We spoke about the first media star and beginning poster advertising two weeks ago.

Poster advertising should become a lot more important after the invention of the lithography by the German Alois Senefelder in the end of the 18th century. The notion lithography stems from the Greek words “lithos” (stone) and “graphein” (to write). So instead of cutting wood the artists cuts the image in stone.

The images were finer and much more detailed than woodcut. During my research I found that lithography was even used for commercial maps in the 19th century.

One of the pioneers of colour lithography was the French painter Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec. In the 1890ies he began to produce the famous posters of the Moulin Rouge.

And, with this technique which was used until the 1950ies the victory march of posters began.


Of course we know that fashion changes or like famous Coco Chanel put it: “Fashion changes, style lasts forever”.

Advertising reflects the zeitgeist. The posters depict the hunger for life of the roaring 20ies, the crudeness of the years of war, the attempt to restore “the old order of the good old times” etc.

I collected posters for each decade between 1920ies and 1980ies. As an example I used my favourite article: shoes. What else?

Please click on the image for the Slide Show

The roaring 20ies
« 1 of 7 »

The third Millennium

Despite social media and video clips the posters are still very much alive. The technique shifted from lithography to digital print but consumers of luxury articles are still addressed by posters in the streets.

Bally Autumn Winter 2015



We discussed the use of images an image rights before. It is not always easy to find the right pictures; especially when you don’t want to spend a lot of money for the license but want the images to be legal. I strongly recommend to respect intellectual property; it is plain theft to use other people’s images.

If you want to create your own illustrations you will have to work with a graphic tool. In order to make it easier I took a course of two days. This is very convenient because once you get a grip on the logic of the programme it will be fun to discover more functions.

These are the techniques I frequently use. To see the examples please click on the slideshow at the end of this post.

Change the Background

Effect: Very original illustrations

If you have old black and white images but want them to look dashy I recommend to browse your holiday memories. Pictures of sunsets, oceans, trees etc. make good backgrounds to portraits. And you own the copy right so you can do with them what you like.

Crop and Combine

Effect: A surprise that makes people smile

Have you ever seen Mona Lisa with hair rollers? A funny idea, isn’t it? If you use a very well-known artwork (I used Michelangelo’s «Creation of Adam») and put it in an unexpected context you’ll get a surprising effect.

Partial Colouring

Effect: A real eye-catcher

Black and white images can be very dull. Spice them up with some colour. Just select the part you want to colour and play with the colouring possibilities your graphic programme offers.


1. A descreet background for a short text.
2.Make undesired objects disappear from the picture.

I used the picture of the Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman. Because of the swimming suite she wears on the picture she was arrested in 1907. The reason? Indecency. We don’t want it to happen again so I put her under water.

Overlay is also very helpful if you need a descreet background for a short text. Try using transparency to allow the image to shine trough.

Examples. Enjoy.

Please click on the image to start the slideshow.

Change the Background


Contest. Solve the Riddle.

Last week we spoke about Flora and my ancestors.

Unfortunately, I cannot present you with a copy of the e-book about Flora (by the title of «Blogging for Flowers») since it is in Kindle format and therefore exclusively available at Amazon. Nevertheless, it is legible on any PC or tablet by the free Kindle App.

Your Prize

But fortunately, there are other options. If you are in social media, image rights, branding, business development or blogging, «Clever Communication» will be of great help to you.

According to fairytales the princess poses her suitors a riddle. Provided his answer is correct he immediately wins her heart, her fortune and the entire kingdom. But it can go badly wrong and the gentlemen in question will lose his life.

I also have a riddle for you. Given I am no princess the conditions are slightly different. If your answer is correct you will be forwarded to the respective page where you can enter your e-mail address to claim your prize. The first three senders will receive a free copy of «Clever Communication» .

Riddle me this

Have a look at the image. I used these men for my comic book. No, I a most probably not related to them. And in real life there were not in front of a flower shop but queued for a completely different reason.

The Question

«Why or where did these men really line up?»

Choose one of the answers below. (Your life is safe with me 🙂 )

  1. Waiting for the soup kitchen to open
  2. In front of a bank after Black Friday in 1929
  3. In an unemployment line in the 1930ies


Maybe this trailer is of help.

The contest ends on September 10, 2015.


Infographics Make You Visible

Some weeks ago someone asked me why I use images so extensively. Besides the fact that I am very fond of images and graphic design I took a course some years ago about how people learn which made many things a lot clearer to me.

So called infographics became very popular lately which seems like the answer to what I learned about learning.

