Finance: The five key visual trends

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Since the beginning of the most recent global financial crisis in 2008, we've been tracking the changes in imagery used by financial services providers to represent their brand. Gone are the depictions of aspiration and conspicuous wealth as financial services brands try to re-establish trust with their customers. Here are five of the main trends we've tracked in North America and Europe.

Betting on Women
Today, women are more frequently the holders of the proverbial purse-strings, so it makes good sense that financial brands are showing more female faces in their campaigns. In the US especially, women are now frequently the primary money-makers and decision-makers in their households. However, one crucial element to depicting this pendulum swing is to make sure that images of women aren't stereotypical or full cliches. Our top selling images don't contain lots of pink or piles of shopping bags. Contemporary females are shown looking empowered, relaxed, and balancing many roles. They are top execs, friends, mothers, partners. They can lead the charge at work and look after their loved ones, but they also take time for themselves. Our top selling shots feel effortless and natural, and celebrate the new female paradigm of strength, style, and self-worth.

Browse a selection of new imagery reflecting women in business and work

The Art of Surprise
We’ve noticed that financial imagery has become a lot less buttoned up of late. The use of bold, artful images to illustrate classic concepts is unexpected, and it helps campaigns stand out from the fray. Color-soaked images of natural wonders, quirky pet snaps, atmospheric shots that would look equally at home on a gallery wall as on a banking website – these top selling pictures might seem like unusual choices, yet they help change the perception that money talk has to be dull.

Browse conceptual imagery reflecting business and financial services

The New Wealth
Though the economy seems to be picking up since the great recession of 2008, we’ve learned that markets are shaky, wallets can get thin fast, and the word “occupy” has a brand new connotation. People are reassessing what wealth really means to them. Is it about owning a home, or is it the milestones one celebrates between its walls? Is it about accumulating tons of stuff, or having new experiences? Is it about what you buy, or how you can contribute? We’re seeing lots of messaging around living life with meaning, and stopping to really appreciate the basics: security, health, relationships, personal achievements. Our top selling financial shots revel in the simple things and reflect what we truly value – those moments and people that transcend any price.

Browse imagery reflecting new concepts of wealth

Small Business
Small business are incredibly important to economies, they hire the bulk of the workforce, account for a key part of production and are the source of innovation and creativity. Over the past years we noticed an increased interest in small business imagery, especially from our financial services customers. Entrepreneurship is becoming a much admired character trait and many people aspire to own their own business one day. There are some strong concepts that we see come through in the small business content we sell: honesty, passion and determination.

Browse imagery reflecting various portrayals of small business

As an industry, financial services lost consumer trust over recent years. According to the Edelman 2012 Trust Barometer, ‘listening to customers needs’, ‘treating employees well’, as well as ‘having ethical business practices’ are considered more important in rebuilding trust than ‘delivering consistent financial returns’. Many financial service brands are starting or supporting projects, which go beyond campaigns and are set-up for the long term to  demonstrate their responsibility for local businesses, communities and the environment.

Browse imagery reflecting concepts of responsibility

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