The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Images are an important part of any design. Not only can they provide visual interest, they can also help tell a story. Don’t underestimate the power of images. Well-written text is important. However, the right image will stay in the mind of the viewer much longer. Your images choices must go under some consideration. Here are rules for using images more effectively.
Use high-quality images
Different platforms and displays require different types of images. Print projects require high resolution images of 300dpi. Contrast that against screen resolution which is 72dpi. What looks sharp on your screen, will not necessarily look as sharp when printed. The right format can make all the difference.
The images you use shouldn’t appear blurry, pixelated or stretched out. It doesn’t only look sloppy, it will cause a negative reaction from your viewer.
Keep in mind, you can take a large image and reduce it. You can’t take a small image and enlarge it without compromising the quality.
Avoid generic stock images
Stock image sites are a valuable design tool. Not everyone has access or the budget for a photographer and stock sites can fill that need. They can also have a “stock image” feel about them. If you want to feature your team, you’re better off not using a staged support team image like the smiling woman at a desk with a headset on. The viewer knows she’s a model and doesn’t work for you. To establish trust, present an honest image of your business.
If your photos reflect reality they are much more valuable than ones that don’t. The viewer will feel a much more human connection to authentic images than staged or false ones.
Use relevant images
Spend a lot of time on the Web or looking at printed materials, you’ll notice that companies in the same industry use common design elements. Many corporations overuse images of large, impressive buildings on the sites and promotional materials. If a business is trying convey a sense of a large, modern, strong corporation there’s going to be shots looking up at a skyscraper.
Unfortunately, these images give no information about the company except that they might be paying a lot in rent every month. At best these types of image are ignored, at worst they prove distracting to the viewer.
Avoid purely decorative images
Certainly on your promotional materials and website, every inch counts. The images used should serve a functional purpose. As a result if your images only purpose is to look nice, they don’t add any value to the viewer’s experience.
Moreover, images should reinforce the impression you are trying to make. Don’t use an image only because you like it, consider the message that it is sending. Is that the message that you want to convey.
Provide captions or ALT text for images
When designing for the web, don’t overlook users with visual impairments. Screen readers help people to interact with online content. Providing alternative text or a caption for each important image allows screen readers give the users meaningful information.
In conclusion, following a few rules for using images more effectively can make an impact on the impression your business is trying to make.