These days, just about every business needs to create visual content.
Status updates, YouTube videos, blog posts, it’s all content and it’s created by everyone, including all of the top brands.
Producing regular content has become a key factor in maintaining a successful brand. Whether you write blogs, run a Twitter page, chat to your customers on Facebook, or do all of the above, producing regular content is instrumental to keeping your brand current, engaging and memorable.
But, since so many people produce content every day, how are you meant to cut through the noise and make your content stand out? The answer: visual content.
Think about it: everybody single status update looks the same. Sure, the interfaces change over different platforms but, at the end of the day, it’s all just black text on black backgrounds, so it’s all too easy to scroll right past key pieces of content, because nothing quite jumps out. But, if you used a visual to communicate your message, used a bit of punchy type, a vibrant palette or eye-catching imagery, you have a much better chance of ensuring people will stop scrolling and have a good look.
Basically, you could have the best, most interesting and engaging written content, and it could still get lost and ignored because it looks the exact same as every other piece of content. Visual content prevents this, though. Visual content gives you free reign to customise your message, use different techniques and mediums to get your message across, it’s really an infinitely useful tool.
So, as a part of our endeavour to make the whole design process smoother, simpler and easier for you, let’s discuss 10 types of visual content you can create right now to get that attention you and your brand deserve.
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01. Eye-Catching Photographs
Think about how many photos you see, take, and share in your day-to-day life. A lot, right? So, it makes sense that photographs are at the top of the visual content list. A well taken and used photograph can do your brand wonders.
Take some photos of the behind the scenes of your brand. What goes on in your office? What process goes into creating your product? Who are your team members? Demystifying your brand by stepping out from behind the curtain can help humanise you which makes emotionally connecting with your brand infinitely easier.
Photos also give you a chance to flaunt off your product or service. Get some action shots of your product being used, do a quick photoshoot of your product to show off its best side, take some snap shots of customers using your service. You’ve built a brand, now flaunt what it can do!
For some vibrant examples, be sure to check out Lucky Dip Club’s Instagram. A fun, quirky subscription box business, the Lucky Dip Club Instagram is jam packed full of behind the scenes shots of founder Leona compiling all of the boxes, sneak peeks of what to expect in future boxes etc. all of which are captured in vibrant, cheerful and colourful images, perfectly in keeping with the Lucky Dip Club brand. Check it out!
02. Inspiring Quote Cards
We all have a few mottos, sayings or quotes that have inspired, engaged or stuck with us. Whether they’re quotes by famous scholars or public figures, a good pearl of wisdom can motivate the most uninspired of people. And what’s better – they act as awesome pieces of visual content!
Quote cards are incredibly easy to create, all it takes is the right quote (and the correct source of the quote – always double check that!) and a little design and you have a highly shareable and engaging piece of content.
When creating your quote images, it’s a good idea to keep your design simple and to let the type be the focus. Of course, offsetting your chosen words with a nice image or illustration can give your content a bit of a boost, but be sure to keep legibility of the words a top priority. This means ensuring you choose easily read typefaces, a colour palette with enough contrast to keep everything readable, and a clear composition of elements. After all, we don’t want anything lost in translation!
That being said, don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Check out these quote cards from General Electric. They use the image to block out bits and pieces of the type in a playful and engaging way. While you’re looking at these examples, check out how the choice of quotes, type and imagery reinforce the General Electric brand of powerful technology, innovation and technological problem solving – all thanks to a few images that pair photos with type, too easy!
03. Strong Calls to Action
A call to action is a fantastic tool for promoting just about anything, a few carefully chosen and strung together words can incite action and engagement with your product amongst your audience – so imagine what it could do for you if you paired it with an awesome visual.
Visual calls to action take your influential message to a whole new level, as it gives you access to a whole array of techniques to grab even more attention. You can use textual hierarchy and a striking palette to highlight the most important elements of your communication, all the while keeping the design in line with your brand.
