The effect of visual production methods in marketing communications

DSM Digital School of Marketing - marketing

Techniques used to produce visuals are the features which marketers use to make text interesting and unique. Techniques may include the use of colour or black and white, borders, layout features, cinematographic devices, foregrounding, backgrounding and overlays. In marketing, visuals are used to set the mood or feeling of the text. Visuals and text work together to make the production convincing.

Similar production techniques can be used when dealing with photographs, videos and films, while slides, posters and drawings may use different techniques. A combination of techniques may be applied during production and there are basic techniques that would apply to the production of all visuals, regardless of the medium.

In this article, we will look at some of the techniques used.

Photographs in marketing

Composition is all-important when taking a photograph. When we look at a scene, we see only the points that interest us and ignore the rest. A camera sees everything that fits into the lens radius and we often end up with a picture that is cluttered and lacks interest and life.

When preparing to take a photograph the following factors must be considered to ensure that their treatment in the photograph composition relates to the purpose for taking the photograph.

Centre of interest

Each picture should have only one main idea, topic or centre of interest to which the viewer’s eyes are attracted. Other elements in the composition must be subordinate to the focus point and must not detract the viewer’s attention. With a clear focus point the viewer will clearly understand the purpose of the photograph.

Subject placement

The centre of interest need not be placed smack in the middle of the photograph. In fact, no professional photographer will do that as it divides the picture in equal halves in addition to making the picture uninteresting and difficult to balance.


Viewpoint and camera angle

Photographing using a different viewpoint or camera angle can often add drama as well as excitement. Alternatively, it could even bring out an unusual aspect of a subject. When photographing three-dimensional subjects from an angle, it allows the viewer to see more than one side of the subject.

A combination of different viewpoints and camera angles add interest and the illusion of movement to photographs.

Colour and tone

Colour contrast is an effective compositional element in colour photography, just as tone is in black-and-white photography. Colours with opposite characteristics contrast strongly when placed together:

  • Cold colours (blue shades) and warm colours (red shades) almost always contrast. Cold colours recede, while warm colours advance. Light colours contrast against dark ones, and a bold colour offsets a weak colour.
  • High-key colour pictures contain large areas of light desaturated colours (pastels) with very few middle colours or shadows. Intentionally overexposing colour film (exposing for the shadows) helps to create a high-key effect.

A low-key effect is created when the scene is dominated by shadows and weak lighting. Low-key pictures tend to have large areas of shadow, few highlights, and degraded colours. Subjects which are naturally dark are best for low-key pictures. Low-key colour pictures can be induced by exposing colour film for the highlights.

Foreground and Background

Inattention to fore- and background can ruin a picture. Undesirable foreground can be avoided by:

  • Moving in closer to the subject,
  • Taking pictures with a longer-than-standard focal-length lens, or
  • Changing the viewpoint or camera angle.

Post-production use of cropping out meaningless foreground can also improve a picture. The foreground leads the eye into the picture and should therefore be sharply focused without detracting from emphasis on the centrepiece of the photograph.

Use Infographics for Technical Information

Infographics are great for sharing technical details in an easy-to-consume format. These work well when there are statistics involved. In addition, these offer an attractive alternative to merely writing down lines of percentages. Even if the content is not technical in nature infographics can be used to visually summarise blog articles.

Display Sharable Key Details in Creative Image Blocks

Another easy way to spice up your content marketing with stunning visual elements is to use image blocks. When developing a blog article, or adding a new page to your website, image blocks can greatly improve the appearance of a text-based piece of content, and make key information stand out for your reader.

For example, we can extract the following sentence from the above paragraph: image blocks can greatly improve the appearance of a text-based piece of content. We choose this because it is the main point of the section, or the key information that the reader should retain. Next, we whip together a simple yet attractive design, put the sentence in quotation marks, and it’s done!

Leverage the Popularity of Memes

Memes are witty, relatable pieces of visual content that we’ve all come across at some point or another. Used predominantly on social media platforms, memes can be used to say something ordinary (or boring) in a humorous way so as to ensure that the information is retained by the reader.

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