Some of the best websites I have come across are simple in design and spectacular in their images.
Take away the images and you are left with blah. And yet, so many people have blah branding and images – be it a website or any print collateral – simply because they don’t recognize the power of an image.
Have you heard the phrase, One Picture Worth Ten Thousand Words? Well, it’s true. It can be as simple as custom illustrations, like in Power Clean Meals or vibrant images like 20Watts, or a combination of both. Creating brand consistency with custom photography and or illustrations is something that is often overlooked and undervalued. There are other factors that affect branding, which I had briefly outlined in a post written wayyy back in 2015, 6 Steps to Designing Your Brand, but this post is all about the visuals.
Since photography isn’t my expertise, I decided to ask my photographer friend, Magdalena M, to share her thoughts on branding and images. Magda and I worked together for a family owned business, as photographer and graphic designer. We kept in touch even after we parted ways from the company. She attended my wedding, took preggo shots of me and even did a shoot with my first born. Needless to say, we go way way back. Trust me when I say, Magda knows her stuff.
As a photographer and art director, I manage the look of a brand on behalf of clients and the magazines I curate (Embark Magazine and Remark Magazine). Using photography to translate brand positioning is key to consistency and creating relevant, relatable ideas. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with images to project your brands message.
This is crucial to knowing your brand voice, where you need to position your brand and how you fit within the market. Take a look at what your competition is doing, mainly to differentiate your brand from others but also see what they are doing well, or not well at all. This will give you an idea of which angle you are striving for and what type of visuals you’d like to create.
This is the hard part! How do you stand out? How do you create something different, something that people care about? Most often, people connect with things that feel genuine. As an individual or business, you want to show that you are real and that YOU care. The concept needs to reflect your values without coming across as staged or phony. It has to speak with relevance, in addition to attracting your future customers.
When developing ideas, keep in mind your brand colours and the design of your logo and marketing materials. This simple yet crucial aspect will determine the planning of what type of work needs to be created for your brand. Every last detail must be addressed, such as the colour of attire you will wear or a colour accent wall in your office – it all creates a pleasant visual cohesiveness, but also reaffirms your brand aesthetic.
Having your designer and photographer work together is optimal to developing your brand. As a photographer, I need to understand the orientation of the work; are we shooting portrait or landscape? Do we have sizing or framing restrictions? What is the focal point of the images? Often a client may not have the answers, but the designer has direction for specs, sizing and any other issues that can be discussed prior to the shoot taking place.
What is the value of creating custom work? Clients often consider stock photography an option, and it may be helpful with getting things done faster, but does it speak your brand language? Does your client base recognize it as yours? Custom photography creates a voice that is individual to your brand, and delivers content that is relatable and honest. Its a lot easier to reach a client when your business comes across genuine and approachable, while maintaining its identity.
Magdalena M, Photographer and Art Directorhttp://www.magdalena-m.com/