One day I was flipping through a magazine. I saw in the list of contents that they had an article about Tiny Houses. I love Tiny Houses. I find them fascinating. So I immediately flipped to the right page. But I was immediately disappointed that the article was accompanied by simple drawings of houses. Drawings of Tiny Houses. No photos showing Tiny Houses, how they look like, and how they’re designed, which was the main reason I wanted to read the article. I am interested in the design of Tiny Houses and the way these little buildings use every possible space.

Now how fascinated I may be by Tiny Houses, this is not what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about that the magazine made a big mistake by not adding photos in this article.

Adding photos or any kind of visuals already give the text a boost. Without even reading any word, it already attracts the eye. It looks attractive, interesting.

But as quick as it can attract attention, it can also lose it just as fast by using the wrong visuals. There’s a wide variation of images you can use for your text, but each has its strength and weaknesses.

Clipart/Stock Illustrations

It’s free, it’s easy. You can find any well-known symbols and icons in every editing program, like Photoshop. Do you want more illustrations, then head over to the clipart gallery in Word. For a school report, a newsletter, an article. Just a few clicks and it immediately pops up in your text. Done!

Sites are offering royalty-free clipart of all possible variations and categories. With a subscription, you can download images in any possible format without any additional fees and use it for whatever you want. Personal and professional.

But that they’re easy to get and free or cheap, is also its weakness. Everyone can get them and can use them. It’s very likely that it has already been seen. The audience already knows it and are too familiar with it. The visual impact will be minimal and it doesn’t pop out.

Clipart/Stock illustration is good for simple things and if you’re on a tight/small budget.


Photos are best for when talking about real-life things. When talking about how fascinating and smart Tiny Houses are, show photos of Tiny Houses showing that. When talking about your latest fantastic trip to Greece, show photos of Greece so your readers will get the same fantastic feeling you had when you were there.

Also for this, there are sites with plenty of stock photos for everything. With a subscription or a one-time payment, you can get the license to use the photo for whatever you want.

But the trick with stock photos is that they’re very specific. You need to be very specific yourself with your search terms to get the right photo.

Another con with photos is that the audience can sense when a stock photo is used. Stock photos look quickly “too perfect”. Nicely groomed model, a white smile, perfectly ironed clothes. It can come across as fake. And just as the clipart, anyone can get them and use them.

The best is to use your own photos. The photos are your property, you own the copyright and the photos portray you, not a stock model. It’s more personal and unique because there’s no one else like you. And with the technology of today, you can easily make photos with your smartphone. A con, however, is that it can quickly look amateurish if photography is not one of your strongest skills.

Hiring a professional is then recommended. Someone who knows how to take the best photos and what’s the best way to highlight the best of you and your company.


Illustrations work best with fictional situations and abstract problems. Do you want to talk about a problem and show that you have the solution? Do you have an idea for the next big thing, but not the funds yet to make it into a real thing?

A series of illustrations will help tell your story. Photos are not suited to portray fictional situations. Again, photos are very specific, they cannot show abstract problems and a series of photos has a big chance to come across as fake. An illustration sparks the imagination of your audience, so they’ll know how your idea will look like and can relate to it.

When working together with an illustrator, you’ll get unique illustrations that no else have or ever will have.

If you want to make sure to have the best visual impact with your text, investing in creative professionals is then the best way to go for your business. The outcome will be unique and one-of-a-kind that only your business will have.

Do make sure to have a good contract with the creatives, so there’s a clear agreement on the copyright and the right of use of the end products. It’ll build trust and create a good relationship between you and the creative professional. You’ll then have a creative in your network, ready to help you out.

And I’m one of the creative professionals you can add to your network!

Are you in need of illustrations for an abstract problem or to portray a fictional situation? Then don’t hesitate to send me a message or book a free 30 min business call here.

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