Person looking at illustration on ipad
Marketing

How does brand illustration communicate your voice?

Loraine Lopez

June 11, 2021

To understand how brand illustration can help communicate your brand story clearly, it’s essential to comprehend that illustration is a form of communication that allows you to visually represent what you’re trying to say. Brands must keep up to date with the latest trends to know what visual elements they should use to communicate their voice effectively to the end user.

What is Illustration?

Illustration is a graphic technique to communicate a message or story. Its purpose is to showcase the brand’s voice in a more appealingly way, by incorporating visual elements that simplify the process for the end-user. These types of images represent and translate your brand messages differently and more creatively.  

When text and illustration work together, it’s easier for your end-users to comprehend the meaning behind your ideas.

collage of illustrated website screenshots
Image by Premiumuikits via Muzli

A little history behind illustration  

The beginnings of illustration goes way back to the roman frescoes or wall paintings, the prehistory era, or illuminated manuscripts. Humans have used images to tell stories throughout history since visual representations are more accurate than words.  

After the industrial revolution, printing was invented, and illustration became more popular. Here's where illustration became accessible for everyone, and many artists turned it into their full-time job. With many artists involved in illustrating, it evolved into an established technique with different types used to portray messages uniquely.  

These elements have laid the foundation for how we illustrate and tell our brand stories today.  

Types of Illustration in different mediums

Now that we understand what illustration is, it’s essential to know that there are many types of illustration.  

  • Editorial (newspaper, novels, magazines, books)

The editorial illustration focuses on adding imagery to a text, allowing it to express the overall idea and mood. This type of illustration always accompanies the text, and its main objective is not to sell but to portray a message clearly.

  • Advertising (billboards, web banners, social media, marketing, Google ads, among others)

The primary purpose of this type of illustration is to attract the consumer’s eye and persuade them to buy the product. It accompanies text to make it more straightforward, but its focus is on creating a long-lasting impression on the consumers and help them decide to identify with the brand or purchase a product.

  • Infographics (digital or printed)

For this type of illustration, images and visual elements overpower the text. In infographics, text or data is minimal, and the focus goes back to the imagery. This is why illustrations used for infographics must accompany the data and make the message clearer for the reader.

  • Packaging illustration

Packaging illustration allows you to create breathtaking designs that will help you showcase your brand and delight your customers. Using a wide variety of techniques for your packaging illustration process will provide you with a unique and timeless design that combines illustration, painting, and other elements.

collage of illustration

Types and styles of illustration  

Apart from types of illustration, there are also different software's used to create an illustration, as well as styles and techniques to achieve a high-quality and creative end result.

Modern Illustrations

  • Digital Illustration
  • Vector Illustration
  • 3D illustration

Traditional Illustration

  • Pencil Illustration
  • Watercolor Illustration
  • Pen and Ink Illustration
  • Lithography Illustration
  • Woodcutting Illustration

collage of traditional illustration
Modified: Images by pch.vector and freepik via Freepik

How does brand illustration help you communicate your voice and message?

Coming back to the initial topic, understanding that illustration is a significant element to your brand voice is the first step to creating a clear picture of your brand message.  

Some of your potential clients may find your brand more creative and unique by using illustrations, but it all depends on how you want your brand to be seen, as well as your brand service, target, or product.  

Before you start thinking about implementing illustration in your designs, defining your brand personality is essential. Are you personable and friendly or corporate and professional? Are you spontaneous and energetic or careful and a planner? Modern? Classic and traditional? These are the questions you must ask yourself to create a well-defined brand personality.  

brand personality spectrum chart
Source Straight Marketing

Once your brand is defined, you’ll be able to access different possibilities for your storytelling, which will allow you to create a powerful weapon to attract and convert your potential clients to new clients with the use of graphic design, branding, and illustration.

How to implement brand illustration to your company's marketing strategy?

Once you’ve defined your brand personality, you’ll be able to implement a strategy that includes illustration.  

Big brands are now starting to incorporate branding illustration systems into their strategy, and it’s helping them grow their client’s perspective, giving them visual consistency in different platforms like the web, social media, and other digital platforms.

Brand Illustration based on personality

Based on what your brand represents and its personality, these are examples of the illustrations that you can implement:

Modern or high-tech, fun, personable and friendly

Nowadays, tech companies must reflect the services they are selling, adding to their visuals the digital innovation and impactful representation of different products primarily for significant community users. Illustration has become the best addition for user experience, and it has a magnetic attraction for customers that have a digital journey with an application or web service.  

For this type of brand personality, you can use the following type of illustrations:

3D, Digital, or Vector

3D illustration is taking over in graphic design and illustration, and we can see it on different platforms like Instagram, Google, and Spotify. This type of illustration helps brands that have young audiences to connect with them rapidly.  

Digital and Vector are also great design visual languages for digital companies.

3d illustrations people hugging and other image of tiger playing guitar
Images by Leo Natsume via AIGA

Serious, Classic and Traditional, or Corporate Professional

For this type of brand personality, you can use the following type of illustrations:

Flat vector Illustration

Minimal vector illustration provides a corporate and serious voice to your brand with simplicity by not adding too much to the visuals. There are different types of flat vectors out there, like icons and more elaborated infographics. Flat vector illustration is used to accompany text and photography, so the design will not rely just on the vectors but also on the copy.

flat illustrations nature related
Source SproutSocial - Image by 3ab2ou via Freepik

When working with illustration, some essential elements are understanding the meaning of your brand, having consistency throughout the entire strategy, defining the right style, and using suitable mediums. This will allow you to create an outstanding visual strategy for your company that aligns perfectly with the message you want to communicate. Creating unique illustrations for your brands will help you stand out from the crowd and create long-lasting impressions on your prospects.

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