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They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ but sometimes it runs deeper than that: an image can communicate a brand without the need for text or even a logo. Imagine a magazine cover, stripped of text, showing a portrait of a woman with one eye closed, or covered. You know the magazine don’t you? A clear communication that has existed with i-D since its inception has become part of its brand.
Photographic styles change over time, as can your brand, but knowing how to use a certain style to assist your communication is vital. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the world of fashion where often a logo can be as incidental as the image is the sell. Often mired in controversy due to its association with Terry Richardson and the suitability of his images for certain campaigns, American Apparel adverts were always easy to spot with their consistent dose of hipster-sleaze. It worked for them, for a while.
This adherence to a consistent brand style is not just applicable to advertising and fashion. In a brochure of product shots for example, you don’t want people to spot that one was taken at the last minute on the designer’s phone – the images need to be part of a family, showing similar elements in each – and the same goes for architecture, food and portraiture. You want people to be brought into the world in which your brand exists without any images feeling at odds.
One company that excels at this is Australian skincare brand Aesop. Every experience of the brand; be it the packaging, the advertising or first-hand in one of their multi-sensory shops, is perfectly in line with their ethos and branding. Multi-disciplinary design studio Instrmnt achieved instant success with its focus on creating industrial-led watches with quality, simplicity and sustainability at their core – beautifully documented with stunning photography and moving image.
If you really want to stand out from your competition, stock photography simply isn’t going to cut it. While certain budgetary requirements lend themselves to a stock photography solution such as iStock or Getty Images, we always advise clients to allocate a budget for bespoke photography, so that their imagery is not only unique but in tune with their brand identity.
As part of one of our recent branding projects, for oral surgery specialist D-Clinic, we created an identity which pairs the clinic’s name with their company ethos – ensuring their patients leave with a smile. While the client has a relatively small (albeit specialist) clinic in London, they realised that imagery was important and invested in photography with The Click’s Fiona Burrage, which made a significant difference to their branding and communications. See Fiona’s photography portfolio here.