Imagery plays a huge part in pretty much everything you can think of. From branding and marketing to personal identity and credibility. Visuals can help establish your website to an audience and build a rapport with them that can stick long after they’ve left. The question you simply have to ask yourself is “What visuals should I choose?”
1.) What to Look for in A Visual.
Choosing the right visual can make all the difference in how your website presents itself. A dull stock photo may grab a viewer’s attention, but keeping their attention and directing it elsewhere is sure to be another story entirely. To truly make your images stand out for users, you have to take into consideration several factors.
Emphasizing Your Brand.
What is the general vibe of your website? What do you want people to take away from your website with just a simple glance? With Imagery, you can provide a major representation of your brand while answering these questions for your audience. Visuals not only show exactly what you’re about, but how you’re different from other similar brand names, and what identity you want to cultivate to others.
Using Real People and Places.
People are social creatures, and one way of capturing a person’s attention is to show others in ways that are relatable to them or share their interests. Visuals demonstrating real people or places are a good way to grab your audience and keep them around. For an example of the latter, clothing stores like JC Penney are especially fond of showing you real people wearing in-store clothing products. Lifestyle Images (Which we’ll get to later) are an especially notable example of this part.
Consistency is Key.
Above all else, keeping a common theme to your work online is practically a necessity for all websites. Maintaining visual consistency will give you an air of professionalism with your audience and enhance the trust of your brand with others. Finding images (along with other design choices) that work for you and your brand will go a long way in selling your website to others.
2.) What Images to Choose From.
With all the above factors in mind, figuring out what kind of images to choose from can potentially be seen as a daunting task. As you may soon find, however, visuals for your website can be easily divided into three major categories. Though these categories can overlap with one another, all of them can fill a very specific niche all to themselves. Let’s list them as follows:
- Lifestyle Images
- Promotional Visuals
- Hero Images
All three visual categories can provide a unique benefit to your website that helps it appeal to users. To better explore these benefits, let’s look at all three individually to better define them.
3.) Lifestyle Images/Visuals
Lifestyle Images are visuals that provide context for the audience.
…Not enough of a description? Okay, let’s dive a bit deeper then. Lifestyle Images are generally used to depict something that the viewer themselves can be capable of doing, or a place that they can visit. Want to show a product that can be used outdoors? Show a picture of a camper setting up their tent! Need to demonstrate a local beach and how fun it would be to visit? Present an image of a happy couple enjoying their time in the sun! Lifestyle Images help the audience for your website visualize what the experience would be like for themselves.
Lifestyle Images are often idealized examples of a brand experience. A user may not have the same sort of moment that such a visual provides them, but the idea is enough to grab the user’s attention. So, with a Lifestyle Image, an individual is likely to see a product or place at the apex and in turn grow an interest themselves.
4.) Promotional Images/Visuals.
Promotional Images are a way to present a product for a customer in much the same way as presenting it in person. Providing a user with as much information on the product as it possibly can. Visuals of this description are more frequently used by online storefronts whose goal is to sell a product, with examples including Amazon, Walmart, and many more.
Promotional Images often have the most difficult job of any visual, as unlike other visuals the goal is to emulate looking at a product like you would in a physical store. As a result, Promotional Images do so by showing a product at multiple angles, showing close-ups or large size photos, showing the product in use, and showing variations. A clothing product would benefit from showing someone wearing the clothing in question, while a pet store would show a product in use with whatever pet it is for. Above all else, Promotional Images are often used to show the best aspects of a product that it has.
5.) The Hero Image.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Hero Image of a website – perhaps one of the most important visuals you can have for your website. The Hero Image serves as an introduction to your audience, giving them a first impression of what you’re all about and what you have to offer. The image itself can demonstrate a lot of things: a product, a place, people, or even just a nifty visual. But ultimately, the Hero Image is an effective “hello” to your users.
Hero Images are used for far more than just saying hello, however. They can also be used to promote a product or the brand in question. Showcasing new products through a powerful image or video. It can also be a banner demonstrating the values of the website. The way a Hero Image is presented can also prove incredibly versatile: allowing for a minimalist presentation, a presentation with photos, and even experiment with type and font instead.
When building a website for your audience, always take into consideration your choices of visuals and images. Images can provide a unique idea for others of your brand and what you represent. Choosing the right images and keeping them in-line with your ideas can be an effective make-it-or-break-it moment for your website. With the following info, you can make a beautiful and interesting website in the blink of an eye!