We are very visual beings. We like to see it to believe it. And sometimes we don’t trust our brain as much as we trust our eyes. Making decisions is often easier when you see something rather than if you take in a bunch of information about that something.
Could you imagine trying out a new restaurant without seeing food from their menu? Could you imagine purchasing a shirt online without actually seeing that shirt? How about working with a developer and not knowing what sites they’ve worked on? All these things sound farfetched because we have to see something.
Visuals help build trust in that same vein, that we must actually see it to understand it’s real. Web designs have become very image heavy as of late because we want to do less reading and more seeing. We don’t want to have to make difficult decisions about easy things. Just show us the offering and we can go from there.
Our best bet is to create images galleries. Image galleries come in many forms to many different sites and of course make the most sense. We now have a place to put all our work or our products so visitors can see what we have to offer. Today we’ve found some of the most interesting, intuitive and innovative image galleries we could find. So, let’s jump right in…
To start, let’s break out of the entire notion that our thumbnails have to even be squares. Arnaud has created perfectly spaced parallelograms to show off his thumbnails. This is immediately interesting and stands out from the thousands of portfolios that are all too square.
If you are a photographer that specializes in composition and post-processing, you probably want to make sure you show as much picture as possible. The people over at Aspect Photography have made that evident as they feature a full image website that moves from image to image and can be varied by category.
Ben Trovato is somewhat of an online publication that’s dedicated to high end fashion photography and fabulous filmography. Rather than creating your typical slider and galleries, Ben has created kind of a navigation menu that takes you from piece to piece to display wonderful images.
Big Human has done an absolutely wonderful job making an image gallery with easy to use and understand navigation. Utilizing the arrow keys on a keyboard, the developers here have made it second nature to scroll through images and skip to different projects. This is a great idea that I’d love to see implemented more.
Damian Watracz Design
Again, we’ve found someone who isn’t afraid to step away from the idea that square thumbnails are necessary. Not to mention, the roll over state of these shapes is quite interesting. Damian uses his image gallery to show his processes and work for each project.
Any graphic design studio or person has to hang their hat on their portfolio. Founded has a no-fluff, portfolio-focused website that takes you through many of their projects. Rather than your standard slider or lightbox, this portfolio uses navigational cues and tricks to move from image to image.
Before we get into how great of a website this is, we should also take note of how special a resource this is. Free faces is dedicated to showcasing some of the highest quality free fonts. With that out the way, I absolutely love how the images in the gallery aren’t just standard text. It’s a close up shot that really interests you in the font. Really wonderful idea.
The Twelve has put together a very interactive, feature-rich presentation of their work. The projects gallery itself is interesting because it makes use of hover states to tell you more about the project and the get you interested. The images inside the project piece are laid out in sliders and individual pictures to show the work.
This is a nice idea if you are into the monotone color themes. Not just that, but Jeremiah has created an image gallery that shows the project in the thumbnails. I think this is a great idea because it keeps everything on one page and visible. If you want to see larger images, you have that option as well.
Rick & Drew
This is a multi-faceted group of designers and digital masters that have together to create a great portfolio. You have the ability to search throughout any of their disciplines to get a better look at them. What’s fascinating is each category presents the work differently, so you never get used to seeing the same thing.
It is of extreme importance to make sure your user interface and experience is up to par. You do this by basically using common sense and not making it a task for a person to use your site. Make it easy; that’s exactly what SVLA did. The navigation between pictures is amazing, makes sense and is easy to use.
James Yencken and Jonathon Bellew proclaim that they have been working as an agency together for more than five years. To back up that claim, they’ve decided to show their works on a special timeline, divided up into years. It’s wonderful because it can also transform and filter based on discipline and color as well.
The Top Project
In creating image galleries, you have to always create something that works for your audience. Here, we obviously have an audience that’s interested in fashion. But, instead of being standard and proposing a grid, we have a horizontal scrolling set of models. This looks and feels a lot like seeing models walk on runways.
The Hungry Workshop
Some people just have a style. It’s not a bad thing, as it’s really beneficial to have and master a niche. Having a certain style almost always guarantees success. The Hungry Workshop knows they are consistent and have put their works together to show it. Their close knit grid image gallery helps solidify the idea that they know their bread and butter.
They decided to keep the idea pretty basic here — a grid based image gallery that reveals more images in a lightbox. What I love about this site is they decided to enhance the aesthetics rather than try to re-invent the wheel. The look lets us know more work is available to be seen and goes well with the concept of their brand.
This brand designer has come up with a way to make his website read kind of like a magazine. The image gallery is pretty standard, but opening it up takes you into a landscape, horizontal scrolling world of all the processes and pieces created for each brand. This is a very unique spin that easily details and favors case studies.
If you are developing an image gallery for a website, keep in mind that it must make sense and really allow visitors to do as little thinking as possible. People are looking at these images to make a decision or get inspired. Of course you’ll want to choose the best images and kill two birds with one stone. Don’t overdo things with too much feature/benefit content near images. A description at most should do.
Keep your image galleries interesting and fresh to encourage visitors to return and share your work. After all, the point of being seen is indeed to be seen.
What are some of your favorite image galleries? Are there rules you think image galleries should adhere to? Let us know in the comments.