Why Emotionally Compelling Images are Important for Social Media

emotionally compelling images social media header

When deciding to communicate a message, the first thing we work on is choosing the right words. However, social media experts agree that including more visuals in posts is a better way of grabbing your audience’s attention. Notice the increased use of emojis, gifs, video, stickers, memes, AI lenses (Snapchat video filters), and images. In this article, we’ll explain why emotionally compelling images are important for social media.

Why images are better

As you navigate social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat), you’ll find that text-based content is taking a back seat to images. While live streaming and video content is making big strides, emotionally compelling images are still key.


Design basics: creating emotionally compelling images

There are many reasons why visuals are better at conveying messages. More important than why is knowing how to use visuals. We’ll briefly explain how to use color, shape, orientation, and size to convey information visually.

Orientation refers to the compositions’ layout. There are three orientation option: vertical, horizontal, and angled (diagonal and various degrees).

With a tall canvas (vertical), you should use a top-bottom layout. With a wide canvas (horizontal) your objects might follow a left to right then top-down order.

Colors convey emotions we can’t express in a single word. Design experts at Adobe say “Green tends to make people think of non-profits or the environment, while red causes stormy emotions like anger, blue is more calming and passive, and yellow creates a sensation of happiness.”

Your goal is to pick colors that convey mood. Use contrasting background and text colors to help keywords to stand out.

“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture” - Yangjoo Park.

On social media, shape also relates to the your canvas area. While most platforms favor squares and horizontal rectangles, creators find using vertical rectangles have better results on Pinterest and blog sidebars.

Proportion and Size
Proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design. Things that are important are larger. For example keywords in an inspirational graphic or people on a movie poster. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the largest element. Size can help guide your audience’s attention.

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