20 Creatives to Watch in 2018
In 2017, we watched brilliant creative ideas bubble up through technological advances like 3D and drone photography. We tracked photographers as they grappled with painful, authentic moments, from refugees escaping violence to environmental destruction and social inequalities. We joined artists as they offered us welcome escapes into lush natural landscapes, clever stories, and minimalist scenes with plenty of breathing room. And, of course, we followed the rise of the female creator as gender issues rocked the headlines.
Now, as we look ahead to 2018, we’ve got our eyes on 20 amazing photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, and video artists around the world — they’re the ones we think will push our creative boundaries this year and define what it means to be creative in 2018.
Our selection of graphic designers expresses the diversity of techniques and mediums that creatives master today. They fearlessly transpose their passion into personal forms of art, constantly challenging the status quo and progressing the creative conversation.
Royal Studio, based in Porto, Portugal, takes an irreverent approach to design, pairing bold colours and graphics with unexpected typography and thought-provoking historical references. The result is a style that’s poetic, daring, and utterly unique. (See layout templates by Royal Studio in Adobe Stock.)
Vasjen Katro, a graphic and UI/UX designer based in Tirana, Albania, embraces bright, vibrant colours, simple shapes, gradients, and shadows in the service of a bold vision. For Vasjen, being creative is essential to his being and happiness: “Being creative for me is like a daily boost of coffee: there’s not day that passes that I don’t do something that makes me feel I was creative that day.” Over the last couple of years, he’s challenged himself to make a poster each day. In the process, he’s invented his own trademark style, which he calls “Baugasm” (an irreverent portmanteau of Bauhaus and orgasm).
Elena Miska is a New York-based designer, art director, and artist whose work includes everything from visual identities to photo art direction and her own passion projects in conceptual collage. Her work and her client base reflect her deep interest in cultural and environmental issues. Her style is crisp and bold, with striking uses of typography.
Birgit Palma is an Austrian graphic designer, illustrator, and lover of typography based in Barcelona. In her work, she embraces modern avant-garde and illustration, with a dash of inspiration from surrealism and nature. When she’s not creating, Birgit also works as an adjunct professor at the Fachhochschule Salzburg / MultiMediaArt.
Bryant Plust is an L.A.-based, cutting-edge 3D artist and animator. “My work revolves heavily around my everyday project where I make a new piece of art from scratch every day — no exceptions!” Bryant says. “I believe the act of sitting down and just starting to work will produce ideas and inspiration without fail.” Although there is no guarantee that every single piece he produces will be successful, Bryant does not shy away from continuously experimenting and expanding his creative horizons: “the act of continually pushing yourself in your craft that will make a difference in the long run.”
The five illustrators we’ve selected have very different styles but they all share the same goal: to ignite an emotion via a single picture. This emotional depth is becoming increasingly crucial for visual communication. All of these illustrations stimulate our imagination and speak to our subconscious.
Malika Favre is a French artist based in London. She embraces a bold, minimalist aesthetic — one she describes as Pop Art meets OpArt — to explore positive and negative spaces and colour. “I try to pare down my images as much as possible by removing lines and reducing palettes to their bare minimum. Today I focus on editorial covers, carte blanche collaborations and personal work, as these are the types of projects that titillate my brain and make my heart beat,” Malika says. A current London-based exhibition of her work is a tribute to the famous Parisian club, Le Crazy Horse.
Jose David Morales
Jose David Morales, a Spanish illustrator and graphic designer, creates dreamy, fluid images with people at the center. Created with digital tools and coloured pencils, his pieces evoke everything from humour to sadness and frustration. “I am in love with hot weather, textures, electric guitars, sensual pencil traces, and human figures,” he explains, “even though humans are not easy to live with.”
Milan-based illustrator Marianna Tomaselli’s work combines a passion for drawing and an obsession with patterns. She launched her career as a textile designer, then moved into print design, where she asks her viewers to think deeply about human experiences, from loneliness to boredom, humour, voyeurism, and melancholy. She relishes strong brush strokes and angular, wide scenic design. (See more of Marianna’s work in the Adobe Premium Stock collection.)
Helena Perez Garcia
London-based, Spanish-born illustrator Helena Perez Garcia focuses her attention on portraits, editorial, and book illustration. Her pieces are rich in detail and colour, evoking a feeling of mystery. Many of her images take viewers deep into the surreal. She has published two illustrated books in France (Louna au Musée and Bonne Nuit Louna). (See more of Helena’s work in the Adobe Premium Stock collection.)
Hidalgo, Mexico-based illustrator and art director César Santillán’s serene, minimalist pieces exhibit a playful approach to geometry and colour and a fascination with the human form. In his images of people alone or in pairs, figures are reduced to their most simple shapes, creating thought-provoking abstractions. (See more of César’s work in the Adobe Premium Stock collection.)
