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Cliché Images to Avoid on your Website

Posted on May 18, 2011

We’ve all seen a few stock images that are used and re-used across many websites on the internet. In a world where coping and pasting digital images is easy to accomplish it’s very easy to fall into the trap of using cliche images for your next graphic or web design project. Not sure which images are overused and generic? Well let’s take a look at some of the ones you’ve probably seen around:

“the Handshake”

This culprit can be found on many business websites seeking to promote success and deal-making. The trouble with “the Handshake” is that it does not say anything specific about the business or why you should choose them beyond the fact that they might have a firm grip.







“the Phone Operator”

This happy operator is a bit overused on website contact forms and should be replaced with a more unique or relevant image (or better yet, a real picture of the people at your company!)









“the Big Blue Globe”

Similar to “the Handshake” this image of the Earth is meant to show globalization or a globally-focused company but misses the mark. Aside from being the first image that comes up when searching “globe”, this image fails to explain anything about what business the company is in.











“the Business Team”

This image means to convey teamwork and diversity but, unless those are the actual people on your team, these types of “business team” or “business meeting” images fail to convey what makes your team special. Try replacing this picture with a video of your business team presenting to a client or even a written testimonial of what differentiates you from your competition.







“the Successful Company”

These stock charts are as old as WordArt and only convey unprofessionalism. Be very careful about adding too much flair to your graphs as your audience may be blinded by the rainbow bar graphs and miss the point of the graph: to convey information in an easy-to-compare and clear format.







“at the Office”

Unless you’re a company that sells keyboards and laptops, stay away from these images that seek to convey “productivity”. If you want to convey that you’re company is innovative try a video or written story about what a specific obstacle you’ve overcome was and what sets you apart in your field.







Stray Away from Clichés!
Find the root meaning of what you are trying to convey, try to be as specific as possible. For example, if you are trying to find an image for an IT (Information Technology) company that has networks around the world try this:












instead of














Interested in learning more about graphic design and web design? Take a look at our Multimedia Design program at Fremont College and start your career as a cutting-edge designer today.