Thanks to Google, I've taken to providing my players with more colorful and engaging NPCs by adding picture of who they are. Whatever setting you are running, it is relatively easy with a Google image search to find photographs or artwork that can serve to show your players what your NPC actually looks like. Of course images and artwork collected form a Google search is most often copyrighted and using it to illustrate an NPC means that character can't be published unless you have obtained permission or right for the picture. However, for personal use at your own gaming table, it can serve to bring a character to life.
In the Terra Incognita campaign I am running an need a couple of 1920's era gangsters. A quick Google Image search on "1920 gangster" brings up a load of potential images - thankfully due to the popularity of gangster costumes for Halloween and costume parties. Although real historical photographs can be found in the mix of returned images as well. Next time you are developing a key NPC for your adventure or campaign, consider not just verbally describing them to your players, but actually showing your players what they look like - be it a viking warrior, WW2 soldier, a French Musketeer or a pulp Femme Fatale!
Good idea. I have a friend who tends to have lots of pictures of objects and places we encounter in his games but strangely he rarely has pictures of people. Course he does tend to use appropriate miniatures so that kind of serves a similar function I suppose.
Putting the consumer in consumerism!