The power to communicate and connect
Think about a brand...any brand really, more often than not you’ve likely seen that they’ve employed illustration in one way or another through their branding system. Whether you’re logging into Dropbox or Mailchimp; I’m sure you’ve noticed whimsical illustrations scattered throughout these websites. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed them, or maybe you’ve just thought they were strange.
I’m all for illustration - I think it’s a fresh alternative to photography and has endless ways of communicating various messages that commonly used mediums cannot capture. That being said, I’m here to tell you why I believe it’s highly beneficial for brands to give illustration a go.
In July, I visited the World Illustration Awards, and a quote really resonated with me:
That quote is packing a whole lot and I couldn’t agree more. Illustration has the power to capture realities that are familiar, and even better, sights that are quite uncommon, which can be extremely useful when trying to convey an idea that is hard to capture or even explain. With illustrations, you can create anything to convey your message. An added bonus, it has the ability to match your branding down to the tone through colour, style and composition. Simply put, illustrations are here to tell your story.
More than ever, we are surrounded by a plethora of media, and brands are in constant flux trying to find a unique way to express their brand, campaign or message. One way to do this is to invest in your visual language via illustration. While it seems intimidating, it allows for endless possibilities. Think about a brand like Headspace they have successfully created a world of illustrations which they can keep adding to and building upon to create a range of scenarios, items and themes. They have a base style which can be described as bright, lively, and fun - which makes it easier for their team to carry across multiple mediums and assets.
So what does an illustration system need to contain? Well, it’s not far off a branding system. Similar to a branding system, it needs a visual language - simply put it needs a style that can be consistently used across the rest of the assets. More importantly, with these assets, you need to be able to tell a story across all mediums. Will it work across print? Great. Will it work on the web? Fantastic. Most importantly, will your end user connect with it? It’s crucial to think how your users will engage with it and consider these illustrations in their end placements.
Take for instance these illustrations we created for Lambeth Saferguarding Children Partnership (LSCP). The subject matter was quite delicate, and therefore we were able to communicate this in the illustrations via line weight and the images themselves. Using their colour palette as a base, we were able to create a set of soft natured illustrations to complement their subject matter that they can now use further down the line that feels personal to their content and is unique.
Illustration can help tell a story from a unique viewpoint where photography, or traditional type may not cut it. Illustration may have the unique influence that you need for your audience's needs. For example, for our client WEvolution, many of our competitors in this space opt for using photography. While we did consider this route, in a sea of photography, would this campaign stand out? Would the message be as impactful? We opted for illustration, where people can put themselves into the shoes of these quirky illustrative characters and the elements they hold dear.
WEvolution now has an illustrative style they can carry forward across their future assets, and has a branding solution, which allows for almost endless possibilities for content. They’re able to do a lot more with their system then if they relied on a sole logotype and photography. Above all, the illustrative style is completely inclusive, it doesn’t compromise what is a very universally female brand, regardless of age, colour, size etc.
Illustration in a word is personal. The same image/subject can be designed by two different artists, and an entirely different story can be told based on style and approach. As it’s so personal, it becomes distinctive, and can help a brand stand out and send an effective message.
Feel free to reach out to learn more about if illustration is the right route for you, or if you want to develop some brand illustrations for your own organization.