How Illustration Can Impact a Brand
Written By Katherine Cox, Creative Content Producer
We all understand that there is power in visuals. I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words right? But there is a different kind of magic that comes with powerful illustration work. The way an illustration can truly bring a story, a character, or an event to life is something that cannot be denied. Because of this, many companies are now using illustration as a tool in marketing to help get their message across in a more creative way. Brands are unique, and so are their products or services. An effective illustration can bring these unique qualities to life, while creating a lasting impression that goes far beyond traditional advertising.
Simply speaking, illustrations can have the ability to convey exaggeration, attitude, emotion, expression, and personality, in a way that text cannot. A great example of this is the Cruz Roja, Paraguaya Red Cross campaign. The organization commissioned the artist Edgar Arce to do the illustrative design in hopes of bringing in donations for the disastrous flood that occurred in Paraguaya. Unlike the dramatic photography of disaster zones we are used to, this illustration allowed the company to personalize the image and emotions they wanted to project. In many ways, this illustration was more impactful in its emotional, attitude and expression than a traditional photograph, and Red crossed received high praise for this innovative take.
Stemming off of this idea, Illustrations can be a great attention grabber amongst the clutter of traditional ads. Skullcandy took this idea and was able to create a magazine ad that really had that “wow” factor. This headphone brand which tries to keep the image of being edge and fun, worked with illustration company Visionary Bangkok and artistic director J. Walter Thompson Shanghai to create an ad for their new headphones. The two were able to create this illustrative piece of the headphones wires making up the veins of the human body playing a guitar along with the copy: “Go Deeper.” The intricacies of the linework, the metaphorical representation of the wires as veins, and the stark contrast of the image in general really helped create an ad that projected the personal brand image as well as caused the viewer to pause a moment. You really can't stop looking at it, and for a brand, that can mean the difference between getting that sale and being lost in the masses.
Finally, all of this does not mean I recommend throwing out all your types and graphics. There is, of course, a balance to this. A company that understands this balance is the email marketing provider MailChimp. Their homepage is a great example of using typography and whitespace in an equal way, but the use of dashboard illustrations, color, and shapes help bring the site to the next level. Using these elements enhances the website's ability to introduce the user to MailChimp and their brand storytelling. While email marketing is relatively a lackluster concept, the company's use of color and illustrations helped bring some fun and whimsy to their website while making the communication of what they do easier for a viewer to follow.
All of these examples are great inspirations for future campaigns, and I hope they have given you some insight into how illustration can bring your designs and marketing to the next level.