Landing Page Visuals: When to Use Photos vs. Illustrations

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Improving landing page conversion rates is a complex process, as there are so many elements to tinker with. In this post, we’ll be looking at visuals, which are arguably one of the most important elements. We’ll make a case for using both photos and illustrations, providing seven examples that should help you choose one over the other or perhaps decide to include both.

Remember: an image will always speak louder than words. No matter how well-written your landing page copy is, if you fail to strike the right chord with your visuals, chances are your brilliant wordsmithing talent won’t even be noticed. Leads will simply click off and look elsewhere.

Let’s dive right into our illustrative examples:

Illustrations: You Offer a Service

When you are in the service industry, using illustrations often makes more sense than using photos. True, you can add a face to the name and use photos of your staff or customers, but these photos are not as likely to convert as an illustration. After all, they don’t say anything about your brand — not really.

With illustrations, you can:

  • pinpoint the pain points you’re solving
  • shed some light on the process itself
  • illustrate your customers and yourself having an interaction

Here’s an example: AMZ Pathfinder is in the Amazon ads industry, and they’ve chosen to illustrate their homepage. There they are, working on different strategies to increase a client’s earnings, and there’s their client asking all kinds of questions. The illustrations are a much better solution than showing mere screengrabs of ad spend. They are more human and tell a better story.


Illustrations: They Are on Brand

Illustrations can also be a great choice when they are perfectly aligned with your brand. For instance, if you are in the design business, showcasing what you can do will naturally be the best possible course of action.

However, illustrations can also help illustrate (pun intended) what kind of a brand you are. If you are more on the serious side, a clever graphic designer can help you appear trustworthy and organized. If you are a more laid-back brand, you can lend your homepage this vibrant feeling that will communicate your ethos much better than an image ever could.

Case in point here’s See Make Play. They offer all kinds of workshops for both kids and adults in Australia, and their landing page has managed to convey their main selling points with just a couple of simple illustrations.


If they had chosen to feature more photos of the workshops themselves, the effect wouldn’t be as impactful.

Illustrations: You Want to Illustrate an Abstract Concept

Finally, illustrations are an amazing way to make abstract concepts more tangible and to explain a process that might otherwise be inexplicable.

The best thing about using illustrations on your landing page is that they are able to convey any meaning and define anything, even if it’s a non-tangible concept that doesn’t exist in 3D. This is especially true for brands that, for example, offer counseling services. An image of a smiling client conveys nothing, but an illustration can make a visitor feel calm, inspire trust, and show what the process and expected outcomes will be.

Or, here is an example from a recycling company, We Recycle. They’ve illustrated their process cleverly and made it perfectly clear what it is they do.


Images of trucks and workmen collecting the trash wouldn’t have been nearly as good of a solution, wouldn’t you agree? This way, they’ve managed to convey the simplicity of the process and its benefits in a very space-saving manner.

Photos: Show What You Can Do

Photos, on the other hand, work much better when it’s a question of showing exactly what a client can expect to get. Illustrating a process is fine, but if you’re selling an actual object, you need to showcase it from as many angles as possible. You have to provide adequate representations of what you’re selling.

This, of course, goes without saying for ecommerce landing pages. Even if what you are technically offering is a service that will result in a product, you need to do your best to show it.

Case in point, custom label designers Inkable Label feature some of their design on their homepage.


Obviously, this isn’t the actual product you can expect to get, and everything they do will depend on your needs. The point is that they’ve shown real products and are thus able to convey their expertise.

Photos: Your Products Are Tangible

Speaking of products, let’s devote another minute to e-commerce stores that sell 3D objects and the best ways to construct their landing pages.

When you stock a lot of different products, you want your main landing page to showcase a lot of them. You’ll highlight your most sought after, most popular, or most useful products. You will likely never be able to feature an image of all of them, but you do need to spark some interest to get a lead to click through to a product page.

Homestead Supplier has done a good job, and they feature several product photos on their homepage. Note that their menu will also point you to categories that are not featured here.



The photos that have made the cut serve to make that instant homesteading and outdoorsy connection in the customer’s mind. Plus, the cute farm animals help a lot too.

Photos: They Can Add Another Layer to Your Page

Finally, there’s one more brilliant reason to use photos on your landing pages: when you are talking about something specific that can also be shown.

Remember, visuals are meant to add another layer of meaning to your story and deepen your audience’s connection and understanding. If you can show a photo of the exact item you are referencing, they will understand and digest your copy on a whole new level.

For example, this Dogs Planet post on spotted dog breeds features a photo of every breed they’ve mentioned. Imagine what the post would feel like without these images? How is a reader supposed to know which dog breed is which?


Whenever you have the opportunity to use a photo in a similar way, always make good use of it. It will elevate your page significantly.

Both: Showing the Process and the Product

Ultimately, we have to point out that there’s absolutely no reason not to use both photos and illustrations on a landing page. If there are products you can show and processes you can illustrate if there is branding you want to inject and items you want to showcase — there is no rule that says you aren’t able to use both.

Here’s our final example from Mixam, which is a printing business. As their products are all custom-made, they’ve used example photos to show the quality of their work.


However, they then also have illustrative videos that show you what the process is like and why you should ultimately choose them for your printing needs.

Source: mixam.comLanding Page Visuals: When to Use Photos vs. Illustrations

Final Thoughts

Both photos and illustrations have their unique place on your landing pages and can serve very different purposes. It’s just about determining which would make the most impact and how you can convey your message to your audience.

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