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How to Use Images Effectively in Your Brand Marketing and Design

By EyeEm Team - 8 min read

A guest post by our friends from 99designs

Naturally, we write a lot about photography on the EyeEm Blog. We especially love it when your photos get discovered and used by image buyers across the creative industries. One way that can happen is when designers use photos in branding or identity design. Today, we have an articles from our friends at 99designs for you. In it, they explain how images get used by their many talented designers – and give some advice on how to pick the best photos.

There are many elements that go into creating beautiful design. From the array of tools and components that feed into high quality production values, imagery is one of the parts you should really pay attention to. It pays off. Studies have suggested that 90% of information that goes into the brain is visual. Making your design, and all of your marketing content visually appealing is crucial. Use well produced and well selected images and you’re on the right track to getting your message across better than the rest. That’s important stuff.

What effect do images have on us?

We see them in a multitude of ways daily so it’s easy to overlook the effect that they can have on us. For one thing, pictures make information easier to remember, so it makes a message stick. It may be an over-used saying, but a picture paints a thousand words, and you’ll get your point across faster and more succinctly with carefully chosen images. Immediacy is key in marketing.

Images also play a huge part in maintaining your brand. Think about how Apple uses slick, clean, simple and powerful images of their products; how they let them talk for themselves. Or how Nike stick to clean, powerful, fun and colorful images that portray their sportswear in action and the lifestyle it stands for. Tell your story, show off your personality and be consistent.

People are generally more willing to give you time and attention when your images look great and they resonate with them emotionally. Got a lot of text to digest? Split it up or replace it with some high quality images and you’ll see your engagement metrics improve enormously.

How do I put this into practice?

Well-curated images that match with the corporate identity of your company are useful for every part of your marketing mix. Think about all the touch points you have with your audience and how your images are being used. High quality photography, and the way in it interacts with your design, can elevate a design instantly, thus increasing customer engagement and conversion. Here’s a selection of examples that show how to get it right.

Website

Content plays a huge part in telling the story of your brand, your people, your service or your product. Invest time in your website content design right and it will pay off in sales.

Design by Mike Barns

Social Media Profiles & Campaigns

A growing channel that you need to give attention to. Worldwide, there are over 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users and social networks across the board are where consumers today and engaging with brands they love via content. It’s the perfect place to tell your story via imagery and show a little personality.

Design by cectro for Wanelo

Banner ads

Get your message out to a wider audience with banner ads and use images that will resonate immediately. Think about where the banners will be placed and the content that surrounds them. Is it a brand-led message or is it a more product-specific message? Use your images to portray your message clearly and you’ll continue to effectively engage with users when they’re in that all-important research phase.

Design by Kuz:Design for m.wegen

E-mail and Newsletters

Email is one of your most effective channels for branding, sales retention and building a strong relationship with your customers. Your users will get a ton of promo emails to their inbox every day so make sure your images make their mark and give your audience a reason to open them. Make it immediate, clear and full of personality.

Design by Codeflex for Dmweissman

Menu design

Many say we eat with our eyes. Use photography smartly with your menu production to whet appetites, give diners a sneak preview and upsell parts of your well crafted and delicious menu to hungry diners.

Design by sonics:lab for nancyon55

Packaging

Show them what you’ve got with powerful packaging design. Showcase your product at its best or in action using clear and impactful photographs. Sell the story and you can show your user from the shelves that this is the item they need.

Design bymilan.kelecevic for gripboost

Flyers & Brochures

When selling an event or a new product range, you really need to select your photography wisely. Make sure you’re setting the scene for what’s in store and use clear pictures of your products. Consistency is also key again here – do you want your products to all be shown on a model, against a white background etc. Choose what works for your brand and stick to it.

Design by YaseenArt for Stormline

Book Covers

With something as text heavy as a book, the cover really can paint a picture of what’s inside and represent the essence of the story. It can depict genre, mood and setting perfectly. Selectively choosing imagery for your book cover design can strike a chord with your target audience and often become iconic.

Design by Meella

Powerpoint Templates

For potential clients, partners, stakeholders or investors, you’ll want to deliver a presentation that keeps them engaged and leaves them impressed. With images really having a much faster effect on our audience, you can use these to your advantage in Power Point decks, especially when you will often have a limited time to present. Think about how you place these alongside data or learnings and your audience will take away the key points from your presentation much more effectively.

Design by YaseenArt for jon.campbell

How can I make sure I choose a good image?

We’ve shown you some examples of well-produced, carefully curated images, but what are the main takeaways?

You should have already defined your brand style and characteristics, and it’s useful to have a set of guidelines on what sort of images are and aren’t in-keeping with this. Use this as a rule book for any design that features photos as part of your marketing toolkit. So if “adventurous” is one of your core brand personality traits, you’ll want to think about having photography that demonstrates a journey, action or excitement. Is your business built around structure, systems and data? If so, you may want your photos to be more diagrammatic, set-up, ordered and use clean lines.

Think about your audience and target group. Think about how this will emotionally resonate with them. Is it relevant to them? Does it show how your product or service will impact them? Choose images that fit with your audience’s lifestyle, desires and needs. So for example, Skagen sell mid-range watches aimed at a modern, style-conscious audience. Their images are clean, youthful and set in the city thus reaching an audience who can relate or aspire to this.

Make sure all touch points with your audience are consistent. Keep telling the same story wherever your brand message goes. Your brand guidelines and photography checklist will help you with this.

Maintain your quality. Make sure you’ve selected the correct resolution you’ll need for the product – this can vary if it’s needed for web or for a printed item like packaging design.

Crucially you need to have all the rights to use your images and that they’re not being used in another capacity by another brand.

Then you’re set to go. Creating, selecting and using photography in your design is one of the fun bits. So go ahead it and make your brand shine.

Header image by @ThomasKern.

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