5 Design Trends

We all struggle for finding good and engaging images that can complement our content and make the blog posts more appealing to the visitors. It’s a fact that 65% of the population is a visual learner and this is something that shouldn’t be ignored.

Studies have also shown that adding a images to your posts have 6 times more probability of being memorized after 3 days. In this video you can see a little explanation of this Picture Superiority theory:

Many marketing teams don’t always have a designer at their disposal to create a image. Or, even if they do, they still need ideas, inspiration and feedback from the author post. Remember that images should always complement the content and help visitors understand easily and quickly what you are talking about.

Before you start searching or thinking about images I will give you a life saver tip: think about the tone you want to talk to your visitors. This completely changes what kind of image you should use. For example if you want to talk more seriously, don’t use soft humor images that contrasts with your blog post tone and how you write.

Now let’s get serious and let me show you 5 design trends you can use on your blog posts images to make your content more engaging.

1. High-quality stock photos

You could and you should use stock photos. You just have to use it the right way. Remember that a pure decorative stock photo that doesn’t add any value to your content will do you more harm than good. Following Jakob Nielson usability study you can see that visitors “ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up” Web pages”.

When you are searching for photos, make sure that you can connect it to your post main subject. Some types of good and engaging stock photos are:

  • Photos with people
  • Photos that show strong emotions
  • Photos that are easy to understand and create a quick connection with visitors
  • Contextual photos that can be directly related with your post subject

In this example of The eLearning Industry blog post, “5 Tips to Find Your Narrative Voice” they make an excellent work selecting an image that perfectly matches the title and that post content.

Although isn’t always easy or cheap to find good stock photos, there is a large number of free sources that you can use. My current favorite life-saver stock photos source is TheStocks.im that gathers images from a list of different stock photos websites and has saved me hours of frustrating work searching for the perfect image.

2. Icons as visual connectors

Icons are like a symbol typography that, if used well, can create an immediate visual connection and understanding of what your blog post is about. More and more often icons are being used in images for blog posts because of their rising popularity and the number of the existing free libraries. Pro tip: If you use icons in your blog posts, It’s very important to stay consistent and create a recognizable visual identity. Take care of your images style as much as you cultivate your writing. It also has a big weight on the reader’s first impression.

Created with IconFinder
Here are some free icons sources:

3. Beautiful fonts variations and combinations

Many blogs use images mixed with fonts variations to make engaging blog images headers. The advantage of these images is that they can be shared through social media and not lose the original context or purpose. And are a nice “shareable” thing. They are also easier to do because you don’t have to search for an image with a deeper meaning and you can just mix some fonts and make it beautiful.

You can also combine images, icons, and text for some extra points. But be careful with this. You don’t want to complicate too much. And remember, make it readable! Having a beautiful image that’s hard to read won’t do you any good. If you need some extra tips take a look at this great Slideshare presentation.

Beautiful lettering example from Canva

4. Custom illustrations

This one it’s a little harder and you will need a good and probably quick designer. Although custom illustration are one of the most memorable image posts that you can use. Make sure you plan and brainstorm with your design the tone you want to set to the image and what you want to transmit.

Try to make it standard across your posts and create a style that’s unique and memorable.

Let’s see for example Tren Walton blog. He made an incredible job combining illustrations and his blog posts titles. He goes even a little bit further and changes the page background color accordingly to the illustration.

Captura de ecrã 2015-02-27, às 15.57.25

Captura de ecrã 2015-02-27, às 15.56.58

This isn’t scalable in a blog that has multiple posts everyday but you can go for a middle term collaboration, or something close to.

5. Use your brand colors and elements

If you have a complete and well designed brand you should be able to introduce and apply brand elements into your post images designs. There are a lot of things that you can do like use gradient covers for images or stand out some important element through colors. You can even go further and have some icons or elements that complement your brand and that can be used in most of your posts.

Captura de ecrã 2015-02-27, às 16.27.39

Socialmood made a brilliant re-branding with their beautiful yellow and memorable icons. They use them all across the web: in social networks and in the content they create. You can see by their Facebook page that becomes very easy to recognize their brand.

In summary, no matter what trend you use or follow you should always keep this good practices in mind:

  • It should be pretty but it must be readable (in case you have text in the image)
  • Optimize your images sizes for web
  • Always include images credits and source (be sure that they are creative commons if you didn’t buy them)
  • Don’t use the standard stock photos because they became invisible for the visitor
  • Define a voice tone and make it standard
  • Create design series

How are you using images in your blog posts right now? Which ones do you like best?

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