Image curation will take your website from “meh” to “wow” — it’s the surefire way to make sure your professionally designed template turns into YOUR professionally designed website. Want to know more? Keep reading.
You know how you go looking for a website template, finally find one that looks perfect for your business, only to have it turn out “blah”?
Been there. Done that. Over and over again. I thought I just sucked at website design. But NO! Like everything else, there’s a skill and a process for converting those professionally designed website templates into your very own professionally designed website.
And the secret is — IMAGE CURATION.
Recently I saw a short video that delivered that “whack on the side of the head” moment. And, for that, I can thank Sharon Marta from SM Creative. I’m not sure if this is a designer term, but Sharon said it and it makes an insane amount of sense — IMAGE CURATION! ?
Let me explain. But first — meet Sharon ⬇️
Sharon is a website designer who primarily works on the Squarespace platform. I’ve worked with a lot of website designers — and while I’ve not worked with Sharon — I really like her approach.
But I digress,
What is Image Curation?
Image curation is a simple process of creating a set of images that work together cohesively and set a mood or vibe for your website. Not all stock photography or graphics are created equal so when you want your website to look AND FEEL like the template you fell in love with — the secret lies in selecting images with the same VIBE (or feel), similar colors, and structure.
Marta has a process she uses for image creation — and here it is.
Step 1: Determine the vibe you want for your website
It’s all about the VIBE. The reason you fell in love with the website demo template you chose is because it has a certain VIBE.
It’s like walking into a well designed room and just having that warm and cozy “I want to hang out here forever” feeling. But then when you try to do this at home, it just falls flat.
That’s because you have to work the VIBE and not the individual images.
Marta suggests that you write down the words that describe the vibe you want for your website. For example, if you’re a Florida photographer, you may want the vibe of “beachy, sandy, and high-end.” These words will be your guiding principles when choosing images for your website. Or, maybe you’re a restaurant that strives to be that romantic dinner reservation. So your vibe would be “romantic, warm, cozy, peaceful”.
I’ll bet you already have some ideas happening inside your head.
So now, think about your brand and your business vibe. What words would best describe the vibe you’re after.
Step 2: Qualify each image by the vibe you want
When looking at each image, ask yourself if it fits the vibe you’re going for. If it doesn’t, move on to the next one. If it does, add it to your collection.
I’m not sure if she mentions this in her video, but I would say select a LOT of images. Like, create a big database of images. Because once you’re in this process, you don’t want to have to stop and go back. I’m thinking you probably will, but do your best to select a lot of images.
I just realized something else.
DO NOT BUY all these images. Instead, download the watermarked versions for now. Don’t buy anything until you’re certain you’ve got the ones you want.
This step also assumes that you’re going to be using stock images. This tip can also help you with creative direction if you decide to work with a photographer to have custom images taken.
Step 3: Choose your “hero” images
Pick out your absolute favorite images from the collection and make sure their colors are cohesive. These will be your “hero” images, and all other images on your website must match them.
Step 4: Make sure all the other images match your hero images
All other images on your website must match the colors and vibe of your hero images. This will create a cohesive and polished look for your website.
This is another priceless tip. And, the reason I think it’s a good idea to select a LOT of images; a lot of hero images, a lot of supporting images because you want to be able to group them.
Step 5: Match the images to the copy
Marta didn’t say anything about matching the copy to the image. But I think that’s another filter you have to run through. Yet another reason to make sure that you have a HUGE database of “qualified” images.
Practice Makes Perfect
It may take some practice to get the hang of image curation, but once you do, you’ll have a website that looks as good as the template you purchased. And if you find that you just don’t have the time or the tech skills to put it all together, and you’re working on Squarespace — then check out Sharon Marta — seems like she’s available to help.
Image curation is a simple process that can take your website from “meh” to “wow.” It’s the secret to making your website look as good as the template you purchased, and it’s something that many small businesses struggle with. But with these steps and a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to create a website that sets the right vibe for your business.