Images are something that we are constantly surrounded by as a way to take in information about brands and the world around us in a way that is more interesting than your basic text, but there is a science behind these images and why they are chosen. The visual impact of images helps to motivate the reader and influence them to find out more about the information they are seeing. Now, let’s take some time to understand how you can ensure that you are capturing your audience’s attention in the best way possible through proper imagery.
Choosing Images for your Site
HTML&CSS Book tells us that good images communicate with their audience, they have clarity. Both visually and in terms of psychological comprehension.
Categories of Images
- These images provide context to the viewer
- Answer questions such as:
- What does it look like?
- How is it used?
- When would I use it?
- Who is it for?
- These images sell an idealized image of a part of life
- They are most effective when they represent your brand’s values
Promoting a Product or Service
This process is harder to achieve effectively because naturally, we prefer to and are used to judging products in real life rather than via a photo, so sensory information is key.
- Tips to achieve an effective product photo
- Multiple images, from multiple viewpoints
- Add closeups
- Show the product in the context of which it will be used
- Include images of any variations in size, color, etc.
How to make your images sing
Yep, you heard that right, sing! Here are some tricks that can help make sure that the images you choose work for you:
Images containing animals or people
Images with a face are good to use in many situations, but there are also a number of things to keep in mind in order to make them most effective.
- Direction of gaze
- Have the gaze point in the direction of what you want the user to pay attention to on the website.
- Body language
- Much like body language says something in person, it does the same online. Have your photos mimic the vibe of what it is that your site is talking about and the message you are trying to convey.
- If the photos you choose reflect an event or lifestyle that your audience is likely to engage in then they will be more likely to be drawn to your product/service.
Consistency across a range of images
Consistency with your images helps to make your site appear more professional and put together.
- Stick to a certain color scheme.
- Present your photos with similar context, in other words, feature the photos with the same background in order to create a sense consistency for the viewer.
- Maintaining the same overall tone throughout the website is something that will not go unnoticed by your readers.
Creativity in images
Aim to provide images that create unique and imaginative perspectives. These perspectives will prove more memorable for your audience. Composition could include the use of negative space, cropping, or a different vantage point. Using composition in your photos will help to spice them up and show the reader’s something new. Altering the lighting in photos is another way to alter the mood of the photos and the webpage. Lighting can be dreamy or dramatic, innocent or sinister, gentle or harsh. Lastly, symbolism can be used to alter and enhance objects in order to inspire your audience in a way that goes beyond the obvious.
First, what is a hero image? According to Optimizely, hero images are the large banners you see at the top of web pages, typically made out of high quality photos or videos. These are important because they offer your audience an initial taste of what it is that your brand does and what it is that they may find on your website.
Why should I use a hero image?
- Adds a personal touch to your brand that then increases credibility and trust among your audience
- Leads to a positive first impression
- Can serve as a call-to-action
- May be used to present your businesses values
Things to consider when using hero images:
- Be aware of the size of your image
- Making the image/video too large could affect the pages loading time. The image is no longer effective if it means slowing down the amount of time it takes to bring the user to the page.
- Does your image add value?
- Stock images, while quick and cheap, are not as effective as they do not showcase YOUR brand as well. Taking the time to get photography or videography done of your products for the hero image will be most beneficial.
Creating a hero image is all about capturing the message that your brand wants to convey to its audience. This can be done in many different ways, so let’s break down some of the most helpful tips when it comes to standing out to your users.
- Lead with lines
- Lines can be used to draw the audience to certain areas of the website that you specifically want them to pay attention to.
- Call to action
- Placing a call to action up front in a hero image is a great way to make your viewers feel compelled to carry on with what it is that they are doing on your site.
- The human eye appreciates and is drawn to symmetry, so in this case a symmetrical hero image could be just what you need to attract the audience.
- Minimalism can be a classy, sophisticated way of representing your brands and the basics you want to portray at that time:
- Changing the perspective in which your audience typically might view your product allows you as a brand to stand out and make them think of using your product in this new and exciting way.
- Set a scene
- Creating a scenario in one’s head is an incredible way to force the reader to picture themselves in this scene and therefore feel drawn to your service even more.
- Consider using borders. Borders serve as a way to structure and reinforce the message that is contained in your hero image.
- As always, choose your photos wisely. Ensure that your chosen photo encapsulates your brand and the overall tone of the message.
Now you may be wondering where you should go to create a hero image of your own? Well lucky for you, Canva has a ton of great tools to help you do that!
Visuals help readers engage better and recall information quicker because we are able to process them faster. But there is such a thing as a forgettable visual. We encounter so much information each day, week, and year, so making sure that the visuals you put out there are effective is something to pay attention to. Making a memorable visual seems like a no brainer, but there is a science behind it, and I’m here to break that process down for you!
Why does it matter which visuals are memorable?
Dr. Carmen Simon discusses how our audiences make decisions based off of what it is that they remember. As a business you need to ask yourself the following:
- What makes people remember your content?
- How do we stay in people’s minds long term?
What are the elements of visual thinking for nondesigners?
- Think in pictures
- Visual Elements
- Universal Design Principles
Think in Pictures
- Presenting facts with pictures helps our brain digest the information better and retain it in the long haul
- Use arrows to indicate the order of information in a sequence
- Making numbers appear in a visual format is challenging, but it resonates better with the audience
- Abstract terms
- Metaphors are your best friend! Making a concept topic correlate to ideas that we better understand will help your reader follow along.
- Your pictures must serve a purpose. They have to mean something.
- Avoid clichés
- Use vivid, concrete words to help paint the picture in the reader’s head
- They help to break information down
- Group information accordingly
- Guide the attention of your reader
“At its most fundamental, graphic design is about organizing visual elements on a plane: manipulating graphics, various media, and typography to produce a visual order that reflects and enhances the messages of the content.Web Style Guide (page. 262) by Patrick J. Lynch etc. at ProQuest
So next time you need to choose visuals for a blog, website, or whatever it may be remember these tips, and think to yourself what visuals resonate with you? Using your own personal opinion and perspective can serve as great help when it comes to publishing work!