Transforming Surgery—Changing Lives:
AO’s purpose is the basis for the new AO visual language concept.

The concept reflects the attributes human, authentic, and engaged along with the overarching brand design idea: the power of our global community.

This concept is reflected across all photography categories: The AO Foundation, people at the AO, scenes from events, studio photography, and teaching and practice scenarios.

Download additional guidelines:
– Photography guidelines

Download assets


Photography concept




The AO’s imagery reflects professionalism of AO people communicating information in a spirit of camaraderie.

Innovative and inspirative
We want to promote excellence in patient care and outcomes in trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

We are proud and want to show our global network. We appreciate different views, new perspectives, and ideas.

We want to show our passion and the joy of working in AO’s global network.

Respectful and appropriate 
We do not show anyone in bare or inhumane situations and ask ourselves whether each picture is ethically justifiable (ie, do not show dead bodies or excessive drinking).

Honest and realistic 
Our photos capture real situations and authentic human emotions. We depict people and situations as they truly are in everyday life. We don’t add people to the photos afterwards.


Visual expression

  • reduced color scheme (blue, white)
  • warm expression
  • balanced, well-composed
  • clean, tidy
  • neutral backgrounds
  • groups of people
  • interplay between clear and soft focus
  • simple and minimalistic
  • bright
  • strong contrasts
  • direct and bold
  • exposing and vivid
  • realistic

Ideally, we use natural daylight or minimal artificial lighting for a natural, realistic, and positive look. Flash equipment is used only to simulate natural daylight.

White space enhances the brightness and clarity of the images. If possible, try to find bright scenery.

Contrasts in light and colors emphasize the key details of a story. To keep images realistic, we make use of contrasts that are clear but not excessive.

Use an aesthetically clean yet warm-toned color scheme.

Check for good compositions: Soft foreground, focus on the area of interest, soft background. Find the right focus.

Try to focus on the important object by creating a composition with calm backgrounds and few details.



Thinking in series

Documentary-style also means shooting in series. Create a story, not just a picture. Try new things. Show interest in the way things really are. Be part of the story!

For general questions

For legal questions

For intellectual property questions

Download additional guidelines:
– Photography guidelines

Download assets

  • Does it look authentic, spontaneous and real
    (not staged)?

  • Does it fit the visual expression
    (bright, natural light, contrasts, warm undertone)?

  • Does it fit the intended application?

  • Does it match the content briefing?

  • Does it tell a unique story?

  • Is the focus clear and specific?

  • Does it look inviting and positive?

  • Is the photo appropriate?

  • Does it show the diversity of the foundation?