Beautiful, relevant imagery can have a huge impact in creating strong designs, and tying your campaign’s imagery in with the season is a simple way to lend it a sense of timeliness. With the winter season being special to people all over the world for its stark beauty and magical memories, using winter photos, illustrations or vectors will inject your designs with a sense of wonder.
There’s no shortage of wonderful subjects to use in wintry images, with different cultural and religious festivals, foods, drinks, traditions, activities and landmarks that look spectacular in winter. Many of these subjects – and the dominant colours in wintry images – link perfectly to different brand voices that you may need to convey or emotions that you may want to evoke in your designs for promotional campaigns, website designs, passion projects and beyond.
Stock images not only save time, they can also give your designs a timely feel that taking your own images won’t do (especially when designing something in November for use at New Year – you may have a snowy scene in mind, but no snow outside to photograph yourself). Shutterstock’s fantastic search filters, its plugin compatibility with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign and curated collections make finding a gorgeous photo, illustration, vector or footage easy.
The following 10 images (and one bonus video) are examples of just some of the gorgeous winter images available to download on Shutterstock today. We’ve got some ideas for using them in your designs below each one, but of course that’s up to you – there’s no limit to how you use them.
01. A sense of hygge
Chilly winter nights are a great excuse to cosy up with comforting food, drink, warm clothes and loved ones. This photo sums up the sense of hygge that is ubiquitous in winter months, so would work perfectly for a brand that wants to convey feelings of friendliness, approachability and down to earth comforts. As our article 12 colours and the emotions they evoke explores, red signifies love and attracts attention, so its dominance in this image certainly provokes an emotional response. And of course in Western culture red – and the fir green seen in the socks here – is synonymous with Christmas, making this an ideal image for your Christmas designs.
While winter is a time for cosiness and comfort foods for some people, it’s also a time for bracing adventures in snow-dusted landscapes for others (or at least for imagining them). If the brand you’re designing for wants to be seen as youthful, energetic and a bit different from the norm, then use this stock image to capture its spirit of adventure.
03. Family fun
Similarly youthful in its adventurous theme, this image’s depiction of outdoor action for the whole family definitely has an aspirational-yet-achievable lifestyle tone. The wholesome and low-tech activity combined with the lens flare suggests young parents can enjoy more quality time for years to come if they get on board with a brand or product that’s using this picture.
04. Seasonal magic
Indulgent and magical, this image combines the sophistication of black with the opulence of gold and light that emphasises its shimmer. As this colour in branding infographic tells us, black imagery is particularly striking for high-end brands and the fashion industry in particular. The gold glitter, however, also makes it ideal for a glamorous event or luxury promotion.
05. Natural beauty
With something of a Scandi feel to it, this cool watercolour painted vector is totally on-trend. Its pale blue colour palette is calming as well as seasonal for winter, so we could see this image suiting wellness and outdoor brands seeking to promote a sense of peacefulness. As it doesn’t explicitly feature any typical ‘Christmas subjects’, you could also use this image well into the new year and beyond, without your designs looking dated.
06. Spiritual art
Rangoli patterns are traditionally created by Hindus celebrating Divali, to welcome the goddess Lakshmi into their homes. This colourful and joyful rangoli design bursts with energy and opulence, and shows a superb attention to detail. Use it in designs targeting the Indian market, as well as for travel brands, food brands and even beauty or fashion.
This vector artwork makes you look twice, due to its delightful incongruousness. The familiar snowflake shape is transformed with all the vibrant colours of the rainbow, with painterly textures. It reminds us of crafting afternoons and homemade gifts. As a scalable vector, we think it would form a pleasing addition to a design for family events or shows in particular.
As we saw in our 8 golden rules of handmade piece, papercraft is becoming big business, but is painstaking work and slow to produce. How delightful, then, that Shutterstock has a selection of papercraft art photos just like this ready for you to buy. This gorgeous image shows care and attention, and would make any customer feel valued and inspired to see this in an online or offline design.
09. Cute Christmas
We got a bit carried away with searching for Christmas dogs on Shutterstock, but after much deliberation we chose this husky pup as our favourite. He’s just gorgeous, and the tree in the background of course screams of the excitement that many people feel around the holidays. Use this in a personal project, in a creative thank you to your favourite clients of the year, add humour to branding projects, or stick it on a website design for some heartwarming fun.
Some cities and landmarks look even better in the snow, and Paris is one of them. The saturated colours in this scene are slightly filmic and dreamy, and it’s definitely an aspirational image. We can see an image like this being an asset to a consumer banking website or print design, for example, as it’s unusual without being too whacky.
Bonus video: Enticing footage
Finally, if your design is online then using stock footage of an enticing subject like a steaming hot drink could boost engagement even more than a great image. It grabs attention more than a still, especially on Facebook or other social media outlets, so would be a great way to increase clickthroughs for your online campaigns.
Follow our 6 tips for finding the perfect photo or video for your project to help you find more great stock images like these, all year round.