What do you really say with your images?
You know this already though you may not always think about it - in western culture we read the images from left to right. Why is this such important knowledge? That's what you'll learn more about in our Semiotic school. Welcome to part 1 of the Semiotic school!
We recently met with Karin Sandelin, an experienced semiotician at TNS Sifo, Sweden's largest marketing institute. She explains that because we read images from the left, the most positive movement in an image is for someone (or something) to move from left to right, and upwards, as in the top picture above. It signifies ambition, energy and progress. In fact, this concept goes back way back to the Renaissance, where the angels depicted in art always come from the left. The reverse, someone/something that moves from right to left, is taken as an indication of regression and decline. These are examples of a science known as semiotics.

Karin Sandelin works with semiotic analysis and makes recommendations to clients in a variety of industries ranging from finance and television to government and parliament. Semiotics is the science of signs and symbols and how they are interpreted.
Why semiotics is important in your communication
Everything around us is made up of signs that mean something to us, but we are often not aware of how these signs work or how they influence our behaviour.

In order to understand the world around us, we interpret it based on the values and norms in the culture we live in. Semiotic analysis is a method of identifying and decoding what one expresses consciously or unconsciously in different contexts.
A picture represents something more than what it depicts and a semiotician can explain why an image is perceived in a certain way and why it evokes certain emotions.
"Emotions govern our decisions. A coherent positioning strategy, based on sharp insights regarding the emotional motivations that drive the selected position, is still an untapped force in marketing," says Karin Sandelin.

TNS Sifo uses a model called NeedScope. It describes six emotional archetypes that can be applied to a target audience's emotional motivations as well as that of the values the brand should communicate. By using the symbolic language of each archetype in a consistent manner, brands can build a strong and differentiated position based on emotions.
Archetypes and their emotional motivations
How do you express the different emotional drivers in images?
Strong brands are those that have a strong and clear position in the model above.

"An example of a clear trademark is Ikea. Their position is inclusive and has a strong team spirit. In the images this is communicated by depicting unmade beds and crumbly tables. It is authentic and grounded in the real world, which is particularly noticeable in their commercials," says Karin Sandelin.

Do you already have a clear vision for what feelings your brand should be associated with? Try to position the brand in one of the archetypes in the model above. It will make it easier to get the imagery to pull in the same direction in accordance with the tips here:
• Peace and tranquillity
• Predictability
• Minimalism, few items in the picture
• Few visual exclamation marks
• Cool colours, cold blue scales, earth tones, monochromes
• Hustle and bustle, life is good
• Maximalism: many objects, colours, shapes
• Dynamics, whirling movement, oblique angles
• Strong colours and contrasts
• Unexpected colour combinations, orange and purple, for example
Mamma och barn.
• Open, welcoming portrait
• People at conversational distance
• Sunlight and warm colors
• Well-known surroundings
• Joyous, flirtatious
• Togetherness and community
• Glorification of the object
• Images that mark the distance
• People looking past the camera
• Closed body language
• Symmetry, obvious arranged
• Clear central figure
• Statical and self-assuredness
Don't miss the continuation
Part 2 of Semiotic school with Karen Sandelin will arrive on April 14. Then you'll know:

- Where to start if you want to view your image communications from a semiotic perspective
- How different types of portraits fit into the model of archetypes
- The three most common mistakes you tend to make in visual communication
Welcome to our Getting Started page on the Web
It's easy to buy images from us, but for those who are not experienced image buyers, we now have collected some useful information on this page.
Visit our Getting Started page
CURRENT New Arrivals
New images from our photographers pour in regularly, and do you know the best thing about it? Well, no one else has had the opportunity to use them yet. What image will you choose?

You'll always find the latest material via the link "New images" located next to the search field near the top on the start page. It's a great way to get started with an image search if you do not know exactly what you're looking for.