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Be Conceptual

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Not every visual message needs to be clear and concise. Sometimes a feeling is what needs to be conveyed and feelings don’t fit well into words or simple concepts. Since feelings come from inside each of us, for an artist to convey a feeling they have to tap into that feeling inside their audience.

Emotions, where feelings come from, are elusive and notoriously hard to pin down. To trigger the right emotion in the majority of any audience, the feeling being conveyed has to be a universal experience.

Some visuals just speak for themselves. They tap into universal archetypes and experiences that evoke a similar response in (most) everyone. Concepts that can be understood by everyone are essential to visual storytelling.

Since conceptual images and footage that can speak to the subconscious are powerful tools for designers and creatives, SuperStock has put together a collection of some of our favorite examples for your inspiration.


Emerging from a long dark tunnel into a wide open space isn’t just conceptual, it’s a biophilic design technique (art and architecture designed around mimicking natural systems). Confinement, followed by expansion, is a feeling that we’ve all felt at one time or another. 

Tapping into archetypes that incorporate or copy nature is a powerful way to establish common ground with the audience. Trees growing from rocks represent endurance, waterfalls express continuity and the flow of time, and a tropical beach vista -paradise on earth.


In more practical applications, conceptual art can be used to imply rather than state the obvious. A plane’s shadow on clear blue waters is an unmistakable symbol for vacation travel (above). A solo artist playing guitar in public, an image of embracing the here and now.


Conceptual visuals imply rather than declare. That’s why they’re so often understated, with the right visual, less can be more. This show-rather-than-tell approach works well without being so obvious as to annoy the viewer.


This image (above) suggests a future where all cars are electric, they can be plugged in anywhere, and function supersedes form. This imaginative future can be embedded in the mind with a single expressive image where it could take forever to explain in words or text.

Finding the right combination of archetypes, symbols, and signs to convey your message is the art and craft of the creative. At SuperStock we see our role as your trusty sidekick, supporting your creative process by helping to keep you stocked with fresh, imaginative content like this. Sign up for more content like this on our weekly newsletter, Stay Inspired.

Click here to view all the clips from the video above.

Click here to explore the gallery of images, Let’s Get Conceptual


Photographer-owned and operated, SUPERSTOCK is passionate about photographic images and is dedicated to providing the newest and most compelling content to clients in publishing, advertising and design. With an expanding collection of over 12 million photographs and illustrations and video clips SuperStock is an international leader in the licensing of imagery.

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