Clean Slate

Trends / Realness
Nupat Arjkla / EyeEm
Lauren Catten
Apr 25, 2019
Authenticity has been the buzzword in advertising for what feels like forever. Unfiltered, immersive, spontaneous depictions of real life, real people, real bodies, and real relationships have become so much the norm that it’s as if the days of professional models and manicured settings are numbered. However, as with all trends, there comes a point where the ubiquity of a style overtakes the freshness it once presented. It only seems natural that as photographers seek unique visual treatments to rise above the commonplace, a distinct aesthetic of cleaner, crisp imagery is edging into view.

We’re seeing a new exploration of spare, graphic compositions ‑ open, expansive spaces offering a breath of fresh air and room to breathe. Vantage points pull back, and newer technologies like drones swoop up overhead, creating alternative perspectives rich with copy space, simplified color palettes, and often a refreshing degree of anonymity that stands out in our current hyper‑personalized world. Slice of life, cluttered visuals can sometimes be a visceral overload, crowding the senses with multiple references and triggers, and little room for interpretation. Minimal, considered compositions present a calming counterpoint, allowing the viewer to be drawn in at their own pace.

Brands are also choosing this cleaner aesthetic for much of their mobile advertising, so their message can be read more easily on smaller screens. In today’s digital age, our cell phones, and the ads they display, are a constant filter through which we experience the world – we spend all day refreshing social media, checking e‑mail, and browsing the internet in the palm of our hands. These smaller displays can suffer if overloaded with too much content, while simpler graphics cut through the clutter and capture our attention – an ideal approach for mobile advertising.

Authenticity is far from over as brands are still striving for transparency and integrity. Perhaps, though, this cleaner aesthetic is a new way to represent authentic sentiments with simplicity in a highly complex and layered world.
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