Brand guidelines

Our style of photography

Ensuring a consistent style and quality of photography strengthens the brand across all our different areas of work. The best way to ensure that your imagery reflects the brand and our photographic style is to use images from our Asset Bank. If, however, you can not find the type of image that you require the Brand Team can guide you on the pros and cons of buying imagery from commercial image libraries and commissioning your own photography.

Our style of photography checklist will help you to understand what makes our photographic style distinctive.

Capturing the moment

Our photography style should capture the moment, emotions should be real, and the choice of subject, wherever possible, should be authentic. Our images tend to focus on people and their expressions.

Students in Dharavi

Keep it real

Wherever possible, we should photograph real employees and people in real environments, using charismatic people who act naturally in front of the camera. Situations or scenarios should be authentic and situational scenes should demonstrate our services or products.

Teacher with young learners

Reflect our brand positioning, our values and personality

As an organisation, our brand strengths or ‘muscles’ (UK, sharing, transforming and trust) our values (mutuality, integrity, creativity, professionalism and valuing people) and our personality (confident, independent, friendly, engaging, respectful, trustworthy, focused and inspiring) are integral to who we are, what we do and how we do it.

Young learners



We do not expect each image to reflect all elements of our brand, but they should convey some of them and certainly not contradict them. By not illustrating them through our photography we miss a valuable opportunity to communicate with our audience.

Be aspirational

Wherever possible, you should try to use images of aspirational people enjoying being involved in one of our many activities or services. Our imagery should inspire and engage the viewer and, where possible, help to inform them too.

Aspirational young people

Young professional


Focus on colour

Our images are saturated in colour, vibrant and bright.

Student with iPad

Show diversity

It is essential to demonstrate diversity throughout our communications, to appeal to our wide and varied audiences. Try to be inclusive across all your materials. Don’t try and include all ages, ethnicities, disabilities and genders in one image or document as it will look forced. Use a common sense approach. For more information please contact Jane Franklin in our Diversity Unit.

Thailand rick shaw

It is not all about people

Although much of our imagery focuses on people we have many thematic and environment shots that can also be used in our materials to create a vivid visual story. Thematic shots should aim to capture the excitement of our working contexts and the environment and culture that we operate in.

Mombassa school

Angel of the North


When capturing images of our teaching operations focus on all the unique selling points of our centres. Feature the staff and how they engage with students, the quality of our centres and materials, the enjoyment of students experiencing our unique learning lessons and environments and the various methods we use to teach, from games, to ipads to interactive white boards. In some countries it is important to show our teachers in social situations integrating with local culture.

Students in class

Learning materials

Korea iPads

Avoid the metaphorical

Images that are literal metaphors, such as stairs to represent an upwards career path or signposts to represent choice should not be used under any circumstances.



Clip art is not our style

Clip art can make materials look amateurish and unprofessional and does little to reflect our brand, values or personality.

Clip art

Instead try to use images of our activity in action, which will be much more engaging for the viewer and follow the British Council’s style for photography.

Active whiteboard