(4 of 6 in a series)

Searching for the proper images is always a challenge for a designer. Each brand has their own unique style. These are some of the main types of imagery that help establish the visual style of a brand:

  1. Photography
  2. Video
  3. Illustrations
  4. Icons

Some brands focus more on the photography and others will lean more on illustrations. As a designer we have a few options to find these images:

  1. Open Source: Free-$
  2. Royalty Free: $$
  3. Rights Managed: $$$
  4. Photo Shoot: $$$–$$$$

The challenge lies in knowing which route to take for each project. Having a subscription to a stock photography site makes it easier to decide, but sometime the decision lies solely with the designer.

Open Source

You can find free images all over the internet these days but designers must be cautious to not use images they don’t have the rights to.

Pexelsfree images with style at www.pexels.com

Since this site has mostly artists looking to get exposure I would give them credit when appropriate. I can see using these images for social media, blog posts or other projects that need a quick turnaround and have little to no budget.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels     


Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

Royalty Free

Probably the most widely used means of finding imagery at a reasonable price with the level of quality clients are happy with. Sites like www.gettyimages.com,  stock.adobe.com and depositphotos.com  and are a few of the sites I use the most for my clients.


Rights Managed

These higher-end images come at a greater cost to use and usually have limits on how long you can use them. Both Getty and Adobe have a great selection of these images and videos that can give a project a more unique look.

Adobe Premiumhas a great collection of artists for premium images


Getty Editorialbest for imagery of current events and famous people.


Photo Shoot

Utilizing a photo shoot with a professional photographer can be one of the most creative of all of these options. The Art Director is able to dictate what photos are taken and the style in which they are taken. I can’t think of a better way to make sure a company brand is spot on.

I know of a particularly talented photographer who specializes in food and lifestyle photos  www.sakhonnhek.com/ www.instagram.com/sakhonnhek/


Branding guidelines for imagery

I’m always interested to see what companies do with their brand guidelines when it comes to photography, illustrations and icons. I found a couple of companies that are great examples of what to do with brand imagery.

First, here’s a company that has created, what they call “sprites.” Ben & Jerry’s icons scream their brand style.  http://lamp-global.benjerry.com/redesign/style-guide/iconography/#illustrations


Starbucks has established a shining example of using undistracting clarity with their product imagery. https://creative.starbucks.com/


There are many more challenges of imagery in brand adherence than just deciding where to get the images. We’ll discuss how we keep each brands imagery consistent in a future D&Co Design Blog post.

Contact us today if you need help deciding on how to improve your brand imagery.