There’s no doubt that images are now more important to effective communications than ever. However finding images that you can use in your communications without breaking any copyright laws is more difficult. Creating a bank of brand-approved images that any communicator in your organisation can access and use will save time and boost consistency.
So how do you go about creating an Image Bank?
First, check your Brand Guidelines:
Many organisations have strict brand guidelines that outline which images that can be used within branded communications (including internal newsletters and flyers).
Before looking at the options below, check in with your marketing and/or brand teams to see whether your organisation has a policy on brand images.
They may already have a suite of stock images paid for which can be re-used internally.
If no guidelines exist, create your own image bank:
Ideally you could request a small budget to purchase stock images that can be used across your internal communications.
Sites like www.thinkstock.co.uk and www.iStockphoto.com are a great source of stock images.
Buying smaller resolution images (which are best for digital use) and buying multiple images at once is often cheaper.
However be aware that you will need to purchase high-res images if you’re planning to also use the images for print (e.g. in posters or magazines).
If you can’t get budget for an image bank…
Search established sites for free weekly files:
Many of the established stock photo sites (such as iStockPhoto) include a weekly batch of free stock images that can be downloaded without payment.
Checking in on these sites regularly can be a great way to build a free image bank.
Use one of the free Stock Image sites
There are also plenty of sites where you can gain free stock images:
Run an employee photo competition
One of the best ways to build your image bank is to get employees involved. Running a ‘What does working at Poppulo mean to you’ photo competition could provide you with a brilliant bank of employee-related photos. It also offers a great insight into the everyday experiences and roles of staff. Plus your employees will get the added kick of seeing their own photos used in company communications.
Whatever you do... Resist the temptation to download directly from Google
Many people assume there are no legal issues when using images downloaded from the web in internal company presentations or communications. However using images internally is still seen as commercial use and you could face major fines.