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3 questions that make you a better image communicator
With the right images, you reinforce your message, your relationship with those you want to reach and your brand positioning. When images work together with layout, colour, text and the choice of communication channel, the impact is greatest, creating a strong emotional expression that represents what you as a sender stand for.

But how do you keep a common thread running through image choice, messaging and branding?

We spoke to semiotician Karin Sandelin who suggests three smart questions for you to ask yourself when choosing images.

Karin Sandelin, photo: Kristian Pohl
Karin Sandelin
As a semiotician at Kantar Sifo, Karin Sandelin guides many of our biggest brands, organisations and authorities in, among other things, imagery, in order to build strong and clear messages and brand identities.
Picture collage with two pictures of cyclists
1. Does the image convey our core values?
An image conveys a range of meanings that we perceive both consciously and unconsciously. These need to be in sync with your core values, regardless of the type of image. If authenticity is important to you, the image also needs to convey authenticity. If you value individual adaptation or collective solutions, this can also be conveyed through the image.

Image example:
individual adaptation or collective solutions
Picture collage with two pictures of leaders on a construction site
2. Are my images emotionally consistent?
Often, a brand wants to convey a set of values, which are often at odds - local and global, innovative and rooted, welcoming and sophisticated. Just as a brand platform needs to be clear, so too do image choices need to be clear and consistent. That way, the message is credible, and you as the sender are recognised.

Focus on a few emotional values that don't contradict each other, and feel free to define the "how". For example, how are you a leader? In what way, what type of leadership? And how do you portray that in images?

Image example:
collective leadership or individualistic leadership
Image collage with two images of a single person and several people together
3. How does the image relate to norms?
Your choice of image always relates to the visual, social conversation. Therefore, it is important to be aware of who is represented in the images and in what way. Do you use images that depict different groups of people, roles and relationships in a stereotypical way? Image choices that consistently convey archaic gender roles or a lack of diversity can easily affect the brand's relevance to different audiences. Your choice of imagery doesn't necessarily have to be challenging, but deliberate.

Image example:
representation of belonging as an individual or in a group
Photographers: Plattform (ima221277), Ulf Huett Nilsson (ima103262), Lena Granefelt (ima109658), Maskot Bildbyrå (masma51490), Jens Lindström (sca16010), Plattform (ima211813 and ima221291).