Visual language


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Photography guidelines

In today’s media-rich environment, people usually look first to images, then to words. The photography we choose plays a vital role in building a powerful, emotional connection for the Delta Dental brand. It’s an integral part in setting ourselves apart from our competition and reinforcing our connection to our audiences. Each image needs to convey our passion for helping people everywhere love their smile.

Finding the right image for a piece is important, but it doesn’t end there. Using photography in an interesting, non-traditional way can dramatically enhance its power. Our imagery should include creative treatments such as close-in cropping, dynamic scaling and creative sizing. Original and stock photography can be used.



Style of imagery

  • Photographs should feature people who look real, not necessarily like models. They should be smiling naturally with their teeth showing. They should be depicted in a casual, relaxed way, as if they are looking at a friend or loved one. When selecting imagery, look for photos that are engaging, original, emotive and beautiful. Look for healthy smiles that are radiant without necessarily being perfect. The power of a really great smile is that it makes the viewer feel like smiling.
  • Look for images that capture an impromptu moment of real joy, silly humor or genuine emotion.
  • To allow for a more naturally looking image that depicts everyday people in everyday settings, photo subjects should not be looking directly into the camera. Exceptions include: young children; professional portraits/headshots; “real” people/events (e.g., community benefits, posed volunteers, internal events, conferences, etc.). 
  • Never use anything that feels like posed stock photography.
  • Subjects should be surrounded by their everyday environments and featured in everyday moments, rather than feeling highly staged.
  • When grouping multiple images, be sure to show diversity of gender, race and age.
  • Choose photography shot in natural, diffused daylight. The overall color scheme should feel airy and light.
  • The composition of the image should be clean and uncluttered.
  • Photos can be cropped in interesting and dynamic ways so that not all of the subject is in frame.
  • Photo backgrounds should appear natural and not staged. Avoid photography with backgrounds that have been obviously removed and/or replaced. (Exception: Inanimate objects, e.g., toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, food, etc.) 



Technical guidelines for original photography

  • Photos must be high resolution.
  • The minimum size for a bitmap file should be 9 inches across by 12 inches high, at a resolution of 300dpi — that is, 2700 x 3600 pixels.
  • Formats should be one of the following: high-resolution JPEG files (.jpg), TIFF (.tif) files or RAW.
  • Photos should be in color and use 24-bit or higher color depth.
  • Do not crop the in-camera image too tight.
  • Do not try to fix a photograph that is unsuitably light or dark with editing software.