There are three types of learners. These types only describe our predominant learning method and all of us possess all three channels which we can develop by training. But as soon as we come under stress we are back at “our” learning channel. (You would hear me screaming: “Explain this to me. NOW!”)

As you can see on the infographic above the eye is the most powerful tool if it comes to perception.

Alas, the brain is the limiting factor and the numbers on the right describe the bandwidth of what we actually consciously process and hopefully memorize.

3 Learning Types

Visual Types

The eye is the channel that takes the most information in the shortest period of time. Visual people like images, illustration and videos and learn well by reading.

Auditory Types

These people retain information well if they are explained to them. Teacher-centered teaching is very practical for them. It is said that they are the most abstract thinkers and do not care so much about who is teaching but what is being taught.

Kinesthetic Types

These people learn by doing things. Our school system does not make their life very easy since the lessons are mostly based on theory. They are often very creative and talented if it comes to crafting things.
Although the tests we completed during this course clearly showed that I am an auditory learner images are still useful to memorize things. The rule is that the more channels we can activate the easier we learn new things.

Social Media

My guess is the social media that cut us short make images even more necessary. A tweet – meaning a message in Twitter – must not exceed 140 characters. People who work with (social) media want their message to spread as much as possible. I created another infographic to demonstrate how images influence your articles to go viral.


Bottom Line

There are at least two (statistical) reasons to use images

  1. Make articles more attractive so you’ll get more readers
  2. People will memorize what you have to say more easily

However, images are no substitute for research and well written articles.

P.S. My favourite social media platform is Pinterest which exclusively consists of images.

PPS Maybe you want to try this test about your learning style. It worked for me but I am not so sure about its accuracy.



In my last article I discussed image rights. This time we will talk about the technical aspects of pictures such as size, resolutions and format.

Size and Resolution


First of all images have dimensions, meaning width and height.

I know this is hardly a newsflash. However, dimensions are either indicated in pixel, in millimetre or in inch. In the world of Web you will typically see the number of pixels plus the indication of a “measurable” size. The larger the image dimensions the larger the file in respect of kilobytes.


But there is also a second very important factor: the resolution. If you want to print an image you will look for a resolution of 300 dpi to receive a good quality. This means that one square inch is covered with 300 pixel (or dots if you print it).

Web Images

For a web image you should only use images with a resolution of 72 dpi. There are two reasons for this:

Image Quality

On a browser you will see no difference in the quality since it works with 72 dpi.

Download Time

Let’s say you have an image of a width of 7 x 5 inch. If your image has a resolution of 300 dpi the total amount of pixels will be 10500. If the same image has only 72 dpi it contains 2520 pixels which is more than 4 times less. Needless to say that it loads a lot faster.

You might say that we all have fast internet connections and that this is not important. You are right, for one image of the above size it does not matter. But did you notice how many websites and blogs have huge wallpapers? Trust me it does make a difference.

Working on Images

Let’s say you want to insert an image in your blogpost but the dimensions are too large. Of course you can use the mouse and make it smaller. It will LOOK smaller but still be as heavy as before. The reason is that you only pushed the pixels closer together. Again, if you have just one small image there is no problem. But if you insert many graphics or large ones you will experience a longer loading time.

That is why you need a graphic programme. If you open an image with such a tool and save it with smaller dimensions it will automatically reduce the number of pixels and the image “weight” in respect of megabytes along with it. But do not try to enlarge it because poor raw material will not bring satisfactory results. Unless it is a vector graphic (see below) the only thing that happens is that the pixels become bigger and your image will be blurred.

The professional graphic programmes are very expensive. Therefore you might want to try GIMP which is available for Mac and for PC.

Image Formats

If you download pictures from one of the image portals I mentioned in my previous article they will normally be available in different sizes and resolutions. So you choose according to your needs.

The format will be jpg or jpeg. This is very suitable for web and printing since it compressed and still offers a wide colour spectrum. Your smart phone images will have the same format.


If you need a transparent background or a shape like i.e. a circle you want to work with png. Technically, the image is still square (there are no other images on the web) but everything outside of the circle is transparent. If you are familiar with a graphic programme you can cut the object or the part of the image you want and place it on a transparent background.

Vector Graphics

Portals offer so called vector graphics. This are images which can be seamlessly enlarged to more or less any size and still keep their high quality. The typical format is eps which can only be read by professional graphic programmes.

I never needed one for web or blogging neither probably will you.

Other formats

I try to avoid the formats bmp and gif. The first one because it is too heavy (in kilobytes) and the other one because it has a much reduced colour spectrum which makes the images look “gritty”. But if you only use black and white or want a transparent background a gif-images might come in handy. It is very small and therefore loads quickly.

