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Principles

Use visuals to support your message, engage the visitor, and build trust.

Check that they are:

  • Communicative: Images should convey an important message and/or serve a clear purpose

  • Engaging: Images should be relevant and persuasive

  • Meaningful: Images should enhance the content and help to tell the story

Dos

  • research your images to make sure that they help illustrate your point/concept
  • use images to introduce and explain policy, service or feature
  • use high-quality images with good colour contrast and focal point 
  • always ensure your images follow file format rules

Don'ts

  • use decorative background images
  • embed text in visuals. It lowers the content's findability and can be particularly cumbersome if you need to have the visual translated into different languages
  • resize the image in a way that compromises the quality

For more information on intellectual property issues regarding the use of images, see Intellectual Property and Procedures. (EU Login required)

With regard to copyright, the site owner must guarantee all copyright issues have been addressed for all images used on their site:

    • all third-party images published on Europa must be checked for the necessary copyright
    • images in the Audiovisual portal are free to download and use
    • copyrighted images not owned by the institutions should be removed immediately
    • copyrighted images not owned by the institutions must not be published
    • keep proof of acquisition on copyrighted third-party images on file or on paper. Include this requirement on contracts involving external service providers
    • photos of buildings may be subject to copyright, depending on the country in which the buildings are located

Accessibility

  • images must respect accessibility guidelines
  • always add alt text to images, without it, visually impaired people using a screen reader will not understand what is displayed in the image and will simply hear the word "image"
  • do not embed text in visuals

Contact and support

If you require further assistance, please contact:

Comm Europa Management

European Commission
DG Communication 
Unit B.3 
Europa Web Communication 


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The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. Read more.