It’s a visual world out there, and people love giant images. Just like when you’re selecting something to hang on your wall, creating the perfect design often means understanding how to make the most of large images.

The trick is to establish a distinct use for oversized visuals. Create interest using a stunning photograph, distinct color, interesting shapes, personal connection, or strong details. Here are five examples of ways to use big images in your design projects.

1. Stunning Photography

A beautiful and distinct photograph creates an emotional sense and sets the tone of your site design. When building a website around a photograph, keep the rest of the design simple and let the photo stand alone for the greatest impact.

In the site above, simple text and navigation elements surround the image of actress Anna Safroncik. What makes this technique work is that additional design elements don’t intrude into the photo, so essential parts of the image remain easy to see.

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2. Distinct Color

Sharp or interesting color can draw the eye in quickly. Consider whether images will be bright, muted or even black-and-white before choosing (or composing) the first photo, then build the design around those color choices. Select a color theme that reflects the overall mood and tone of the site.

Fall in Tennessee does a nice job of picking up the colors of autumn in a bright and compelling way. While the image is not of leaves or other expected imagery, the design uses the reds, yellows, and purples of the season perfectly.

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3. Interesting Shapes

Architecture and shapes pair nicely in large images. Using interesting shapes can create space that complements the overall design.

Intersection perfectly meshes the intriguing architecture of two buildings to create an open space for typography. The shapes themselves create an intersection of their own, merging visuals and text.

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4. Personal Connection

There’s nothing like looking into the eyes of another person to help establish a connection. People love to see pictures of other people – a technique used commonly by fashion retailers to sell clothing and accessories.

Use a strong photo of a person to help users connect to an image, brand, theme, or product. Note the importance of what the subject of the photos is looking at and how his or her expression can affect the mood of the user.

Oxydo creates a trendy feel for a eyeglasses line with photos of people sporting different styles of eyewear. In each photo, the subject’s eyes lead you to the company logo for an added level of brand connection.

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5. Strong Details

Along with big images, oversized details of smaller things also work well. Screen images that are proportionately bigger than reality can capture attention by calling into question the identity of the item or revealing a normally overlooked element.

Tiny Footprint Coffee shows super-sized coffee beans that you can’t help but stare at, taking in every little curve, line, detail of individual beans.

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What do you think about using large, centralized images? Are there other examples that jump out at you? Share your thoughts below.