Stock images are incredibly useful to set the tone of your branding imagery. Take it from me, you should have a set of core branding images. They add depth to your branding identity by:
- creating a mood
- describing your vibe
- referencing your target audience
- evoking feelings and emotions
- creating a reference for your audience to easily recognise your brand
And no, I’m not talking about generic photos of teeth-whitened, posed models beaming at the camera. I’m referring to textures, abstract landscapes or nature-based images that add soul to your brand identity. Check out a perfect example here. They act as a solid base when choosing stock photography for advertisements, promotions and social media graphics. You can refer to them when commissioning branding photography, or searching for your own stock photographs… which is what I will guide you through in next week’s blog.
I know, I know, stock images have an awful reputation for being cheesy, staged and awkward. Admittedly, there are a whole lot out there that could actually discredit your brand, especially if they’re overused and your audience has seen them a hundred times. The other risk is that you choose images that don’t align with your brand, are unrealistic, or confusing. Before you start using stock photography for your brand, you need to have a clear idea of your colour palette, target audience, your brand’s core values and the emotions you’re trying to evoke.
Can I just Google an image and use it?
NO! I can’t stress this highly enough. Images that you find on Google are more than likely protected by copyright. Unless you have written permission to use them, they are a no-go zone.
Do I still need custom branding photography?
YES! Whilst stock images add depth and help to tell your unique brand story with textures, generic objects and visual cues, custom branding photography helps your audience connect with YOU, encouraging a feeling of trust. If you’re a product based business, it is a no brainer to have custom photography commissioned for your brand, but guess what?! Stock images can help guide your photographer so that your custom images work harmoniously with the rest of your branding elements!
So how do I choose what suits my brand?
You should select your core brand images based on:
- Colour – your images should reflect your colour palette, if only subtly
- Tone – have a clear notion of the tone of your brand (e.g. crisp and cool, soft, moody)
- Target audience – they MUST appeal to your target audience, and perhaps even portray your client avatar to foster empathy
- Symbols – you could incorporate strong symbols that refer to your brand’s offering (e.g. coffee!)
- Texture – consider using textures to help support your brand, according to the feelings you want to convey (e.g. sand, marble, fabric)
Not sure where or how to begin? Looking for guidance in defining a beautiful look and feel for your brand, including stunning branding imagery? I’d love to help. Check out my branding packages, or let’s hook up for a free 15 minute virtual coffee (my shout!).
Chat to you soon!
Yours in caffeination,
Brand stylist / graphic designer / illustrator