I read most of my articles via the Feedly app (RSS Reader), but I do receive some via email newsletters. If you’ve been doing newsletters or blog posts for a few years, you might not know that how you align images with content may hurt your marketing.
Recently seeing left-aligned images on a newsletter prompted me to reconfirm what I had previously learned; left-aligned images should be used sparingly with content images, if ever.
Don’t Break the Left Margin
Over the years, I have seen web design articles arguing against aligning an image to the left of a paragraph. To be honest, it always looked "off" to me, so I wasn’t tempted to do it.
However, I thought it might be good to do some research and see what other disciplines had to say. Since designers don’t always get heard on the "why" I’ll quote Kissmetrics, which has a fantastic article about David Oglivy’s research for successful ads.
"…Don’t break the left margin. When we read, we rely on the left margin always being there as an anchor, to give us a place to return our eyes to. Without a consistent left margin it’s exceptionally difficult to follow the text." – Kissmetrics
Most of you reading this are in the Western Hemisphere; we are left to right readers. It makes sense with text you don’t want to interrupt the flow, break the reader’s attention, or distract them from finishing your incredibly valuable article. Egads!
Are there exceptions to this? Sure, I occasionally do it with author bios – looks okay and because it is the end of an article, it’s less likely to distract people from finishing. But if that bio is uber important, probably best to align the picture to the right.
So What Exactly is the Best Way to Align Images in Content?
NONE! Yup, you read that correctly! Put the image on a line all by itself that is full width.
Why? Because floated images to the right (or left) usually look crappy on anything mobile. Those smart phones may be larger these days but an image next to a paragraph looks SQUINTY. My friends, I am sorry, but it isn’t a desktop-only world anymore.
You spent hours looking for just the right image to convey your marketing message, article concept, or relatable photograph – why would you want people to have a hard time seeing it?
Look above at this article – see how the image goes the width of the paragraph? That is the current standard. Looks great doesn’t it?
Have some questions about aligning images? Ask away!