Using images (photographs, drawings, etc.) can add some interest to a site. However it is not essential and many good-looking sites do not use images like this. Any images used should be appropriate to the content of the page, which means that borrowing images from other Web pages (usually illegal) or from free image libraries is not usually a good idea.
Creating appropriate images
Images should be included on a site to serve a purpose - either purely functional (for example, a picture of the organisation's building) or contributing more subtly to the page's meaning (for example, a stock photograph of two people talking, to indicate that a company is friendly and communicative).
Generally this means that images have to be specially created for a site, or else carefully chosen from high-quality image libraries.
Images should also fit in with the site's colour scheme and general graphical style. For example, if a site has a hard-edged, ultramodern look, then friendly pencil-sketched cartoons are likely to be inappropriate.
Use of "borrowed" elements
Some people use "standard" pictures or graphic elements, e.g. from free libraries, because they think it will liven up a site. This generally looks bad for several reasons:
- The pictures are not usually very appropriate for a site's content, because they were not designed specifically for it. Normally they are obviously out of place and serve no purpose.
- Such pictures tend to be of low quality.
- If several pictures from different sources are used, they will not have a consistent style.
- The pictures may not fit in with the site's colour scheme, graphic navigational elements, etc.
A few page creation programs come with templates that can be used to add some kind of graphical style to a page. This is also a bad idea for all the same reasons.