4 Tips for Choosing Professional Brand Imagery
The images that represent your business set the tone for the quality of work you do.
Consciously and subconsciously, we process every image we see within the blink of an eye. In fact, this study shows that human beings assess an image within 13 milliseconds. Each one of them communicates something to us—a message, an attitude, an emotion, or all of the above.
This is why the images you choose to represent your business, known as your brand imagery, are so critical to your overall success.
These images, used in marketing, advertising, brochures, websites, or any other form of print or digital media, work together to attract more customers or are contributing to the loss of them.
People use visuals to help them determine your level of professionalism, quality of work, and whether your brand aligns with their preferences. If your brand imagery does not grab and hold their attention, they will ignore anything else you have to say.
Yet as important as brand imagery is, many small business owners struggle with it or overlook it altogether. When you finish this article, you will be able to:
- Select brand imagery that resonates with your target market
- Know what it takes to choose professional images
- Understand the different types of brand images and uses for each
Brand Imagery vs. Brand Image
First, let’s be clear on the difference between brand imagery and brand image. As we will discover in this article, brand imagery consists of the entire collection of images that represent your business. Working together, these images are the visual component of your brand identity.
These include your logo, photographs, website images, and all visual design components. Infographics, slide presentations, and social media posts also contain brand imagery. I’ll go into more detail on each of these in the section that follows.
A brand image is the perception people have of your business. It’s how your target audience sees you, which includes your reputation and position in the marketplace. Your business’s image evolves over time and can be orchestrated through a brand strategy.
How to Choose Brand Imagery
To select brand imagery that looks professional and accomplishes its purpose, consider the color, context, typography, style, and content of all the images you choose. These elements set a tone and mood that ideally align with the identity you want to establish.
The challenges of developing brand imagery are the same as for other design projects. Every successful design is a combination of art and science. Unless you have experience with design or are comfortable doing it yourself, I recommend hiring a professional.
For visual design to be effective, they must not only look pleasing to the eye, but should also align with your brand identity, voice, and target market.
For example, if you want to communicate in a serious or authoritative tone, use dark colors and bold typefaces. Likewise, sleek typefaces and light or medium colors convey modernity and elegance.
4 Tips for Selecting Brand Imagery
1. Start with Your Business
Think about the image and reputation you want to create for your business. How do you want your target audience to see you?
How your prospective customers—and even competitors—view your business will have a major impact on the position your business holds in the marketplace. Once you establish an image, it will be difficult to change and can even be detrimental to sales, so take your time and choose wisely.
2. Align It with Your Target Audience
All of your brand images serve as indicators of quality and professionalism. It’s often difficult for people to describe exactly what it is about a website, advertisement, social media profile, or other visual that attracts them or turns them off. But the images a business incorporates in its brand communication has a major impact on the opinions prospective customers will have.
While it may take some time to get to know your audience well enough to choose images they will like, thoroughly researching your target market provides enough information to help you get started. Here are some questions to assist you with this step:
- What is important to them?
- What types of businesses, products, and services are they associated with?
- Can you envision them and what their lives are like?
3. Create a Mood Board
Creating a mood board will help you determine the themes of your brand imagery, colors, tones, and style before getting too detailed. It’s an efficient way to begin, modify, and finalize your designs without expending too much time and energy.
Here are some examples of imagery tone:
And here some examples of themes:
- Black and White
There are as many tones and themes as there are personality types and styles. Engaging in the mood board exercise will allow you to experiment and find what you believe will work best for the brand image you want to create.
4. Use Different Types of Brand Imagery
Any visual representation of your brand is considered a form of brand imagery. This isn’t limited to pictures. Graphics and video are also included. The following is a list of the different image types and suggestions for how to use them.
Stock Photos: Sites like Unsplash and Adobe offer an assortment of high-definition images for public use, usually free of charge. However, be aware that these sources are available to everyone, including your competitors. For this reason, it’s best to limit the use of them. As always, be sure you have permission to use any stock images you find. Certain licensing restrictions may apply.
Screenshots: This is a good way to implement custom imagery, especially if you want to share information from your website or presentations. However, be quality is of primary concern. Screenshots tend to have low resolution or poor quality, which will negatively impact your design.
Charts, Graphs, and Infographics: These are great for providing statistical data or other information related to trends and numbers. Be sure they are clear and easy to understand without being cluttered or contain too much information.
Photography: Custom photography is one of the most effective ways to create and develop your brand image. Using photography gives you an opportunity to be creative, demonstrate your work, and stand out from competitors. After all, you will be the only one using these images.
Custom Graphic Design: Like photography, an excellent opportunity to show off your creativity but with an artistic flare. While custom graphic design work can be costly, it can also make the biggest impact on visual branding.
Video: Videos are becoming more popular and are an integral part of your brand imagery. Like all other images, video should align with your brand colors, theme, and overall messaging.
Well-designed brand imagery that resonates with your target audience sets the tone for the quality of work you do and is a critical component of your brand identity. Allowing your personality and creativity to show through in your imagery sets you apart from competitor. Choose wisely using the steps I have provided.
Be sure to implement all forms of brand imagery such as custom photography, screenshots, charts, graphs, and video.
Remember, we are here is you need help. Email me personally at [email protected] with any questions you have.
Until next time,
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