Online Graphics Guide for Newbies
Visual consistency is very important when it comes to branding. There are many types of visual elements and in this post I am going to provide an overview about images and photography.
There are many paid and free stock images sites, but the most important factor to consider (yes, ahead of consistency) is licensing. You must ensure that you have the correct licence to use for the intended purpose. Please read the small print to avoid any issues.
Royalty free licenses allow you to use an image or graphics without having to pay a royalty of license fee, however, this does not mean you can use it for any purpose. There may be restrictions for the type of use (for example, personal or small business use only). However, may sellers offer an Extended License at an additional cost which allows commercial use.
Rights-Managed licenses typically mean exclusivity (there is only one user of the image) but will come with the most restrictions (purpose, geographical location) and will be more expensive.
There are many types of images:
- Stock Photos
- Styled Stock Photography
- Mock Ups
- Mock Up Scene Creators
Lucie Carpentier from White Hart Design Company does such a good job of explaining the differences, please see her article here (and look at her lovely website!): Lucie’s Article about Photography
Stock Photos are created with a theme in mind but are quite generic and may fit the need to convey a certain mood or evoke an emotional response. For example, you may be writing an article about health and wellness and an image with a green smoothie or someone exercising would be perfect, rather than an image of pretty doughnuts (this exists!).
Here are some of my favourite free websites to obtain stock images from:
If you are looking for images with a certain hex code (to be in line with your branding), check out FindA.Photo – it’s brilliant, just type in the hex code in the search bar and you will be presented with a selection of images containing the colour.
Some free websites ask for attribution, which means giving credit to the company/website supplying the image. You can give credit by writing a footnote containing the following:
For more details please read this blog post by Resource Media: Resource Media How to Attribute Images Used on the Web
Styled Stock Photography has components that are ‘styled’ to suit your brand and there is often space on the image for you to place your logo and/or text. The images I use on my website are Styled Stock Photography. My favourites are:
Here is an example of Style Stock Photography from Cherry Lane Creative:
Mock Ups are used to display products in a staged manner.
An example here is of my planners for The 5-9er®. I used a flat lay styled stock image from Haute Chocolate and added sheets from my planner to showcase them:
Here is an example from Creative Market:
Mock Up Scene Creators are a tool which you open in Photoshop and each item can be moved around to achieve a certain look and you can overlay with text / logo. Here is an example from Creative Market:
You can purchase a variety of different themed Mock Ups and Scene Creators from Creative Market , please note that you will need an image editing platform to edit Mock Ups and Photoshop for Scene Creators.
Images for Social Media
My favourite tool for Social Media posting is Adobe Spark. This is an app I use on my phone to create Instagram posts (though you can create for other platforms too). There is a library of free pictures you can use and overlay your text on top. You can achieve the same in Canva or Designsta and PicMonkey.
As you can see, there are different types of image you can use on your website. It’s a good idea to have an image plan for creating your website and planning featured images for blog posts. The image has to resonate with the message of the article otherwise it will not seem authentic.