A significant element of the design work we do for our clients and their websites is ensuring that they are make the most of their images, ensuring their websites maintain a consistent visual appearance.
Image selection is key to brand consistency. Depending on the use, there are a few things to consider when selecting imagery for use on your printed and digital publications. We’ve put together a list of some of our top tips below, using our recently launched site for Coffee#1 as our basis.
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the original image is, the better. Images can be scaled down much easier than they can be scaled up, so make sure the image you’ve chosen to use is as big as possible. When you scale down from a larger image, you needn’t worry about loss of clarity or pixellation – the image will remain sharp and crisp, with the same smooth colour transitions as the original. On the other hand, if you are scaling up an image, you are likely to encounter issues such as loss of detail and visible pixels which make the image blurred and looking like a mosaic.
Ensure the images are high quality
Image resolution is something to pay particular attention to if you are relying heavily on stock photography. Try to download the highest resolution image possible (ideally 300dpi), as this gives the most scope for resizing. You can easily make the images smaller for web at a later point, providing the source image is of a good enough quality. Ensuring the highest quality images for your visuals is a simple way to represent your brand and demonstrate attention to detail.
[Dimensions: 4953x3302, Resolution: 300dpi]
Select blog images with care
Blog images should be used to support the title of the article. The role of the visual element is not to explain your blog, but rather to help the title stand out – your blog title should be descriptive enough. Take particular care when using stock imagery for your blogs, as they can be a minefield of clichéd images. To avoid falling into the trap of using tired tropes, take your time and be creative with your image searches.
Often, less is more
A common mistake when selecting images, aside from clichéd stock, is trying to convey too much with a single visual. A sure-fire way to ensure your site looks slick and professional instead of crowded and hastily thrown together is to keep your imagery simple and bold. Trying to say too much with an image can often backfire, just as being too literal or relying on text within your images is - a good abstract image is usually much better than a poor literal one.
Use images with a single focal point, message or scenario instead of incorporating multiple elements, and avoid using image montages at all costs. Another benefit of having a focal point for you images is that, when used optimally (as illustrated in the example below), it would allow you to optimise your visuals for changing screen resolutions and sizes to account for growth in mobile usage.
Try to create a visual style with your images
A great way to ensure your brand is easily recognisable for customers is by creating a consistent styles for of all visuals across all platforms. From the logo and the typography of your business to the colour scheme and the style of photography, ensuring that all of your images follow the same style is an easy way to create a feeling of flow and uniformness.
When developing a photography guide for your brand, consider what response you want the images on your site to evoke, and how these can adapt while still reflecting your brand.
Your visuals are a key part of your brand, and can often make all the difference between winning a new customer or having them never return to your site again. So make sure you’re choosing the effective images by ensuring they are the optimal size and resolution, keeping them simple and in line with your brand, and always selecting them with care for detail.