Sponsored: Making the most of stock imagery: tips on creating an eye-catching design

Harry Tunnecliffe
22 August, 2014
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Stock imagery, design, help, macworld australiaIt’s common knowledge among advertising and marketing communications industries that regardless of what you are designing, a well-chosen image can often grab audiences attention better than carefully crafted text on its own.

And with the affordability of high-quality stock imagery – you have no excuse not to use these images in your designs. Especially since you don’t have to create them yourself.

Here are our tips on what to look for in stock imagery and how to maximise impact.

Let the image(s) tell the story

If you’re promoting a person, place or product, then anchor that image prominently in your design. When using people – use his or her face; when using a place – make the place prominent; and if it is a product – show it or show someone using it.

It’s quite simple and helps the audience visualise what you are trying to communicate.

If you are without a good product photo, try to utilise stock images instead of paying for a photo shoot. For example, if you’re promoting a sports store sale, a photo of either equipment, athletes, sporting field, or all three combined could be effective; a cooking school could have photos of spices, utensils etc.

The stock images above withdraw more emotion from a viewer than any text could, while also providing a setting for the design.  

Use striking imagery

The use of unusual, powerful and colourful imagery is encouraged to make the most of the precious few moments you have to grab someone’s attention – especially humour (when appropriate).

Grabbing the attention from an audience is critical in encouraging them to take the next step – actually reading your text. In the age of the internet and short attention spans, getting initial attention and having your message read has never been more difficult.

Go big or go home

Imagery captured or cropped in interesting ways, or attractive imagery used at a large size can also have a big impact. For example, if you’re promoting a pet store, you might use a big, yet unusual, image of one of the pets you serve.

Add an unusual background

The importance of including a foreground, middle and background in photos is well known to photographers to help establish depth and to lead viewers through the image – this is also relevant in graphic design.

Adding layers to your design, such as adding texture to solid-colour backgrounds via imagery and bars of colour to highlight information, can make your message far more engaging.

Try to use at least three graphical elements in your piece, not counting the text, as shown in these before (left) and after (right) versions of two fictitious ads.

Use conceptual imagery 

Stock imagery really shows its worth here, because since most stock images are used in advertising, contributors to stock-image collections have become experts at communicating concepts in clever ways, through the use of tools such as Adobe’s Photoshop, to create out-of-the-ordinary and funny images, while staying and relevant.

Stock imagery is great for communicating hard-to-explain concepts, such as cloud computing. 

Include faces for an emotional connection

Faces should be used in your design whenever possible. Appropriately selected faces will help people identify with the message in your design.

On the whole, including images in your design will help your message demand the attention that text alone may struggle to gain. And when you use online services such as GraphicStock, the process is enjoyable and simple.


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