The power of illustration for purpose-led brands

Mahalia Curtis   |   April 5th 2022   |   @16:24

When we think about telling a story, words are always our first port of call. But words are far from the only way to impart a message – humans have been using pictures to tell stories for as long as they’ve been around, from cave paintings to medieval tapestries to comic books and graphic novels.

As a brand with a mission and a story to tell, illustration can be a great way to help you stand out and speak to your audience. Social media is changing the way people engage with information, and in such a saturated space it is visuals that leap out and grab people’s attention.

Illustration isn’t just for quirky, artistic brands either. More and more companies are getting in on it, from software giants like Dropbox and Adobe to magazines like Time and The New Yorker, and there’s a very good reason why.

Why illustrations are so powerful

Actually, there are a couple of reasons. The first is how effective illustration is at supporting storytelling. As a purpose-driven brand, storytelling is crucial for you, whether it’s communicating the origin of your brand, your mission and what you’re trying to do, or who you’re trying to help. Illustrations are perfect for helping to get that message across in an effective way.

Take our recent work with the Land App. Their offering has multiple features and benefits, and adds value for a wide range of audience groups. Illustrations helped us to simplify the complexity of their messaging. Not only that, but the style meant we could depict a brighter future, something that’s particularly powerful within the context of climate conversations.

Using illustration means you’ve got the freedom to push the envelope and really carve out your own look. Even with the power of Photoshop, photography is limited to what you can actually capture. With custom illustrations, you can create your exact vision and shape your perfect brand identity.

Illustrations also allow you to be more inclusive in your visuals. There’s sadly not a lot of diversity in stock photography – although that is improving – and that was a problem we were aware of when helping digital marketing agency Solvi. As a people centric agency, being inclusive and representational was of paramount importance. By creating bespoke character illustrations, we were able to fully reflect the diversity within their audience.

How to bring illustrations into your brand

Using illustration doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul in your visual identity. It can be a gradual development, and it can start with simply incorporating illustrated elements into your existing branding.

In our previous article titled ‘how to rebrand without alienating your customers’, we discuss this point in more detail, but a rebrand doesn’t have to be scary. What if you could use it to actually build customer loyalty and engagement?

That was how we worked with The Bunch, a student bills management service, to evolve their branding. At first we were weaving in shape elements and graphics to give their existing photography more life. But eventually that shifted to designing custom character illustrations to reflect their customer profiles, and collaging these with oversized photography to create a fun and easily recognisable visual style that was wholly unique to their brand.

Part of the beauty of illustration is how versatile it is to use as well. It can still be deployed alongside your photography and other images, for example. And an illustration asset isn’t a one trick pony. You can reuse them in different combinations and contexts, or in motion graphics and animation videos.

Our process

Our process when we develop illustrations for brands always follows the same tried and tested route. It starts with thorough research as we dig into your customer profiles, your market and who you are as a brand. This is the basis from which all our ideas will grow.

Then we’ll develop two alternative concepts and focus on bringing your favourite to life. And at every step of the way we’ll be guided by your thoughts and feedback.

When it comes to telling stories and getting people on board with your mission, the power of illustrations can’t be overlooked. And while more and more brands are using illustration, not everyone is yet. So get ahead of the rest and start utilising it today to elevate your brand’s identity – we’d love to know how we can help, click here or fill in the form below to get your project started.

Ready to get started?

All design journeys begin with a dream – Call us now on 0117 330 5297, email us, or fill in your details below.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience possible.