Blog Design - Branding your images

In this longer than usual article, I look into the different types of featured images used in Wordpress themes. Long, short, square? Images? Text? What font?
7 min read

If you look at some of the most successful blogs out there, you'll notice a consistency throuout the site. I wanted to pick up on the use of branding in featured images, and featured images in general. A solid social media tip is to stick an image on your updates. That one thing is continually reported to bring in 2x return on an update. Pinterest is one of the strongest traffic driving platforms, image led, it shows the power contained in this lil visual things.

I've gathered up some of my favourite examples from across the way and will go over why I like them and what benefits they bring and general analysis stuffs.

The Nectar Collective Image Branding Example 1

The Nectar Collective Image Branding Example 2

Proprietor Melyssa Griffin, Designer / Blogger / Chronic Smiler, has a great grasp of branding on her site; she uses a simple white box with clean sans-serif text astride a noble steed... <ahem> background image. Particularly on the more colourful backgrounds, this style never looked so good!

Functional, this style goes well with blogs going for clean, fresh, simple or minimal vibes. Font and colour will lean you over to the feminine or masculine side of things. Same story with the box; it could be ornamental, shield or wall plaque shaped, and that paints a different picture (We'll investigate these touches a little later on).

The legibility is a big winner here, the images are easy to read. Good leading or line height takes the strain off your eyes and the italics help emphasise a free gift. Background image helps give context, if you go for a style like this make sure to source great images. Quite wide and slim these ones, fits nice as a hero image and as something to head up a blog post. Nice.

Love Grows Design Blog by Bethany Grow

Love Grows Design Blog Images

Bethany runs a graphic design and branding business. She is a frequent writer on her blog and is a great example of someone using quite a few image styles. They're well designed and match her brand, but change a lot.

One of the things I did to clarify my brand, was to make distinct decisions on the look and feel of it. I unified it into one solid, cohesive aesthetic. It did wonders for my SEO — but there was a part of me that felt uninspired by single visual style. As of this, I changed them a lot, and it was a bit all over the place... In the end, I made the decision to use slight variations for each platform. I keep the fonts and colour scheme the same, but maybe I explore more White Space on Pinterest or more vibrancy on Instagram.

I don't want to dilute the brand but it gives me freedom to experiment when I'm in the mood.

So thats one way to use lots of styles well. You could as Beth does, evolve over time — but if you were to find these out of context, how do you know its Beth? Bottom Left fits most with what Beth has on her site. The subtle grain texture features a lot on her site (At time of writing) and tells me, 'this is a Beth blog post'. Others don't say this as much, they are more trendy and catch your interest that way.

On the topic of branding, Beth has a post about creating a style guide for your blog, it's pretty tight and concise, you can check it out here: LoveGrowsDesign. Really like those black and white photos too :) Bit more square in this case as well, they fit well with the blog, no cut-offs from what I saw. Do you want the reader to see a big image and be intrigued by that or get to the words faster?

Bit of Marie TV Now...

Marie Forleo YouTube BrandingA great place for inspiration when deciding on your featured image style is YouTube. Its essentially a breeding ground for featured images, that and the headlines are why you click. Marie Forleo is a very successful business coach (amongst many other things) she seems to regularly rub elbows with the greatest entrepreneurs in the world. Her story from the bottom to the top is an inspiring one of hard work and hustle, combined with these rubbed elbows, she has an incredible amount of entrepreneurial gospel to send your way so definitely subscribe on YouTube and the site.

Look at the consistency! Dayymm, like it. Very nice. Marie uses a nice condensed font, something along the lines of a Trade Gothic, Bebas, Solano, DIN font. To really engrain her face with her brand (and it is a very 'her' brand, you really sign up for Marie) you'll see that its her in every photo with a dark overlay to make that text pop. During the videos, some very nice clean animations add emphasis or chapters to the video. This is set on a nice neutral 'on-brand' colour — nice and cohesive throughout.

