Use these guidelines to create or choose images that are helpful, legal, and inoffensive throughout the world.


Choose carefully. Colors may have religious, cultural, or political significance, particularly colors used on flags or for country- or region-specific holidays. Neutral and brand colors are usually OK. Your international program manager can provide guidance.


Choose simple or generic images that are appropriate worldwide. Soccer players and equipment, generic landscapes and settings, pens and pencils, international highway signs, and historic artifacts are appropriate images worldwide.

  • Avoid holiday or seasonal images.

  • Avoid major landmarks and well-known buildings, which may have legal protections or be associated with politics or religion.

  • Social or work situations involving men and women are risky in a few locales.

  • Don’t use hand signs.

  • Don’t use art based on English idioms.

Limit graphics and animations online. In some countries or regions, long page-loading times can be expensive.

If you use text in graphics, make sure it's easy to edit. Automatic translation software won’t translate it. If possible, use captions or describe the graphic in text, instead.

Create descriptive alt text for images, especially button images, which readers may not understand.

Store art in a separate file and link to it from within a document if possible. Localizers can modify art that isn’t embedded in the document.

Check restrictions on imported content in countries or regions where the content will be used. Be especially careful with maps, which may be subject to government review. Improper treatment of a disputed area may be illegal in some countries.