Connect with users through imagery

1. Pick an appropriate style for imagery to reflect your tone of voice.

Depending on your brand, audience, and how you want to project yourself, different image styles will be appropriate. For example, you should consider: Should I use photography or illustration – Photography can feel more genuine and professional, while illustrations can be more fun and approachable. Are you going to commission imagery or use stock – Commissioned imagery will be unique and specific to your brand but can prove more expensive. Consider color – Black and white photography can appear classy, while bright, vibrant colors are more friendly. Consider illustrative style – For example, angular illustrations may appear more masculine than illustrations that use many curves. Consider photographic style – For example, close-ups are more intimate and personal, while wide shots are more epic and expansive.

2. Show your audience in the images you choose.

Imagery should include representations of the audience you are trying to reach. If people can see themselves in images, they are more likely to consider the offering as being meant for them.

3. Include images people can aspire to, but avoid those aspirations being unachievable.

When showing images of people, make sure those images are aspirational. For example, when promoting a fitness app, you could show fitter people than those who are likely to use the product. This demonstrates that the app can help them achieve their goals. However, do not make the aspiration unachievable. For example, if you are trying to reach middle-aged mums, don’t show professional athletes. Show a fit middle-aged mum enjoying the app.

4. Make sure imagery helps explain the offering by showing it in action.

Where possible, show the offering in the imagery. That may be a person using the offering or a demo of the offering itself. For example, if selling an app, show screens from the app. However, if you are selling a motorbike, show people enjoying the great outdoors on it.

5. Use imagery to draw attention to content that further reinforces the message.

For example, show people looking at critical copy or calls to action. We tend to follow the eye line of others.

6. Test whether images resonates by running a survey asking users whether the image creates the desired response.

Don’t rely on personal opinion to judge if the imagery is appropriate. Instead, test it with users. Show users a selection of imagery and ask them whether they feel the imagery communicates the feeling you wish to engender. For example, you could show them an image and ask them how strongly they agree with the statement, “This image feels friendly.”