. Trey Ratcliff
This Texan photographer has parlayed his cinematic style and storytelling prowess into the number one travel photography blog. Ractliff's site, Stuck in Customs, showcases his love of exotic travel while gorgeous photo essays tell stories of the humorous, bizarre situations this adventurer regularly finds himself in. Ratcliff likes to play with HDR settings to overlay exposures and moods and each year, the photographer returns from Burning Man with SD cards full of ethereal images bursting with colour and life.
4. Veronika Studer
Veronika Studer's work combines her two great loves - styling and photography. Her images capture and reflect the lively nature of the kitchen. She believes that every plate has a story to share, and strives to tell these narratives through her lens.
5. Alberto Seveso
This Bristol-based artist takes a scientific approach to basic elements in matter. He uses his mouse and screen as a creative microscope to expose chromatic fluids, smokes, and cutouts, which he analyses, dissects, and reimagines as digital art.
6. Tsunemasa Takahashi
Tsunemasa Takahashi takes inspiration from a variety of artistic styles. His illustrations reflect aspects of naïve art, as well as pictorial techniques from naturalism, Cubism and Dadaism. He places strong accent on the textures of the canvas, which stresses the look of authenticity in his pieces.
7. Johany Jutras
This season alone Johany Jutras shot 41 football games, capturing emotional, reflective snapshots on the field, in locker rooms, and of the fans to capture the full breadth of Canadian Football League culture. In 2015, she self-published a collection of images, chronicling every football city from Montreal to Vancouver and this year she continues the story on social media with weekly visual recaps of action-packed games, which has helped cement her place as a sought-after sideline storyteller for the CFL and top brands.
8. Kazkin aka Incredible Arctic
This Polish photographer who now calls the Arctic his home feasts his eyes upon some of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife moments every single day. He shares his love for the north with the world via mesmerising video time lapses of northern lights and amazing images of icebergs and Arctic wildlife.
9. Mirae Kim
Mirae Kim creates imaginative reinterpretations of contemporary subjects such as movies, books, and consumer products. She often uses warm, poppy colours in her minimalist product designs, and the subtle gradients of her illustrations play smoothly with pastel patterns.
10. Max Muench
Travel photographer Max Muench journeys to some of the most remote parts of the world to capture breathtaking scenes of solitude and natural wonder. He uses a wide aperture and a long focal length to make the images breathe , so that the humble viewer can see sheer scale of the environment. His photographs balance the harsh and soft elements of nature.
11. Filip Hodas
To some, Filip Hodas may come off like a naturalist in quest of extraterrestrial phenomena. His images feature a tremendous accuracy in shapes, textures and lighting, mixed with meaningful symbolism. He builds scenes that are simultaneously organic and surreal, transporting us to foreign and other worldly places.
12. Julien Palast
Julien Palast is a French sculptor and photographer who uses textural materials to create surreal compositions. From figures frozen in vivid bas-reliefs to advertising laminated candies, Julien brings together vivid colours and shapes that entice the viewer’s sense of touch.
13. Alex Palazzi
The sculptures of the Barcelona-based graphic designer and toy-maker bring a new understanding to everyday objects. With the help of technology and handcraft, Alex creates hyper-realistic flowing, sticky, viscous, and even fleshy textures to create expressive works of art.
The illustrations from this Russian studio convey a sense of inspired miniaturisation, depicting everyday moments in life with a sense of humour. Although each image is created independently by one of the three artists, all of the images share geometric and colourful elements, which makes the collection stylistically cohesive.
15. Michael Schwarz
Schwarz's photography brims with emotion, humanity, and cultural relevance. Barely out of Journalism school, his work has already run in numerous publications including The Associated Press and The Guardian, and taken him to the centre of one of the world's greatest humanitarian crises. Most recently he put a hopeful, human face like the one above to the refugee crisis in Greece in order to bring to light a possible temporary alternative to government-operated refugee camps. Not willing to always wait for the scoops to come to him, this up-and-coming freelance journalist self-publishes his investigative reporting and impactful images in an effort to keep important issues front and centre.
16. Tatsuro Kiuchi
The Japan-born artist was a former biology major, but has since switched his focus to illustration. He has illustrated numerous children’s books and worked with clients such as the New York Times and the Royal Mail. Tatsuro mixes his pictorial and traditional skills with many textures and tools, enhancing his impressionist style with patterns and materials for a moving, peaceful look and feel.
17. Kim Høltermand
Copenhagen has many architectural masterpieces, and Kim Høltermand tries to extract the will of its designer from each building she photographs. Through the positioning of shadows, textures of the materials, acute angles of a walkway, monolithic stiffness of a side view or the perspective of a vanishing point, she creates unique portraits of architecture.
18. Addictive Stock
Addictive Stock is a stock photo and video production company based in Madrid. Their emphasis is on authentic and contemporary images, with multipurpose, modern topics that reflect the Mediterranean lifestyle and help usher in a new era of stock photography.
19. Tithi Luadthong aka Grandfailure
Tithi Luadthong aka Grandfailure is an illustrator specialising in scenic, often fantastical imagery. Colours are essential in the pieces of this digital impressionist, with an accent on fluorescent greens and rusty reds. His works are dynamic and action-packed, and demands immediate attention from the viewer.
20. Morgan Maassen
This award-winning photographer and filmmaker captures nature's most fleeting moments - the perfect wave, a quick bend of light, a stunning sunset. Whether he's working on a personal project or collaborating with major brands, his love and respect for nature shines through. Though he's traveled the globe, California remains his ultimate muse.