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Authentic Images in Web Design – The Hottest Trend

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The web design industry produces new trends every month, if not more rapidly. Some of these trends make no sense at all, they are just visual niceties with no purpose. Others are exceptionally functional, they make our lives as website visitors and users much more pleasant and convenient. There are also trends that are visual, but still make a lot of sense. One of such visual trends is the use of authentic or genuine images in website design. This is actually the hottest trend right now. In this article, we are going to explore this design trend and see how your business can benefit from it.

Why does it make so much sense?

I believe it comes from the material design trend and storytelling. People want to connect with a business on a personal level, see the people behind it and their story, the story of the brand and its product or service. Generic clip-art images not only do nothing to help with this, they are actually harmful. Your website visitors want to feel it is real, so the images, photos, and videos have to be real; there is no way around it.

What is an authentic or genuine image exactly?

Web design is a highly visual discipline, it heavily relies on images. Images help visitors to interact with your website. It is logical to come to a conclusion that all the images should serve the purpose of drawing in a user. An authentic or genuine image, which looks and feels real, is the best way to draw in users.

An authentic image not only looks and feels real, it correlates with your business message.

An authentic image does not necessarily mean a custom one. You can use good stock images just as well. It does not have to be realistic either. A great cartoon, custom created to deliver your specific message, can feel more authentic than a realistic image or photo.

Genuine images are the ones that resonate with your audience. Your website visitors relate to these images, see themselves in them, feel like they are a part of what you promote, or want to deliver with the images. Authentic images are a part of your story, they convey emotion, and do not look staged.

Where do you get genuine images?

It’s fairly easy to decide you need to have only authentic images on your website, but where do you actually get them? It does not have to be too hard.

The obvious solution is to hire a professional photographer/videographer. Or become one yourself. Once you have such a person on staff, you can employ them to take photos of your team members, work process, offline location of your business, etc. If you don’t think your office is pretty enough you can always find a cool co-working place to take a few pictures.

If you sell something - take pictures of your products. But be creative, don’t take pictures only of the products, show how a person interacts with them, how they should be used, etc.

Another awesome way to get genuine images of your products is by getting them from your customers. Simply ask them to submit their photos; you can integrate an Instagram mosaic for this purpose. This is a fun interaction your customers will surely appreciate.

When you, or your professional photographer take these photos, you need to remember they need to fit the goal of your website, correlate with your message, and basically, tell your story.

authentic images

Using stock images

If your budget is tight or time is very limited, you can always opt for stock images. Contrary to common belief, there are stock images that can feel and look authentic. You will need to search for them better, but they are there for sure.

If you decide to use stock images, make sure to stay away from such clichés as too happy, generic looking people in suits having lunch on the greenest grass. Look for photos depicting actions; these are always better than static scenes. Look for emotions relevant to your message. Choose professional and clean images with good depth, balance, and contrast. Try to avoid stock images that have too many elements in one picture, they look cluttered. Don’t use pictures that depict people using objects in an unnatural way, like staring at a blank screen or “writing” blue text with a red pen and so on.

What about videos?

Videos are great for telling a story. More and more businesses understand this and start using videos to their advantage. So much of the above said on genuine images is easily applicable to videos. If you opt to use authentic videos in your website design, make sure the stories and emotions your videos show are genuine and feel real. A good video resonates with the audience, and even makes them feel a part of it.


Genuine images are the natural next step in design, they bring in the authenticity, and enhance the storytelling everyone strives to do these days. You do not necessarily need a huge collection of images to implement this trend in your designs. Even a handful of good images and a video or two can do the trick and make all the necessary difference when used properly. That is, if the images and videos are genuine and bring out positive emotions.

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