Marketing Design Tip: Skip the Stock Photos

In a recent design team meeting, we were introducing a newer team member to our vendors, file system and all the usual “stuff” that we do in marketing on a daily basis. The topic of stock photos was raised and we discussed how we very rarely use them. Below are few reason why we avoid stock photos and some creative ideas what to use instead.

Why Not Use Stock Photos?

Cost: Stock photos can be expensive. Even in this age of royalty free and $1 photos, the numbers can add up and effect your budget in ways you don’t particularly like.

Custom: You want your marketing pieces to speak to who you are and adding in a photo that thousands of other people have purchased and used can hinder that.

What to do Instead?

Custom Photos: We all have cameras on our phones that are just as good as the ones professional photographers use. The photos that are taken on smart devices (phones/tablets) can even be used for even print media. Sure, we might not be able to get every last photo our mind can think of, but occasionally, our phones are all we need to snap a perfect picture for a piece. Whether it is a product shot, lifestyle image or landscape, you have the ability to get the image you need for free.

This product shot style image was taken using a piece of printer paper, my iPhone and sunlight from a window.

This product shot style image was taken using a piece of printer paper, my iPhone and sunlight from a window.

This landscape image was taken using my iPhone a couple years ago, and was very easily used in a seasonal campaign.

This landscape image was taken using my iPhone a couple years ago and was very easily used in a seasonal campaign.


Blurs and Backgrounds:
When you are using product shots, patterns or everyday objects, you can create nice graphic elements out of normal photos. Adding a blur to photo and making it a background image is one way you can create a custom feel. Another way you can do this is by getting into your photo editing software and create a simple shape and repeating it in the background.

Using the landscape image, I made it bigger and blurred it for a nice background effect.

Using the landscape image, I made it bigger and blurred it for a nice background effect.

White Space: Don’t be afraid to allow open space in your pieces. Open space (which doesn’t have to be white and can be solid colors, gradients or the backgrounds we mentioned above) creates a feeling of sophistication and openness that will direct the viewer’s eye.

A nice clean font and CTA is always a safe and effective choice.

A nice clean font and CTA is always a safe and effective choice.

Typography: Words and fonts are can be a beautiful thing, and as Kim discussed in a previous tip, pairing fonts can create a mood just as good as, if not better than a photo or image.

Mixing a few fonts, adding a background pattern and allowing the background to act as white space creates a free, attractive design.

Mixing a few fonts, adding a background pattern and allowing the background to act as white space creates a free, attractive design.


MattMatthew is a Web and Graphic Designer with over 15 years experience. He has been a fine artist and cartoonist his entire life, and this love of art lead him into the design field in art school. He currently works as Creative Account Manager for Core Elements.

 

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