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Images are powerful communicators, the body language of written communication. An image or infographic can add clarity to the words. Images also set the tone of the publication and tell the reader a great deal about your organisation’s values.

Choosing an inappropriate image could make your organisation look out-dated or convey the wrong message about your organisational culture. When choosing photographic images for your print or online publication, ask yourself the following questions.

How are men and women represented in the image?

If you always choose images of men to represent high-powered roles, as readers we understand that in your organisation management is a male domain and that you don’t value women as leaders. If we always see men in hard hats on a construction site, it sends the message that your organisation does not employ women in these roles. Make sure your publications show a mixture of men and women in all roles.

What is the cultural background of the people in the images?

Our Australian workplaces are culturally very diverse. To represent your workforce accurately and show that your organisation is inclusive, choose images that have a wide cross-section of people. Beware of images taken in other countries, such as the United States, which might not accurately represent Australia’s workforce.

What is the age range of the people in the images?

Multi-generational workplaces are becoming the norm, with up to five generations working side-by-side. Make sure your images reflect 21st century reality by showing a mix of ages, not just people in their 30s and 40s. Be careful of age stereotyping with grey-haired, male Caucasian CEOs and young, blonde female support staff typing and answering telephones.

There is no doubt that images and graphic design can add enormous value to your publications by adding visual appeal and enhancing readability. Always choose images carefully to avoid falling into common stereotyping traps and sending the wrong message about your organisation.

For help with creating clear, concise and visually stunning communications, contact Concise Writing Consultancy on +61 2 9238 6638.