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When you add an image to an editorial piece, it has to flow from one to the other. When you have the perfect pairing the outcome can be stunning and breathtaking and make a real impact. That being said if you don’t make a good pairing, then you’re taking something away from both the image and the editorial.


You have to read the editorial before making any kind of pairing if you want your perfect pairing. You have to let the editorial lead you to your design. Figure out what works better, photography or illustration? When you go with an illustration you tend to portray a more abstract thought. Illustrations can add more character and personality to a design, along with more color while photography can be more effective at representing a specific subject. Be it a place, a person, or an object, you’re more likely to find your perfect pairing if you go with photography. It’s easier to control the tone and mood you represent before anyone even reads the editorial.


Photography may be the only way to go in some instances, in these instances your image needs to represent something; it needs to be more substantial. When this happens you’ll more than likely need a bespoke shot, which is a great time to art direct. When you are director you can choose the specific style, tone, and layout of your shot. If you can’t get your own shot due to budgets, distance, or any other reason, it’s a great idea to go with a stock photo. If you go with a stock photo remember to dive into all the photos you can find related to your topic, don’t go with the first one you find, dig deep and find one that really clicks with your editorial piece.


By that I mean let your illustration tell a part of your story if you use one. If your story’s context is dry or dull, use illustrations to mix it up a bit and add to your story. You can be playful and portray your ideas through illustrated visual metaphors. Illustrations also come in handy when portraying fictitious worlds, environments, and characters that photography just can’t represent.

When commissioning illustration, just like when directing photography, you have to remember that finding the right illustrator is only a part of it; you still have to read the editorial and get a feel for the right image, know what tone and mood you need to set with your imagery.
If what you’re working on is time sensitive there are stock assets, just like stock images, but with illustrations. Don’t forget to dig around for the perfect one; don’t just snag one that looks like it might fit.


You don’t have to keep it small or contained. You can express a lot with an image, and you need to. Never forget how much of an impression you can make with a dramatic piece or layout strategy. Some images may need more space than other to really make the impact you want. Will you have to change a few things? Maybe, but that’s okay. Change can be a good thing, especially if you have something worth being bold for. Don’t resize something to make it fit you, sometimes the confidence to show off a piece of imagery the way it should make a world of difference.


If you do it right you can make cropping an image work in an unexpected way. It all depends on what part of the image you take and use, and how you use it. If your editorial piece suits a part of an image, don’t be afraid to use it. Crop your picture, zoom, blur, there are endless possibilities when you take a new perspective.