As the team at Punch continue to report on the latest updates to surface from the world of search and social media, this week I’ve delved into the latest design and photography trends on social media in more detail. So, what will be brightening your screens this summer and how can your brand achieve this?

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FlatVisual simplicity has returned. Realistic styles with drop-shadows, textures and objects have now made way for more vivid, easy-to-view, 2D imagery; however this doesn’t mean your imagery has to be boring. Experiment with bold blocks of colour to draw the eye and make social posts jump out from the newsfeed with punchy graphics and bright colours.

Authentic – People and other subjects in real-life settings are becoming increasingly popular within social media. Fashion and beauty brand ASOS uses authentic imagery to engage their audience, and features real-life photography in their recent cover imagery and status updates.

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Authenticity is a growing trend, which represents a desire for stronger emotional connections when engaging with audiences across social media. Brands can create this same effect by applying filters to photos taken in a realistic situation with a smartphone.

Close-Up – Visual simplicity goes full-zoom via the use of large images. A combination of flat and simple visuals with the use of larger, full-size imagery will help attract the user’s eye this year. This trend in particular has been pushed to the forefront, spurred by the image updates in Facebook’s News Feed and Twitter’s redesign with its larger cover profile. For this trend to make an impact, brands should use simplistic, eye-catching photography.

Filtered – News feeds and user pages are full to the brim with DIY photos taken on a smartphone. The Instagram app allows users to apply effects to the photos they’ve taken and upload straight to networks like Twitter and Facebook. Not only can Instagram-style photography lead posts on social media, but they can also make an impact on brand websites (and via printed media too). Your brand can achieve this same effect by using the Instagram app or applying filters in Photoshop before publishing.

Animated – Since the launch of Vine in 2013, short videos have steadily been on the rise, with Instagram later following suit  by introducing the function of video posting to its platform. Increased video posting could also be responsible for the GIF revival in 2014. Whatever the message, brands have been given the chance to think outside the box by expressing it via an animated video loop in as little as six seconds.

Whilst it can be more challenging to captivate a social audience in 2014, addressing your visual image strategy with the above trends in mind can go a long way in helping your brand to craft engaging posts across your channels.

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