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The Science Behind a Good Visual Image

Trish Manrique

The Science Behind a Good Visual Image by Trish Manrique on September 7th, 2017

We are visual consumers. We enjoy seeing visual content – it communicates faster and more efficiently than plain text. From websites to social media, imagery is an essential part of a company’s marketing strategy and toolbox.

The human brain was built to interpret images rather than text. It’s probably why we all enjoy seeing cute pictures of puppies or kittens rather than reading facts about them. Images can make us laugh or cry, and even influence our choice on whether or not to join a cause or purchase a product.

We react instantaneously to what we see, so how can an image stand out and grab someone’s attention?  I asked my fellow Creative colleagues, and they’ve pointed out several factors that make an image more visually appealing.

“Less is more.” – Adeline

An image should never be overcrowded or cluttered. It can easily become a mess and the overall message can get lost. Content should be direct and easy for the viewers to interpret.

“Color palette is key.” – Dorian

Similar to “less is more”, a good image restricts itself to one or two main colors and accent colors. Colors should be stimulating but not a sensory overload. Unless it’s something to do with unicorns of course. If there’s a product in the image, colors should complement that product and not clash. A brands use of color can become iconic (i.e. McDonald’s yellow and red, Coca Cola’s red and white).

“Use of font styles, weight and width.” – Peter

When using multiple fonts, they should be complementary and fit the mood of the image. You should stick to the same family and limit the number of fonts used. Even content should be considered when selecting fonts. For example, you wouldn’t select Comic Sans for a business report.

“Remember focus points.” – Evan

There should always be a standout element of an image – something meaningful to give the viewer. A focus point should be surrounded by white space to emphasize that point.

“Use of texture.” – Joseph

Although minimalism is fairly popular, incorporating texture in an image provides more depth, personality and realism. Textures can enhance the overall look of an image while staying away from using vibrant colors, focus effects, background patterns and gradients.


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