No matter who we talk to, it seems to be universally agreed upon that the stock “handshake” image is completely unbearable. Its used over, and over, and over on every type of website, book, flyer and postcard known to man.

Please, everyone, in future designs, let the handshake go. It is meaningless. It says nothing about your brand, who you are and what you can offer to your customers. Unless, that is, your only branding goal is to make people understand that if you were to ever meet them face-to-face, you would more than likely shake their hand.

Since we can all agree that that is not an admirable branding goal, then we can also all agree that there is no reason to ever, ever use the handshake stock photography again. It in no way makes you or your site (or brochure, etc) unique or memorable. Using tired, stale imagery gives the impression to your audience that you have nothing new to offer them. “Move along, nothing new to see here,” it says.

Case in point: we did a simple Google image search for “handshake.” We then went to a few random sites to see if there rhyme or reason to who uses handshakes on their sites. In our little two-minute experiment, we found a DJ company, a consulting company, a tech company, a business services company and a design and engineering company all using “The Handshake.” Here’s a sampling.

Four completely different industries all using the same image. Don’t let yourself get lumped in with everyone else. The imagery you use in your marketing is a critical part of your brand vocabulary, so make sure it is uniquely suited to your company.