Visual calls to action also work wonders on social media. When designed right, they can ensure that a viewer who is otherwise mindlessly scrolling and skimming through their feed will pause to take a good look.
So, if you have a huge sale, an exciting event, an exclusive promo, or anything in between, creating a visual call to action can grab audience’s attention and help convince them to take action.
Check out these calls to action from language education app Duolingo. They use vibrant graphics in keeping with their brand and some direct, humorous and exciting calls to action. With their vibrant images, the use of hierarchy and large type, it’s made pretty hard to scroll past and ignore these calls to action!
04. Branded Images
You probably have your logo and your main designs down pat, so you have a vague idea of how your brand looks. You know what kinds of colours, typefaces etc. are used, so now is your chance to build up this outward appearance with branded images.
My best tip for creating a strong brand is to treat it like a person, sort of like you’re creating a character, and one big element of building a character is how they look. Consider what your brand’s unique selling point is, what their tone of voice is, and what kind of visual elements best capture this.
Just like some people wouldn’t wear anything pink and florally, while others flock towards it, consider what kind of imagery you can best ‘dress’ your brand in. Is your brand fresh and natural? Perhaps display your product out in the fresh air. Is your brand edgy and sophisticated? Maybe some darker colours and sleek images would complement your brand best.
05. Interesting Data Visualisations
Let’s face it – data can be a bit boring at times. Even the most interesting of figures and facts can appear dull if presented in a dull way. Signal to your consumers that you’re showing them a figure they should be excited about with a vibrant design.
Visual content also lends itself to helping your audience understand what you’re getting at. For example, if you were trying to explain a tricky concept or idea, could a clever visual help them understand it a bit better?
Consider the charity group Oxfam. Charity groups are often about raising awareness and support for various causes, so they have a lot of statistics to show off, and thus benefit from visualising data in interesting ways. Check out some of the ways Oxfam presents data and information in a way that is much more easily digested and more quickly understood.
Ask yourself – how could I better present this data to my audience? How could I make them understand the numbers a bit better? Perhaps through a graph, or a diagram. Whatever your choice of avenue, you’re on the right track towards getting much more recognition for your data.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a couple of million. Don’t assume that visual content is limited to all things stationery, in fact a video can do great things for enhancing and reinforcing your brand.
Studies tell us that over 4 billion videos are watched every day. So, based on this, how many small businesses do you think use sites like YouTube as a means of content creation? The answer: an underwhelming 9%.
So, what does this mean for you and your content? Basically, the video market is an open field, there’s a huge potential right there for you to create some new multimedia, mix up your content a bit and say a lot in a short space of time.
A good example of a brand that utilises videos to further their scope is NASA. NASA combines fun with education with their ‘Space Shorts’ videos, which only help to reinforce their funny, engaging and very knowledgeable tone of voice. Go ahead and watch it over here for a rundown on dwarf planets.
Videos are a great way to give your brand a literal voice and sound, and just like every other medium of visual content, you can brand it using your business’ colours, typography, imagery etc. Don’t think of video as any less of a flexible field!
07. Tips, Tricks and How-To’s
Does your brand or product come paired with a tone of authority and knowledge? Whether it’s a recipe, a tutorial or a ‘life hack’, sharing some knowledge with your consumers helps to construct a bond between you and them, like you’re sharing a secret tip with them.
Similarly, if you choose to create a list of steps or a guide, consider using real world examples that pinpoint your listed steps – a bit like I’m doing right now. This way, you can justify your points a lot better and communicate to readers exactly how to execute your tips in a real world setting.
The beauty of using a visual aid to share these tips and tricks is not only the added benefit of showing your tips directly, but it encourages consumers to share the content around. Plus, when they see a picture of the beautiful finished product and note that is can be achieved in a small number of steps, they’re much more inclined to pay attention to the content!
For some inspiration on creating some visual tutorials, I’d recommend checking out The Beauty Department for a huge range of well-executed graphic tutorials that are created to complement longer pieces of written content.