You will find your own style and the image size and formats that suit you best. And of course the content is still important and the image should illustrate it.

Want more information on blogging? Get my e-book NOW.

Next post on images: Branding



Before we see a text we notice the images; the colours to be specific. I am very fond of images and illustrate everything I publish.

But there are some aspects you have to watch when you illustrate your articles or books. I will write a separate post for each of the following subjects. This one is the first.

  1. Image rights
  2. Images size, resolutions and formats
  3. Branding, layout and image organisation

Image Rights and Sources

Never download an image you are not sure if you are allowed to use it. It is illegal and it is unfair. There are various possibilities to receive legal and inexpensive pictures.

Paintings and Photos

Images such as paintings and photos are legally protected for a certain number of years. In Switzerland and other European countries an image is free 75 years after its creator’s death. In your country it might be 100 years.

This means that you can copy and edit images of Mona Lisa or Botticelli’s Venus the way you like. However, if someone visited the Louvre and took a picture of Mona Lisa he or she is technically allowed a copy right on his/her shot. Don’t bother and “google on”. There are hundreds of legal Mona Lisas out there.

NASA has a huge portal of images that can be used. But NASA will remain the owner of these pictures and require to be credited. These are the guidelines for public use.

Mickey Mouse

Do not use Mickey Mouse or any of the citizens of Duckburg (Donald Duck and the gang live there), neither from Pixar nor Dreamworks unless you write a product review on a merchandising article. These images do not belong to a person but to a company and they are their capital and therefore legally protected.

Your Smart Phone

Since I started blogging I am quite a keen photographer. Smart phone images are good enough by far to be used on the web. I will explain more about image size and quality in the next article.


Be careful if you take images from people. Basically, it is everybody’s personal right to decide where and in what context they want their likeness to appear. This rule might not be so strict in all countries but it is worth paying attention to it.

Image Portals

If you want a modern illustration or image the easiest way is to go to image portals like Fotolia, Getty Images or Shutterstock. If you go there the images are not sold for a fix price but for credit points. Larger images are more expensive than small ones. This means you open an account and buy a certain amount of credit points. The more you buy on one lot the cheaper the single point. However, they are normally not valid forever so it is maybe not worth buying too many. But of course you know how many images you need.

Please read the image license, too. All portals have different licenses for different images and use. There is normally a difference if you use images for private purpose or for business. Moreover, you should check if you are allowed to use the same image several times and if you can edit it.

Let’s say you want to create an e-book or a document to be downloaded. In this case you should be allowed to use it as often as you like.

Web images and images for print are also licensed differently (apart from the resolution which I will cover later on).

You will find 5 additional free sources for images and icons in my e-book.

Please be aware that I am not a lawyer and even if I were I would not know the rules of each country.

But there are rules and laws everywhere and they are more than recommendations.

So just check them and reference to the image source if required. Ok?

Want more information on blogging? Get my e-book NOW.

Next post on images: How to handle images? On image size, resolutions and formats.




Some weeks ago I had the honour of writing a guest article on the power of images. Since we know that an image is worth a thousand words we can easily say that they convey messages very effectively.

In that article I described three types of images.

  1. Artworks
  2. Plans and Blueprints
  3. Eye Catchers

The Fourth Type of Images

But some days ago it dawned on me that I forgot one type of pictures that has become very trendy on social media platforms: The selfie.

I will never understand how people can upload images of themselves that shed a very unflattering light on them. But of course – as usual – the negative examples stick out of the crowd while most of the images are all right.

The Selfie Is Not New

Please do me a favour and don’t say: “Nowadays, people [something negative] while when we were young [something very positive].” It is true that before smartphones and digital cameras appeared, most people had to go to a photographer to get our pictures taken. But already around 1900 the portable box cameras were available which enabled people to take pictures of themselves in front of a mirror.

And did you ever consider how many painters created self-portraits? As you will see in the slideshow at the end of this article not all of them were in the artist’s favour. Moreover, most of these artists painted more than one self-portrait. Vincent van Gogh for instance decided to become a painter at the age of 27 and died at 37. He left us 37 of his likenesses.

There are various concepts of what communication is about. Since humans are highly social and need “their herd” I think it is safe to say that we want to express our thoughts and our feelings.

Since gesture only works in a face-to-face communication we either tend towards Shakespeare or follow van Gogh.

Famous Selfies

Please click on the image to start the slide-show.

Carl van Vechten