Part 1: Illustration in design - The Pros

StrategyDesign

Welcome to our 3 part blog series on Illustration in design. We’ll be covering some of the Pros and Cons of using illustration in design and showing you a case study of an illustrative project we’ve worked on to give you some insight into the process. Hopefully you will find this helpful when creating and working on your own campaigns.

 

Pros of Illustration

 

It’s an art as old as time and has always been innately connected with human expression and yes, even advertising.

Over the years illustration has given brands and advertising some of it’s greatest achievements and notoriety.

Alphonse Mucha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmmm…Seem Familiar? Poster for ‘Job’ cigarette paper (1896), Alphonse Mucha

 

But what happened to illustration? While it’s definitely present, illustration generally loses out to it’s easier-to-access counterpart: photography. With a proliferation of stock photo sites and photography services available at different pricing scales it certainly makes for a fast and easy option.

But before you start cruising the web to find that perfect stock photo, maybe take a moment to consider the case of a more personalised illustrative approach.

 

The Pros of illustration

There are a lot of benefits to using illustration instead of photography. Firstly you can create imagery which is totally unique to your brand. If you commission a work for use in your marketing material, none of your competitors will have anything like it and it will provide you with a huge differentiation and make your brand memorable.

Secondly, illustration can often help express difficult or complex ideas in a simple and sensitive manner. The truth is: sometimes photography just doesn’t cut it. Sure, finding or commissioning images to show a happy person holding a salad to represent good health is pretty straightforward.

But how do you express a much more complicated idea? How do you express health concerns like autism? Regional history of politics? Abstract thoughts from maths, physics, art or philosophy? Sometimes a photo just doesn’t quite make the cut. Magazine editors have known this for years and continue to produce unique and engaging illustrations to draw in readers and interpret complex content.

 

New Scientist & The Guardian

Cover Illustrations for New Scientist (by Yehrin Tong) and The Guardian Review (by Patrick Hruby)

 

Finally illustration can provide you with the most valuable tool of all: visual cut through. In a world where brands and companies are jostling for space both on the shelf and online, how do you make sure that you stand out?

Illustration can be used to create a huge impact in the digital world on websites and also in integrated campaigns, especially those that seek to leverage social media. Take a look at companies like American Express, Oreo and  Myer. Nothing stands out online better than a unique image.

 

Meg Hunt

Illustrator Meg Hunt created these images for American Express


Hopefully this gives you a good idea of some of the positives of using illustration in design. In Part 2, we’ll be covering some of the Cons, so stay tuned for more!

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