5 Tips For Creating Great Visual Content
Images and graphics are very important marketing tools as the web is gravitating more towards visual content. Images immediately engage web users as well as connect to them on a deeper level than words ever can. Many marketers have figured this out, but they seem to forget about the reason for images. Today, web images are displayed on a multitude of screens and formats whether they are being viewed on a phone, computer, tablet, etc. It is important to test out viewing your company’s pictures on multiple different platforms to ensure that they are effective.
- Images on your website homepage
Many companies today include an image on their website homepage and place it front and center when visitors view their site. Not only is this common, but a useful tool to make a lasting first impression for the visitor. Usually these images also contain text containing a motto or link to the company’s products and services. If text is included, it must be visible. The best way to ensure this is to place it in a natural area for the viewer such as the top left corner (since people read from left to right) and to to make sure that there is good contrast in the area that the text is placed.
- Images on product listings
Images used for product listings are usually cropped into a square, so it is important to start thinking strategically from the get go. The products in the image must be placed and framed in a way that would work with this square crop. It is also a good idea to leave plenty of space in the image around the product so it does not look crowded. It is also important to consider if the images have contrast and would pop when placed on a white web page as well as if they are cohesive with each other. Be aware of what is in the background, will someone see your product or will they see everything around it? If you are using your iphone, tap the person or product so the camera focuses specifically in that area. Also consider consistency in backgrounds for your product images – will they all be on a solid color background or outdoors or in your store, etc. Think about how you take your product images and what they will look like when they show up on your website pages and/or social network feeds.
- Blog or newsletter images
Images are a great tool to use in blogs or newsletters to help people visualize your brand, create a break from a long strand of text, or to use as a visual aid to strengthen the text. When using images for these purposes it is important to remember to keep the pictures under 800px wide so they are easily viewed on all screen sizes. It may also be effective to use multiple images in a blog or newsletter (i.e. when providing instructions, how to). This can be done by resizing each image then combining them into a collage within a picture editing software.
- Images used in printed materials
Pictures used in printed materials need to be taken with the highest quality setting the camera being used will allow in order for the files to have a high resolution of at least 300dpi.This is so they are visible and professional looking to the viewer even after the are printed. These images then need to be saved as PSD or TIFF files so you can edit them, create layers, and add text. After the images to print are selected, they need to be converted to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) because these are the colors used in the printing process. This is necessary because cameras output pictured in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) which usually works well for digital viewing, but not when printed out. If the images are left in RGB to be printed, they colors may not turn out the way you want them to. Lastly, the final product that is sent to the printers needs to be in a high-resolution PDF format. This process pertains to images used in magazines, flyers, posters, banners, brochures, and business cards. If you are working with an agency and have your own print provider, it’s important to provide your designers/agency with the required sizing and resolution to mitigate back and forth revisions.
- Images used on social media
No matter what social media platform is being used (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc), images need to be optimized for the web. This usually breaks down to under 1,000px wide on the long side of the image. Images used need to be visually appealing and captivating in order to grab the attention of and engage social media users. Also make sure they are high quality and do not decrease the professional representation of the overall brand. It is important to take advantage of social media images by tagging and linking back to your company’s account and website. Maybe even include a logo or some sort of brand representation in the actual photo so that users are directed back to your company whenever the images are saved or shared.