Photography is a tool not just for appreciating our surroundings, but also for exploring inward. Stunning landscapes remind of us the sheer forces of nature at play, while portraits and still lives explore our psyche and our relationships to one another.
Fragmento Universo, a film and music design studio out of Madrid, specialises in lo-fi visuals, naturalness, and simplicity. Their experimental work is inspired by everyday life, and their aesthetic blends minimalism with whimsy and a fresh take on colour. Run by two creative minds, Christian Baumgartner & Tessa Dóniga, the duo describe their work as “obsessed with detail, they go beyond the absurd distinction between beauty and ugliness, true and false, good and evil: this is what the surrealist mantra stands for.” Taking colourful, joyful, and iconoclastic pictures, they straddle reality and the surreal.
Fran Mart was born in Andalucía, Spain, but now lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he draws inspiration from the colours, landscapes, and textures of the countryside. He came to photography through self-portraiture, and then turned his lens on others. In his work, he attempts to capture something beyond the visual — emotions, memories, a moment. “For me,” Fran says, “photography is akin to sitting by the fire, sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee or dram of whisky, and sharing stories with good friends.” (See more of Fran’s work in the Adobe Stock Premium collection.)
Jessica Pettway, a New York-based visual artist, embraces bold, bright colours and playful, irreverent subject matter. In her surrealist compositions, she re-contextualises household items, dollar-store finds, and sculptural representations of plants, often creating an entirely new version of nature. Her current work includes “floral overloads,” fashion photographs, and prop styling and set design. Jessica’s images explore what defines human beings: the ability to laugh. (See more of Jessica’s work in the Adobe Stock Premium collection.)
Munich-based photographer Michael Schauer’s landscape photography is reminiscent of the great romantic painters, but with a modern sensibility. His main inspiration is a passion for the outdoors, fed by the vast forests and lakes nestled in the Alps. His images express a sense of longing and wanderlust. “Photography gave me the power to express myself,” says Michael. “An ability that I never had to this extent when I wrote or made music in the past. Photography is my absolute freedom on a 36×24 mm light-sensitive plate.” (See more of Michael’s work in the Adobe Premium Stock collection.)
Nicolle Clemetson, a commercial photographer based in Portland, specialises in conceptual, portrait, and still life photography. She brings a playful, but minimalist approach to her work, capturing viewers’ attention with clean, bold colour and unexpected subjects guaranteed to make you look twice. “I’ve heard my work described by others as ‘visual candy,’ and I couldn’t ask for a better metaphor for the style of photographs I create. Colourful, stylised, and fun,” Nicolle says. (See more of Nicolle’s work in the Adobe Premium Stock collection.)
Video and Motion Graphics
Video and motion can be an extremely challenging and stimulating creative field. Our motion designers and video creators are exploring visual expression through movement and sound with a lot of inspiration and freedom.
Studio Vallée Duhamel
Studio Vallée Duhamel, founded by Montreal-based artists Julien Vallée and Eve Duhamel, specialises in playful, experimental lo-fi video, visuals and installations. Their recent titles for the OFFF festival were a pure form of animated poetry. “As directors and designers,” they explain, “we are driven by the interest of creating complex narratives that marry art direction, design, and hand-rigged objects with high-end production techniques. We’ve always favoured a playful approach.”
Camila Cornelsen, a São Paulo, Brazil based video artist, photographer, musician, singer, and DJ, creates sensual, edgy, expressive pieces that are rich with emotion and inspired by the musical world she inhabits.
Tom Crate, a Copenhagen-based motion designer, creates pieces with a distinctly futuristic, sci-fi appeal. “I love variety,” Tom says. “I always try to bring something new to each project. I am especially interested in combining disparate ideas and techniques to create something fresh and unique.”
L.A.-based video artist Valentina Vee creates videos for all kinds of screens, working on everything from short films to animated web series and partnering with major brands for video shoots. A graduate of UCLA in Design Media Arts and Film, Valentina says she really honed her unique style by learning from experts in the online world. Valentina represents this new generation of versatile and talented video makers who master the full chain of professional video production. (See Valentina’s motion graphics templates on Adobe Stock.)
Six N. Five
Six N. Five is a Barcelona-based contemporary design studio with a flare for videos with a sleek, modern aesthetic. Their work spans the range from advertising and editorial to experimental CGI pieces. “We create work with no limits,” founders Andy and Eze say. “We can explore our imagination without bounds. In our digital world we go as far as we want, so we can go from pop colours, through pastel tones to black and white. That’s the fun here: Trying to go and explore as far as our visual-language can support, and push those boundaries.”
Wondering what else we’re looking forward to in the new year? Read about the visual trends we’re predicting for 2018.