The year in pictures: Getty Images’ top searches

Getty Images’ annual top searches reflect a mix of the year’s events, news, sports, popular celebrities and other major stories and trending ideas that connect the thinking of our visitors around the globe.

Our search data and creative research teams collaborate on identifying terms that capture the shifts and changes of our time to inform their work. Digging deep into the data they are able to pick up on the cultural mood.

In 2014 our list of top searched celebrities is led by Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift. All of them had already made it into the top ten most-searched celebrities in past years, but managed to grow their popularity. The three women had a great year. Beyoncé enjoyed the success of her album, live performances at the Grammys as well as the MTV Video Music Awards and a sold-out summer tour with Jay Z. Kim Kardashian got married, released her app and almost ‘broke the internet’ with her appearance on the cover of Paper Magazine, while Taylor Swift released her record-breaking new album, 1989.

Three celebrities that didn’t make the top ten (yet), but who saw a spike in search interest with our visitors are George Clooney’s newly wedded wife Amal Alamuddin, Lupita Nyang’o and Anne Hathaway.

We all remember the pictures of the great matches in Brazil. And the FIFA World Cup turned out to be our top searched sport event and ‘football’ (soccer) the most searched sport on Getty Images.

The two top searched news events in 2014 were ‘Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’ and ‘Malaysia Airlines Flight 17’. Other news events that dominated searches in 2014 were the conflict in Ukraine, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the rise of ISIS and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the creative side, the three top conceptual searches evolved around the themes of ‘co-operation’, ‘success’ and ‘connection’. Within the top ten concepts, visitors showed more interest in imagery visualising ‘inspiration’, ‘direction’ and ‘change’ this year than in 2013.

The popular topics were fairly predictable: ‘sport’, ‘science & technology’, ‘business’, ‘finance’ and ‘healthy lifestyle’. But fast-rising keywords highlight areas in which our customers are starting to show increasing interest and for the second year we saw a significant spike for the term ‘selfie’, echoing the increased significance of mobile photography and honest self-portraits.

Another phrase we are currently following is ’3D printing’. As more companies put their weight behind the technology, 3D printers are becoming more affordable and easier to use and industry experts expect 2015 to be the year when 3D printing reaches the mainstream. 

While many of the search trends capture the global zeitgeist, the regional differences are always worth checking out. World Cup winner Germany celebrated ‘soccer’ in their top ten searched terms, while visitors from France expressed their love for food and customers in Japan showed the importance of technology. 

  • Check out New Zealand’s most downloaded images of 2014 here
  • To find out more about the key visual trends that the creative team predicts this year download the free Creative in Focus book. 

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