Worth drawing your attention to her headlines while we are here as well. There's none of that click-bait shit: "43 ways to sell your soul, and you wouldn't believe number 6", none of that shit. Instead you've got some more humanistic, helpful headlines like: "How to turn off your biz self" and "how to get paid when you hate asking for money". They're proven formulas, but their not bait, thats not Marie's brand.

Simple and very effective, this is a solid approach to featured images

A lot of ladies huh? Lets get some gentlemen in here...

Dale Partridge of The Daily Positive

The Daily Positive Branding Example 1
One we haven't looked at yet is the watermark or... 'making it really fucking clear where the image came from!' Dale adds the website name to the bottom of his images. Easy peasy, big bright images, good headlines, link back to origin. Done!

One thing to think about is how big your images need to be and then whats actually possible in terms of size, length etc. This image is off Pinterest, and it makes good use of the 'use long images to steal all the real estate' trick, I don't see it on his blog site, that seems to be a little less featured image, more just photos of relevant things.

As mentioned above, how does this length work for your blog? In Dale's case, as its not on the blog, you get to the words fast but, if you pop over to Regina's Site, you'll see tall images that you have to have a good scroll a fair way down to get to the content. It's not too impactful to me as a reader but it's something I considered and thought about quite consciously

$31k last month, fair play! Dale's a very inspirational kinda guy, spreads a lot of the love and faith stuff (As you can see from that dude holding a faithbox... no idea, it's a Jesus thing). Lots of revenue streams and promotional stuff, very sales, much american.

He recently started doing a podcast, The Startup Camp, I listened to the Johnny Cupcakes episode. Which was eye opening, mainly because Johnny doesn't do any 'bad' things; no drink, drugs, hangovers or come-downs, so... With all that time he saves not crying in bed, he's made a pretty impressive empire! (There's obviously more to it than that, but I was glad to hear he wasn't just some superhuman baller, like i first thought!)

Co-incidentally, that episode is really good to listen to on the topic of branding. Johnny makes his shops smell like cupcakes and although disappointing for some guests, thats one hell of a way to leave a lasting taste (Cheeky pun there) in his customers mouths.

Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income

Pat again, as always, hitting it just right. Look at this BE-AY-YOUTIFUL images!

Smart Passive Featured Images |

Not every post gets an image, or at least they didn't load in time when I was browsing, but these are my top picks. Consistent font and logo use. Out of context you know exactly where they came from. The images are rich, interesting, eye-catching. Really good job, like how the logo is part of the ball in the Sell without Selling one, nice touch :)

 What about me? The crystalpulse brand

Start a Blog in 10 Minutes WordPressWell you'll see I use gold on black, two very specific fonts; Solano and Freight text, these seem to have been a match made in heaven for my eyes and I want nothing else than them everywhere. I use cheaper versions on my site, Oswald and Merriweather, but on squint they look the same.

I went gold because right now I'm feeling classy. It was a very bright blue and that was on brand for my Creative Rebel thing, but as I say I'm feeling classy right now and like to wear black so... Black and Gold it is. I might add images in there at some point. i'm playing around with it in Photoshop at the moment, but for ease it's just text right now. Hopefully you can tell a 'crystalpulse' post a mile away :D

Similar to Marie's, I just want you to read the title and click if it interests you.

Featured Image Templates

Right so with Divi, I've created a template with safe zones so you can keep the vital information in the centre, that'll show up safely as a thumbnail image and then as a featured image you have a little more on the sides:

Divi WordPress Blog Post Image Template

Right click, Save As... You know the drill. If you want the layered version, that available on my email list.

So this is your basic Divi Featured image, you can have different sized images by having a play with your own. This was how I made mine:

Creating a Featured Image for WordPress

Copied the image from the thumbnail 'grid' mode, you'll see its cropping the words off. Took that into Photoshop and pulled the sides out a bit to something that I was happy with, confirmed that and then fit my text or image to fit within those confinements.

So theres a bit of my thinkings on the topic. What do you think? What would make this article better? Anything I can provide you with? Stick it in the comments below

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