Behance, a Place for Creatives (and Creative Trendspotting)

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Adobe’s project-sharing website Behance is a place where creatives of all stripes (even seasoned professionals with their own slick websites) maintain an online presence. Why? Because everyone is there. It’s like being a suburban teenager; if you don’t hang out at the 7-11 parking lot on a Saturday night, you might miss something—Behance functions as a real-time showcase for emerging visual trends around the world.

ELEKTRA – 18th International Digital Art Festival, design by Baillat. Studio

Since its launch 10 years ago, the site has grown into a global community with more than 10 million members—a social media platform where a diverse group of artists, designers, and photographers post their latest work, share tips, offer support, and give each other critical feedback. Behance has become a one-stop shopping destination for employers to seek out new creative talent as well, offering up a quick scan of the design landscape to see who’s out there, who’s worth keeping an eye on, and who might be the perfect fit for a current project.

Inmarsat Augmented Reality Kiosk by Bruno de Araujo

When Adobe acquired Behance in 2012, the online visual landscape was a very different creature from the site’s first days in 2007 when going viral wasn’t even a thing, there was little curated content, and Pinterest and Instagram didn’t exist yet. Roxanne Schwartz, head of community & product marketing at Behance, says, “We were invite-only in the very beginning, which helped create a feeling of exclusivity. That helped the growth of the community right from the start.”

Drone photography by RASMUS KAESSMANN

Recently Behance saw its Asian community spike (especially in China) when it added site-wide localization that auto-detects a user’s geographic coordinates and translates the site’s text into an appropriate language for that part of the world. “Behance has been an international platform from the get-go. Relying on the visual, we have an advantage in that the work you see really transcends language barriers,” says Schwartz. “For a language like Chinese that uses non-Latin characters, it made a huge difference for the user. Our increasing membership in Asia reflects a broader trend of social media adoption there.”

Typographic poster by Valeria Weisz

Oscar Orozco, head curator, noted a sizable uptick this past year in augmented reality projects, drone photography and exhibition design. “Right now there’s a type trend that feels like a rebellious throwback to the ’80s,” he says. “There’s so much distorted type, full of glitches and malfunctions, where legibility becomes secondary. I’ve also noticed so much use of electric or fluorescent colors, either flat or as gradients.”

Adidas Football – NEMEZIZ by Marc Illan 

Schwartz agrees. “There is definitely a great deal of nostalgia: The ’90s were the best of times, bring them back! Branding for city events or music festivals, illustration for the web, and sneaker design are other creative fields that we’ve seen rise on Behance.” she says. “And as Oscar mentioned, I also see themes of chaos and unpredictability. For many of these young designers, readability is not necessarily as important as the feeling that comes from the entire design.” Orozco adds, “Design feels like it’s reacting to what’s going on in the news and on the media. The work reflects what it means to live in this world right now, and I think we are going to see even more of this in 2018.”

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