5 Considerations when Using Design and Imagery in Your Communications
READ TIME: 2:17 (Or less, you speedy reader, you.)
As I mentioned in previous blog post, 3 Cs of Communications, not everyone is a reader. Some people are viewers and don't even deal in text (content) if they can avoid it. They are "picture people". I’ve even heard a director-level manager say, “I don’t want all this text; give me a picture.” And, that was about single paragraphs of text linking off to articles.
This particular person wasn’t a “reader” in general. With companies trying to do more with less, everyone’s time is at a premium these days. It also takes energy and effort to focus attention which leads to brain fatigue. So, you can see why your potential audience is selective about what they spend their time on.
This is where imagery comes in. Graphics can help focus attention; design can
create atmosphere that inspires emotion; and emotion helps viewers pay attention.
Seems like a tall order, getting someone to pay attention by use of imagery. And, make no mistake, improperly utilized, graphics and design can also create a distraction.
Here are 5 considerations when using design and imagery in your communications:
Use Color for Highlights
Instead of your basic play-it-safe bold, or worse, all CAPs approach, use a single color to highlight headings or important sections. Use an analogous color to complement. If you have access to a branded color palette, play with combinations within the brand guidelines.
Choose Quality Graphics
Use original-source graphics. If a transparent background is desired, you will need to use a PNG file type. JPEG is a more compressed file type that will take less time to load. You can get a monthly subscription or credits towards images (depending how often you need graphics) at stock photography and image providers like Bigstock. Just remember that cut/paste is for amateurs and will diminish your end-product.
If you’re new to design, a good rule of thumb is less is more. Try to keep elements to a minimum to reduce the chance of introducing clutter. Good design is clean, complementary and balanced.
Be Aware of Whitespace
Whitespace is the empty space between text, graphics and other elements. Essentially, it is used as a visual break that also helps focus readers’ attention to what is important. Communications need it; especially in a world of content overload.
Proportion is the balance of objects or items in relation to one another. Just like a huge sofa in a small room makes a room look smaller, a large graphic may draw readers’ attention away from your content. A good way to think of proportions is to consider what you’re trying to highlight most.
As always, keep in mind the goals of your communication as you make design decisions. Include graphic design and imagery to enhance, highlight, and improve readability within your communications messages.