How to use images in your collateral
The cliche is true: A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s especially true with your marketing collateral. The first order of marketing is to grab attention. Text descriptions alone won’t convert anyone to your side. Enter images! How do you choose the right images? How do you find them? How should they be used? 
 
Remember your brand.
  • In branding, you have more leeway with images than with other design elements. Images don’t have to match your color palette. But if you roam too far afield from your brand’s path, there will be a disconnect, thereby confusing your customers. Stick with a similar style or tone. If you are using illustrations, be consistent and make sure they are all by the same illustrator, in the same style.
 
Where do I look for images?
  • The best images are the ones taken by a professional photographer or illustrator whom you hire for the job. They are most familiar with your needs and can deliver a truly custom selection of images that no one else will have. You’ll find that professional photographers are worth their fees.
  • If you don’t have the budget for professional photography, start searching on stock photo sites. Don’t limit your search to free images; those are typically of lower quality, both in concept and skill. And don’t try to capture Google images; they are not legally permissible for commercial use unless you gain direct permission from the owner.
  • It can be very time-consuming to search images. Take advantage of the sites that will do custom searches for you.
  • The deeper you dig into the pages of a stock photo site’s offerings, the older the images will be. You’ll start to see dated looks and approaches. Stay with newer images so that your collateral has a fresh, current look.
  • You’ll need high-resolution images (300 dpi) for print use, and lower resolution for web use (72 dpi or 96 dpi). A high-res image can be converted for web, but a low-res one cannnot be successfully converted for print, unless the original dimensions are really large. Therefore, when purchasing stock, buy the highest resolution and size available, so you’ll be ready for both print and web.
 
What should be in the images?
  • Search for ‘concept’ images, and you’ll get results that are not too literal or overly detailed. For instance, search not just the word “network” but instead search “network concepts”. Another benefit: Conceptual images age more slowly than literal ones.
  • Should you include people in your photos? Yes! People readily identify with human faces and figures. But be prepared to update them more often because fashion, hairstyles, computers and smartphones age quickly.
 
How do I use the images?
  • Use them everywhere! On your website, email campaigns, brochures, posters, exhibits, office signs. The same image can be used throughout one campaign, and for every medium.
  • Images can stand alone, or be used as a background for text.
  • A grid layout can be very impactful, and an image in a circle shape is popular now in design. Another current trend is a color overlay to achieve a monochromatic look. One of its advantages is a more even background for any overlaid text.
  • Don’t be afraid to use large images; they have much more impact than small ones.
 
Back to branding – again.
  • Searching for the right images is all part of branding. They convey a certain feeling, and that feeling should be entirely consistent with your brand’s message.