Trying to decide whether to go for bespoke or stock imagery for your website? Here are the pros and cons for both stock photography and illustration to help you go for the right image of choice to suit your company’s brand.

Get Your Brand Identity KnownBespoke illustration and photography are becoming more commonly used within website design these days compared to using stock imagery. Don’t get me wrong, stock images are great for ease of use, but when it comes to a brand, the creation of your own imagery and graphics for your website can be key to success in your industry. Its all about standing out from your competitors!

Photography/Illustration Uses In Web Design:

There are many different ways in which you can incorporate illustration and photography within your website’s design which can help your site be more interactive and attractive to your visiting customers.


  • Diagrams – To make information clearer
  • Images that highlight a point – Provide a visual to go with written content
  • In background design – Thematic illustration for the background can help to make the design consistent across the website
  • Icons – For making buttons and social media sharing icons more interesting
  • Information Graphics – Informative content or charts portrayed in a more visual way can make things easier to remember and easier on the eye than a page of text


It takes time for people get to know your company, your services and your brand. There are many people that will only use a company after they know it well or have seen advertisements in a manner of different places. This means that as a company you need to build strong brand awareness to gain new customers.

The one thing you do want your brand to do is stand out. With the right brand strategy using visual elements and a consistent style, you can get your potential customers to recognise and remember your brand over your competitors through the use of some great imagery.

Illustration on a website can not only be a supporting element, but can also control and change the entire layout of your website. It can help to make your website more visual and when used in the right way; be more eye catching.

Creating Style

When creating a style of imagery, it is important to get the right design style to match your brand and tone of voice, so if your brand is known to be luxury, bold, creative or business-led, you can create the right imagery to convey your message in the right way.

Illustration Vs Stock Photography

There are many brands who revert to stock imagery to use for their advertising and website. Stock imagery has been made easy for everyone to use, all you have to do is search, pay, download and upload the images to your website. It’s easier and quicker, but there are consequences you face when you buy stock imagery.

Stock Photography Disadvantages:

  • You have to spend more money buying larger file sizes so you can blow them up to use on larger scale print such as exhibition graphics
  • You can never find something exactly right. There is always something not quite fitting with some of the images you find online. Coming from experience, unless you design your website around the images you want, you are unlikely to get a photo that fits the bill accordingly. This is where making sure you have all the content for your website before you design your website is key to a successful website without problems
  • You may get the same stock imagery as your competitors or other companies within your industry. By using common imagery you risk making your site the same as everyone else’s. This will make your brand invisible to anyone landing on your website. We have all seen those boring stock images of good-looking employees sitting at desks smiling into space haven’t we? The ease of stock photography has left our visual landscape saturated with these perfect-world, air-brushed images. But the question is; what do customers really want to see that will make them convert?

Stock Image Advantages:

  • It’s easier to use
  • It’s cheaper than paying someone to create illustration for your website
  • There is just about a photo for everything

Bespoke Illustration/Photography Disadvantages:

  • It can be more expensive depending on what style you want
  • It can take longer to get the images that you require depending on the difficulty of getting the imagery
  • With illustration it can be hard to get the right style you want with someone else doing it

Bespoke Illustration/Photography Advantages:

  • It looks professional
  • You have full control of the design style and imagery you want for your website.
    People can relate more to your company and brand as a whole rather than looking at a fake image that just about everyone has
  • Your company’s brand will stand out from the crowd. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s certainly true when it comes to good illustration
  • It’s more fun. Take some time to look at some of the illustration work created for different types of brands. Illustration helps a brand to portray what it is about and gives a fun message in attention-grabbing ways
  • Illustrations can be more easily adjusted for printing and using in other media
  • Cute cartoon illustrations draw attention almost every time they are seen. Even when people aren’t necessarily interested in your products or services, they will spend a couple extra seconds taking a gander at your impressive branding

Judgement Day

When someone visits your website, they make a judgement about it within seconds. You literally have less than 10 seconds to give your viewer the wow factor, or they will bounce off your site and onto competitors.

Most of us can now tell what a fake or phoney website looks like. If you have a website that doesn’t look the bee’s knees then you could find your customers going elsewhere. When you see company photos of actual employees, facilities and products, it is a big improvement on stock imagery and it is something that customers will remember and take note of.

The availability of HD digital cameras and photo editing software has led to a massive surge of interest in amateur photography, which is why digitally enhanced photography and illustration on a website can be more attractive on the eye than the basic stock photography on a website.

Stand out from your competitors with bespoke imagery, don’t blend into the background.

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