Worth a 1,000 words

Employee communications tools


PurposeTypical audienceProsConsCan you do it yourself?Thinking points
A picture tells a thousand words. What more is there to say?All DSM colleaguesGreat imagery can be used in many communications channels to make an impact – here's a comprehensive galleryMake sure you choose royalty-free images and that you follow our brand requirementsYes – but remember to get permission from your subjectsIf you plan to use a professional photographer, be aware that they can be expensive

What is this tool?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and for good reason. Smart choice of imagery can help you create a compelling and memorable message – whether used in presentations, posters, or to accompany a news article. Just make sure you follow our brand guidelines and advice to ensure you use bright, relevant and inspiring imagery that does everyone justice.

What and when is it typically used?

Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.


  1. The right image can convey your message instantly.
  2. Images are great for internal engagement - especially if you use photos of your own people.
  3. A free gallery of company-approved images is ready and waiting here.


  1. If you use photos of colleagues you need their permission in writing.
  2. Finding the right image for your story can take a while!
  3. Commissioning professional photography is expensive.
  4. You need to take time to check brand requirements.

How to use this tool

If you’re using existing (stock) photography, there are a few important things to bear in mind.

  • Try and use images that reflect our brand values: courageous, caring and collaborative.
  • Images should be vibrant, full of color and contrast (no desaturated colors or black & white photography).
  • Don’t use futuristic, unrealistic settings. Instead, try and capture people in natural situations.
  • Check out our Brand Fundamentals for extensive tips and advice on image usage.

If you’re briefing a photographer

  • Give them a clear idea of what type of composition you want (maybe an example image).
  • Give them access to our abridged Brand Requirements at the very least. It’s important they understand our brand and how it works.
  • Be clear on costs and extras upfront.
  • Ensure that if they are photographing people on a DSM site you have all the relevant permissions (including those being photographed!).

If you’re taking the photographs yourself, most of these same rules apply – although it will cost you less! Be aware of light in particular. Try and ensure your subject has light directed towards them rather than behind them.

Things to keep in mind

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

  • Photography guide

    Photography guide

    We want to tell captivating, powerful stories with our images and to be consistent across all our markets and businesses because we are One DSM.

  • Consistency & creativity

    Consistency & creativity

    Strong brands are consistent brands, but being consistent doesn’t mean we cannot be creative. Quite the contrary.

  • Our Brand identity

    Our Brand identity

    If we want our voice to be heard above the noise it’s essential that our brand identity matches our ambition.