Day 5: Brandish your Magic Wand!
Let’s just get this out of the way: there’s a TON to learn and explore about images, so we’re going to leave most of it for another time, and do one fun - and simple - assignment today that we hope will result in a new discovery.
It starts with one perspective that may help you create a starting point in the face of the gajillion possibilities for and questions about images:
You can give your imagery ONE job to do; just like each element of your web site. Like this:
“My words DESCRIBE, and my images EVOKE.”
Obviously words can also evoke, and images can also describe.
But wow, it sure makes it easier on you if you know that your images only have to EVOKE A FEELING, right? Rather than tell a whole story or describe an idea? And, it happens that EVOCATION are what images are BEST at - they are especially powerful when used this way. They can add more nuance, more feeling, more of a sensory connection to whatever you're writing about, acting in harmony with your words rather than singing in unison. So for today, you are going to craft an assignment for yourself to make or find some images that evoke the key feelings at the heart of your work for your site.
Our assignment comes in 5 small parts.
Decide what kind of imagery is most important for you to refresh NEXT.
Large banners/featured images - these might, but don’t have to, contain more story-based or narrative elements.
Atmospheric/background/tone-setting - these might be more about color, texture, pattern. They might go behind text and be less busy for the eyes.
Topical / intermittent - These might be smaller in terms of the layout but help continue to evoke feelings, in continuation of the overall look and feel, but also in relation to the thing they are specifically being used for (blog post, article, special page, sales page)
Self portraiture/self representation - Depending on how much YOU are a part of what is being presented as your brand, this might be a headshot on an about page, or something more visible all across your site.
Now, read through the most vibrant passages of your writings this week - the sentences or sections that feel most alive to you right now, and just hold them in your mind/body as you continue through the steps. You can also review what you learned in playing with fonts and colors about the kind of tone you want to set in the visual world of your site; what FEELING at the heart of your work do you want to evoke for your visitor?
Now ask: what mode of image creation or selection feels accessible to me today (even if a bit scary)? Is it searching through stock sites? Is it playing with my camera phone? Is it altering/editing/applying filters to photos I have taken in the past? Is it drawing, or painting, or collage?
Now create an assignment that blends your answers to the above questions. For example:
“I am going to make images for the header area of some of my website pages; They will evoke the feeling of “radiance” from my writings about my work; I will do this with my camera phone, fabrics and objects around my house, and lights; I’m going to focus on the warm, rosy color schemes with a hint of green that appealed to me on Thursday.”
“I want to evoke calmness and stillness but with a glint of sparkle. I want it to be for background photos and textures on my home page, so I want it to be simple. The word I will hold in mind is “presence.” I’ll do this by applying semi-translucent filters over my recent ocean photos using my favorite new app.”
“I want to make some images for my blog essays; I am going to search in Unsplash and other stock sites for images that evoke the feeling of the essays I wrote, rather than illustrate the subject; In addition to the specific feeling of each essay I want to make sure they all have the exuberant quality of my brand with vivid colors and lots of blues.”
Then, follow your own assignment for 45 minutes or so and see what happens!
Come into the Tactical Imagination Club and tell us what your assignment is! And when you are done, show us some images!
More resources for image making:
The Art of Showing Up (prompts from another 5-day visual storytelling, this one with prompts you can use for selfies and self-portraits. This link takes you to the files section of the the Facebook group, where the assignments are stored for now.)