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SUSTAINABILITY The right image selection shows who you are and what you stand for
Today, integrating sustainability issues in brand management is crucial as more and more customers choose companies that want to do the right thing. Use images to help show who you are and your ambition to make the world a better place. But what is the right image selection?

What is the right selection when you want to communicate sustainability?
To find an answer we turned to a real expert in visual communication. Namely, semiotician Karin Sandelin of TNS Sifo, Sweden's largest market research company. Karin works with semiotic analysis and recommendations for customers in a variety of industries, ranging from the financial industry and television to the Swedish government authorities and parliament.
 
Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols, and how they are interpreted. Karin is an expert in the knowledge regarding why an image is perceived in a certain way and why it evokes certain emotions. By being aware of what a picture symbolizes here and now, you can signal a consistent and clear identity. Here is Karin's best advice on sustainability!
Sustainability is not about standing still
Sustainability is partly about finding stability, to stop rushing processes such as abrasive consumption, declining public health or the crashing economy.

In visual communication, this means that images that signal sustainability are often about pausing and finding a balance. It easily becomes a retrospective, an expression of our perception that things were more sustainable in the old days.
But sustainability is not about standing still, it is about creating development and processes that are in balance with nature and society. It is about change.
New values are displayed with movement
But there are more expressions of sustainability. In parallel with the pause, it is also about an innovative quest for efficient and smart solutions.
 
To express new values ​​that break away from the traditions to promote alternative thinking. Thus creating a more equal and democratic society for all.
The search is depicted with motion in the image. It can be positive forward, as depicted by a left-to-right movement in the picture, or from bottom to top to depict pursuit of something. Contrasts can also be an effective way to show change. There can be contrasts in color, blur-sharpness, near-far away, light-dark, old-new.

Both feet on the ground
Because sustainability is about preserving local products and services and respect for nature and fellow human beings, it is advantageous to feature an anchor in the image, preferably one with a physical point of contact.  

It can be an anchor in nature such as bare feet on the ground, a hand on the trunk of a tree or the wind blowing through the hair. These tactile expressions focus on the values ​​of closeness and presence, which in turn allows for direct action. It just happens that this often acts as an effective metaphor for buying power.
Sustainability can also be expressed as an anchor in relation to other people and the personal meeting. It can be depicted by touch or form a common physical body such as a group or by people gathered around a table:
It can also involve an anchoring in identity or everyday living environment, to be secure in it and share it, showing steady feet on the ground, involved and included:
Give a voice to your particular story
Everyday life is a frequent occurrence because sustainability usually means changing choices in everyday life. It can be symbolized by "unvarnished" characters in familiar environments wearing an accessible, crumpled and messy look, and what appears to be authentic day light. Steer clear of anything that seems construed or arranged, since it can add a sense of manipulation that distracts.

All expressions carried in the image, such as structure, shapes, personalities, environments, textures, lighting and colors, gives voice to your particular sustainability story.
Did you miss part 1 of our focus on sustainability?
Design and brand strategist, John Mellkvist, spoke about the worldwide trend of utopia as a business concept - and why you cannot afford to ignore it. Thoughtful reading!
Find part one here»
Our 4 top tips
What values would the company like to convey
How are they shown visually? Gather examples of images that feel right, but also some that are wrong in order to map out your particular image style.  

People in the pictures
People create strong expressions that attract the eye and are visible through the media noise. You are probably already thinking diversity and equality, but it is worth a reminder. Let all kinds of people be seen in your communication!

Keep an eye on the legal aspects
Professional stock photo companies must have written permission for images of models, and also places when required. Make sure you're image is save to use!
What is a good image?
We quote Swedish image doyen, Bo Bergström, author of many books on visual communication: "Search for the spice in the image. Use photographs that offer personality or a measure of honesty, a teaspoon of ingenuity, plenty of human warmth, much concern and, ultimately perhaps, laced with humor, which immediately creates sympathy."
More inspiration on visual communication
Our knowledgebase is your tool box that helps you fine tuning your visual communications. Have you read...
WE GEEK OUT ON NEW PHOTOS
Right now there are an extra lot of new photos flowing in to our website. Our link "new images" can be found to the right of the search bar on the home page and is always well worth a visit. This is where we usually start our own image searches when we want a broad overview without using a particular key search term.
» IMA123380, Anna Kern     » ETS15216, Johan Willner     » CAI412-16686, Caia Images     » IMA144043, Malin Mörner     » IMA111922, Lisa Björner     » IMA121153, Hans Berggren     » IMA126862, Johanna Nyholm     » IMA131750, Susanne Kronholm     » IMA134969, Fredrik Ludvigsson     » IMA119518, Björn Dahlgren     » IMA123106, Nicho Södling     » FAN42-71218386, Fancy     » ETS23597, Johan Alp     » IMA136386, Michael Jönsson     » NAT91710, Benny Karlsson     » IMA120728, Nicho Södling     » IMA120733, Nicho Södling     » IMA120748, Nicho Södling     » IMA120745, Nicho Södling     » IMA120746, Nicho Södling     » IMA145779, Peter Lydén     » IMA141422, Anna Kern     » IMA144063, Malin Mörner     » IMA142135, Hannes Söderlund     » IMA134995, Hélen Karlsson     » GLAGHI-NICKO00033, Glasshouse Images     » Portrait Karin Sandelin: Kristian Pohl