While some of these examples are a bit lengthy for social media posting, check out these other examples from Rekorderlig that execute super simple recipe tutorials over a video medium. A good reminder to not be afraid to mix up up your mediums and combine content types!
08. Informative Screenshots
Do you run a business that is partially (or entirely) digital? Perhaps it’s an app, or you run a website, an online service, or anything in between. Well then, have you considered using some screenshots as visual content pieces?
Just like a brand that sold a physical product would display pictures it, so too should you flaunt your product via screenshots. Show off new features, cool techniques, or perhaps your sleek new interface design.
Check out the way search engine app Alfred uses a screenshot of their interface design to show off different ways to use their software. Not only does this screenshot give users a better understanding of how to use this feature, but the screenshot acts as a hook for the article – people will see the image, get interested and click through to the content.
Not only are screenshots useful to show off your product, but also your glowing customer reviews. Have you been left a particularly flattering review? Go ahead and show it off! Studies have determined that about 88% of people trust consumer reviews and use these reviews determine the quality of local businesses, so if they see a particularly sparkling review pop up in their social media feed, or on your website, they’ll be much more likely to do business with you.
Screenshots don’t sound like a super snazzy piece of visual content, but really they can be incredibly useful when it comes to promoting content. Made a funny joke on Twitter that you’d like to show off to your Facebook followers? Why not screenshot it, instead of just copying and pasting. Hit a big milestone of followers on a social media? Screenshot it and celebrate!
09. Thought-Provoking Questions
So, you’ve set up your online presence, you have a few viewers, a few followers, a few fans, now what? Interact with them! Engage them with topics of conversation and questions, to really get people thinking and chatting about your brand.
Even better yet, do it all with a graphic. Why? Well, on top of the fact that visual content gets viewed much more easily, graphics get shared very frequently. So, if you post a good topic of conversation via an image, you increase your chances of having it shared, and thus having your content returned to by a whole new group of people – win/win!
Check out some of Spotify’s questions. Not only are the questions tailored to their brand (online music streaming), but they’re open enough so that just about everyone has an answer. Whether or not they post a comment, many people will think of an answer in their head, thus engaging with the post.
Also notice, each question is designed in line with Spotify’s signature green, black and white, and is branded with the Spotify logo, ensuring it will all be traceable back to them, should any of these questions get passed around a lot. Remember to always link your work back to yourself in some way!
Last, but definitely not least, is infographics. In short, people love infographics, they can’t get enough of them. In fact, infographics are shared 3x more than any other piece of visual content. So, it’s safe to say, making an infographic will boost your share numbers and when used and executed correctly, they can be incredibly powerful tools that help communicate a lot of information really quickly and thoroughly.
Infographics are eye catching, far more so that plain black type on a white background. We notice them, we get absorbed by them, we read them and then we share them to others, continuing the cycle of the graphic.
Ask yourself if an infographic could bode well for your brand, or if it could complement your content nicely. Perhaps it could summarise information, or present the information in a dynamic, new way. Whatever the case, consider infographics, and don’t be put off by how complicated some can look – if you have the right tools, it’s really not that difficult at all. Check out Canva’s infographic tools for a super quick and easy way to compile all your information in an interesting way.
Check out the way Studio-C has summarised a few paragraph’s worth of data within one nautical-themed infographic, making their content super shareable and easy to read.
Over to you
Creating visual content can be fun, but only if you let it be. Mix things up, engage with your audience, figure out how best to display and promote your brand. Whatever you do, just keep experimenting, trying new techniques and seeing what sticks.
Hopefully this rundown of visual content types can help you out a bit when it comes to designing for your brand, because at the end of the day designing in the workplace should be easy. So, keep things simple, don’t try to do too many things at once, keep your brand values and aesthetic in mind constantly, and you’ll be golden.
What tips and tricks do you have for maintaining a successful brand? Have you used any of these types of visual content? Let us know in the comments below!