As technology moves forward, your audience’s expectations are increasing. They’re not merely looking for a user-friendly web design.
Users like websites that are easy to navigate with eye-catching visual content. It helps to keep them hooked to their screens. This doesn’t mean you should pack your website with random images. You can help your audience engage with well-crafted logos, icons, illustrations, vectors, infographics, and more.
Kettle Fire teamed up with Stockphotos.com to bring you our best tips on using images in web design. Whether you’re designing a new website from scratch or rebuilding an existing one, you need to check out these amazing tips to help your website stand out from the crowd.
1. Get personal with your images
You should never underestimate what original photographs could do for your web design. The online landscape can be an untrustworthy place. People don’t know who they are dealing with, but you can show that you’re reliable and truthful.
Giving them an inside look into your workspace through some candid and friendly photos of the whole team is an excellent way to start. You can also showcase some images of handwritten greetings or wishes on your platform.
But make sure the photographs you select are natural and candid so that they see you as their loyal business partner. One they feel comfortable or even excited to work with.
We absolutely love how the digital marketing agency Bluleadz gives us a sneak-peek into what their team looks like. Hovering over each member’s picture reveals their favorite GIF. How cool is that?
2. Utilize stock photos when needed
For generic pictures on your website, stock photos are a fantastic resource. They are a quick, budget-friendly way of getting your hands on some high-resolution, professional photographs without too much effort.
Suppose you own a travel agency offering various packages. In this scenario, it may not be possible for you to take photographs of each destination or hire a professional to do it—stock photos to the rescue!
3. Create an interactive logo
A logo is more than just an image; it is a symbol of your brand and says a lot about it. People may have seen a stationary logo of your business, but what if you can tell your message through an interactive logo? Remember when we said people look for a website that is fun to navigate? Well, you can offer that fun part here.
You can kill two birds with one stone by adding an interactive logo to your web design. You will not only be attracting new customers in an entertaining way but will also be telling your story or giving a message.
Think of how Google does it with the now-famous Google Doodles. One favorite is Google’s celebration of Claude Debussy’s 151st birthday. The image was not only animated but included Debussy’s soulful Clair de Lune playing in the background.
We couldn’t help but smile at this animated Beyond Plastic logo. It’s smart and very cleverly conveys the group’s core message, which is to remove single-use plastics from the world.
4. Draw users in with illustrations
As we said earlier, the image kingdom isn’t limited to photographs. Illustrations are a great way to show off your creative side and keep your audience hooked to your website.
You can either sprinkle illustrations throughout your web pages here and there or go for a full-on illustration-inspired web design.
When designing a new website for Stepping Forward Technology, we designed custom illustrations to keep the look approachable. As an IT company, their work is naturally rather technical. The illustrated details keep the site friendly and user-focused.
Check out Belazor Technologies’ website, which boasts a fantastic, fully illustrated web design. The “hero illustration” with its foggy and cloudy effect is highly engaging. From header to icons to staff pics, everything about the web design oozes artistry. No wonder CSS Design Awards touted the site as “Website of the Day.”
5. Consider a cool mascot
Have you ever considered adding a mascot to your brand identity? A mascot is an image or character that personifies your website’s ambition. It adds a creative element to your web design and, most importantly, carries the idea of your website with it throughout!
What are you selling? What makes your organization unique? Ask your designer to develop the character of your mascot from that. For instance, if you are designing a literary website, you could come up with a mascot that symbolizes literature. A character with round glasses or a couple of books in hands, maybe.
One mascot that we really adore is Mailchimp’s Freddie. He’s playful and gives the idea that using the mass email product isn’t too difficult.
6. Don’t let images weigh down your website
Although images are an integral part of a website for a great user experience, they can slow down the page loading speed remarkably if not optimized correctly. People don’t want fancy websites that are slow to load and consume a lot of data. Not only that, but a bulky website doesn’t attract good SEO rankings.
To avoid these inconveniences, make sure your website doesn’t have heavy images that take ages to load. Pro tip: if you’re not comfortable using Photoshop to optimize your pics, use a plugin that creates several variants of images for different devices.
It also helps to know your image file types and their specific purposes. For example, if you need an image for photographic purposes, go for the JPEG image type. For designs, icons, texts, and similar purposes, PNG images are the best option. SVG type serves logos and animated design purposes well, whereas GIFs are a great option to add animated elements to your website.
Which of these strategies would help you use images in your web design? Let us know in the comments below!
This blog was written by Megan Schaulis and Ivy Attié in collaboration with Stockphotos.com. Ivy is a content manager, researcher, and author in various visual media-oriented publications. She is a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge.