February 12th, 2016
How to choose images (so your site doesn’t look bad)

You want your site to look good, right?

If you’ve come to Collegiate, it’s because you recognize the importance of a beautiful and functional site in attracting students and providing for your community. Graphics are a big part of this—we’re all suckers for big, beautiful images—so we’ve tried to design our template to be as fail-safe as possible. We want you to be able to choose images you like and be reasonably confident they’ll look alright. But as there are still some common pitfalls you can find yourself falling victim to, here are a few pointers to help you find your way.

Prefer landscape format

landscape-format image

A landscape-format image! These are your friend.

This is a must if you’re selecting large splash images for a page or even for a blog post. Landscape images fit better on a screen, allowing you to make better use of your website’s above-the-fold real-estate (by which I mean the portion of your site which can be seen without having to scroll down). Large portrait images, by contrast, shove your site’s content further down the page where it’s harder to see and harder to be found.

portrait format image

An image in portrait-format

We have some built-in design parameters in place to keep this from happening in some areas of the site, but they may cause your image to appear smaller, leaving you with a ton of extra white space. So unless your intent is to use a relatively small portrait image to be embedded within the body copy of your site, choose landscape wherever possible.

Choose images that fit their space

This is another hazard most applicable to portrait images: some areas are designed to automatically stretch an image to fill a certain space. A landscape image is usually wide enough to fill a screen without too much difficulty, but even a large portrait image is likely to be stretched so much that it becomes grainy and pixelated. Again, we’ve taken steps to prevent this from happening, but as I said above, they may leave you with awkward-looking open spaces where you don’t want them. If you have a portrait image you want to use, and it’s wide enough to fill the space you have for it, try cropping it down to a horizontal format.

Make sure your images are high-quality

This may sound like a no-brainer, but there’s only so much a good site can do if the images you’re starting with are bad. And if all you have are old, low-quality images, you may have to go get some new ones. If you don’t have a decent camera—or if you don’t trust your photography skills—consider investing in either a photographer or some decent stock photography.

Have a beautiful site

The Collegiate template is designed to make full use of the images you choose to feature on your page. If you’re having trouble, or if you have an idea for an additional way we could help you showcase your community, drop us a line!