By Alisa Hellwege
The greatest motivation for my work as a designer is to see how a creative work can move people and involve them emotionally. The way I am, images evoke the strongest emotions. A snapshot can catch a whole moment and even let the viewer enough space for their own fantasy. The higher click-rate on content linked with an image shows that I’m not the only one like that.
Brands have always used images to emotionalize their products. But the digitization and changes in the needs and beliefs of our society force us to rethink how branding handles imagery.
In the past, brands were mainly perceived through classic advertisements. Campaigns were composed of headline, layout, logo, and image. Since corporate design had a broadly equipped toolset of colors, shapes, typefaces, and logos, branding focused less on imagery. Then, imagery — for example, in automotive — was the same old style for every competitor: car driving fast through a landscape, dramatic light, glossy colors.
Today, due to digitization, images appear more isolated and often even compete with the branding of the media platforms, such as social media, on which they are published. So brands have to be perceived in an external-branded surrounding. The consequence is that recognition doesn’t happen through the classic corporate identity toolset anymore. It does through the stories they tell with pictures — between many other pictures.
To truly involve people, there has to be something outstanding, something that might even be irritating for some people. This is the fine line where identification happens.
That’s why we should take the effort we used to put into elaborating endless guidelines about logo positions, layout, colors, dos and many don’ts, and put it into outstanding, sharp, and unique imagery that translates brand values straight to the target audience.
High-quality photography gives so many possibilities to transform the same old glossy image pools creatives have to work with into a major brand tool. Well-developed imagery is the perfect asset for a consistent, joyful brand experience that involves and moves people — and still gives them enough space to use their imagination.
Give your brand the chance to touch their audience and stand out between others.
So be brave with designing new looks, and convince your clients to be brave, too.
Just have balls.
Alisa Hellwege is a senior designer at MetaDesign Berlin.