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The Strong Impact of Gritty, Realism in Photography

Are you a graphic artist looking for new ways to create high impact imagery for your clients? Many designers are using original street imagery that is gritty and industrial to enhance a Blog post, article, or set off a client flyer. Here are some concepts to learn how you can take advantage of this edgy approach to enliven your client’s online persona or breathe life into your online portfolio.



Let’s take a look at some interesting changes impacting business profiles on the Internet. The demand for transparency and authenticity is growing steadily in tandem with consumers fed up with gridlocked governmental systems and indifferent corporations. So many traditional corporate ideals and concepts are changing as a result of public distrust and organizations are under pressure to restore the faith of their customers. There appears to be a gravitational shift toward darker themes and real life imagery. This may be a reflection of the market responding to the current anxieties facing the economy and the political environment.

So what does this all mean for designing communications for business? It means that how we communicate through design is changing as well and new opportunities are emerging. The smooth lines and brand identity of conventional corporate design is morphing into raw, gritty dystopian themes. This has created a ripe platform for designers to make a visual impact for their clients.

Utilizing more scenes from real life and gritty, industrial imagery can greatly influence your client’s online presence. Here are some reasons why you should incorporate more industrial photography in your design projects.

  • Authenticity. Sharp, emotive, industrial and urban scenes evoke a sense of authenticity and transparency that aids in developing company trust.
  • Deeper Meaning. Compelling image choices add deeper layers of meaning to an article or blog post if done well.
  • High Visual Impact. Edgy photography has a high visual impact within search results and steers more customers toward the content.
  • Personal Connection. Conveys a personal narrative that people connect with and will be more inclined to follow.



Many designers are using Google Street View in ways that create truly inspiring imagery and original collaborative processes that is changing the face of photographic technique. The underlying current is a kind of raw poetry. Individual expression and story telling through your photography can deeply personalize your website. Try some of these techniques to create a compelling narrative:

  • Get inside unusual spaces. Take photographs of back alleys, construction sites, unusual spaces and found objects.
  • Create meaning. What is the meaning behind the image? How does it make you feel? How do other people react to the photograph? Ask lots of questions.
  • Contrast unrelated images. These can be the most profound. Street scenes are often perfect contrasting settings. For example, A poor person sitting on a bench in front of Disneyland creates a social contrast and can provide a great analogy for written content on a company website.

The point is to develop photography that establishes authenticity and relevant material that communicates effectively with a business profile. Authentic, detailed and clear content is growing in demand and can be enhanced by using simple images that capture gritty industrial scenes. So, get out there and get real!

John Gower is an analyst for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you save money with tips on everything from photography to the best credit union CD rates.




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