I keep seeing them. Business to business websites that exclusively use black and white photography.
Bad website designers do it because they think it’s business innit, so it’s, oh, you know, serious.
(Forgive them, they know no better.)
So they use wishy-washy black and white images. Often library shots of cityscapes, or implausibly beautiful models sitting in glass-filled meeting rooms and wearing designer glasses that are meant to signify “I am a business person”. Or moody shots of clouds.
What these shots actually say is: “I am not a real person. This is not our office. We couldn’t be bothered to get some decent shots of our own people or premises.”
The designer then compounds the error by siting these terrible shots on pale blue backgrounds with grey type.
And, my god, are they dull.
And they’re everywhere. Please don’t do it.
The rules for designing a B2B website aren’t any different from those for a consumer website. Some folks, who measure this stuff, reckon you have around 8 seconds to hook your visitor into staying. And that means you need compelling headlines, beautifully persuasive and engaging copy, and attractive eye-catching imagery.
Whatever it is you’re selling.
Yonks ago, when I was Promotion Director for The Reader’s Digest, we used to test everything. Not just the promotion end of things where we literally tested a change of sentence in body copy, a change of word in terms and conditions.
But in product development too. If a new book was on the cards, for example, we’d test dozens of covers, titles, page layouts, prices…you name it.
And what we saw, time after time, is that ordinary punters hate black and white pictures. They see it as cheap. And boring.
Designers often see it as edgy. Or slick. And sometimes it is if you really know what you’re doing, and you use the Very Best photographers.
But most of the time it’s just plain old dull-as-dishwater.
As cold and uninviting as a dead halibut in a city gutter.