We’ve all heard the expression, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” Images make things seem more real and more human. When people are featured with products or services, other people are more willing to trust them. Social proof is huge.
The same goes for websites. When you have a website, the goal is to get viewers to stick around. They may read your articles, try your services or reach out to you without looking at graphics. However, with memorable graphics, viewers are more likely to stick around.
You want people to remember you. You want your brand and image to resonate in their mind so much that it keeps them up at night. (Okay, maybe not that much, but you get the picture!) Graphics help do this. However, a graphic without meaning on a website will do you no justice.
Here are 15 useful guidelines for creating memorable graphics for your website:
- Purchase quality custom photos. If you can’t afford to pay for them right now, download stock photos from royalty free sites such as Pixabay, Unsplash, FreeImages, and Public Domain Archive. Attribute the site/artist where needed. This an easy way to start building quality graphics. Refrain from using too many stock photos, though. They’re usually easily recognizable and won’t resonate as much with your brand since viewers have seen them in so many sites already.
- Try a few graphic design programs until you figure out which one you like best. Some common ones include Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Gimp, Photoshop, Picmonkey, and Canva. Each one has a different learning curve. However, it’s better to try a few and see which one will work best for you rather than sticking to one that you may not like as much. Consider your goal with the graphics, and do some research to decide which program might fit best for you. From there, you can watch tutorials on YouTube for the basics on how to use the software of your choice.
- Use your graphics to guide viewers where they need to look next. If you have an important message that needs to be viewed, make your graphic less noticeable on its own or simply create it in a way that makes the viewer’s eyes naturally move towards the text. In this case, bright graphic colors may distract viewers from the message, so you might want to go for something a little milder. Most people like seeing people’s faces in images (particularly babies and attractive women). If you want someone to read your message, consider an image of one or the other, looking at the text. Naturally, viewers are going to follow their line of sight and read the text too.
- Make sure your images are high resolution, especially if they’re going to be printed. If they’re low resolution, they may be blurry, which will come off as unprofessional to viewers. A good rule of thumb is to keep your images at 300 pixels per inch (ppi). Here’s a quick guide on how to do that in Photoshop.
- Save your images as .jpg, .png or .gif. Jpg is the most common type. It is better for photos and images with many colors. Saving as a Gif is better for less color and flat color. If you accidentally save a file as a Jpg when it should have been a Gif, you may see a reduction in the image’s quality. A Png is useful if you have any screenshots, illustrations, graphs or lots of text. It’s also best for very small file sizes. Before you save the graphics, make sure you crop them accordingly for maximum impact. Here’s some more specific information on the differences between the different types to save your graphics before you upload them to your website.
- Keep colors, copy, and backgrounds consistent with website branding. If your logo and website scheme is red, it won’t benefit your brand if your graphics are random, non-complementary colors. Observe the color wheel to see which colors work best together. Your graphics should support your site and business, not take away from it.
- Optimize your images for better search engine rankings. Update your alt tag, add a file name for the image before you upload it, and wrap content around it. Here’s some more useful tips for optimizing your images.
- Use an easy-to-read font. Try not to use more than three fonts on your site. Stick to Sans Serif fonts. The more legible the font, the more likely the viewer is going to spend time reading it. If your font is difficult to read, it may quickly deter viewers.
- Color the text an opposite color from the background so you can see the text better. You don’t want viewers to squint trying to figure out what your text says if it is close to the same color as the background. Make sure you center your text or align it to either side as the graphic calls for. (Don’t try to spitball where the center is.)
- Include your logo. Sneak your logo in the image if you are providing a graphic that you want viewers to share. If they share the image online, having your logo there may get you some additional traffic, which could lead to conversions. If you don’t want people to be able to share the images, having your logo on it may be more distracting than necessary since they’ll know the image is from you if they are viewing it on your site.
- Use colors to control the mood. Every color has a different meaning. If you want your site to appear powerful and elegant, black graphic color schemes may be the way to go. However, if you’re looking to come across as loyal and strong, blue may be your best option. Here’s a quick guide on how to use colors to your advantage on your website.
- Choose a single message. You don’t want to overwhelm the viewer. Stick to one idea you want conveyed in each image to keep things simple.
- Make sure your call to action is clear. If you have a call to action in your image, your viewers should know immediately what it is. They shouldn’t be left there guessing. Make sure the call to action is quick, concise, and easy to follow.
- Do some trial and error. Just because you created something doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Feel free to keep making changes until something looks perfect for you.
- Keep a notebook to store your ideas in when you’re on the go. You never know when inspiration might strike. It’s better to have an idea book on standby than to not have one at all.
Did we miss any tips or guidelines used to create graphics? Share your favorites in the comments below!