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Defining your brand’s illustration style and its importance

When creating your brand’s overall look, it is important to define your brand’s visual identity in a way that will set you apart from your competitors. After defining logos, color palettes, and particular fonts, what’s the next step? This is where the illustration style comes into play. 

Your Illustration style is unique to your brand and speaks to your customers by turning away from realism and showing the customer a sneak peek into what your brand is all about through a series of images. The goal is to use illustrations in order to relate to your target audience, because at the end of the day, being relatable is more important than you might think. This begs the question, where do you use illustrations, and why? But first, there are two main factors to consider when deciding where and when to use an illustration — narrative, and consistency. 

NARRATIVE

What sets one illustration style instantly above another? The narrative.

Think of it as storytelling. A visual story can intrigue your audience in a short period of time by being immediately relatable. Visuals have the advantage of drawing attention on an emotional level that can reach your audience in a fast and effective way. You need visuals to break apart heavy amounts of text in order to keep your audience interested in what your brand has to offer. Unlike photographs, illustrations can be as abstract and imaginative as you would like. It allows you to think outside of the box and open the door to endless possibilities in your storytelling. They are often seen in online campaigns, email marketing, video marketing, social media, and so much more. 

But remember, even with all that creative freedom, creating a narrative that is effective requires a lot of forethought and planning. It only makes sense for those images to support the overall look and feel of your brand — no matter how abstract the narrative may be. But the look you may be going for does not come overnight. 

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is important when defining your illustration style and overall visual identity. The goal is for customers to be able to easily identify your brand through your style of imagery. A strong brand identity is the foundation for the visual aspect of your brand; your illustration style strengthens that foundation. Think of it as the anchor that sits on the foundation and holds everything in place. Cheesy? Yes, but you get the point.

A few ways you can create consistency is by creating your brand’s illustration style. That includes defining your color palette, using recurring shapes, establishing a line weight, and using repeating patterns. Contrary to appearances, it is not always easy to stay consistent across the board, but a trained, talented designer will have the ability to follow these universal rules of illustration design and create something that is in-line with your brand’s current design style. 

One way you can become more relatable is by adding human figures in your illustrations as a nod to the human experience. It can make storytelling that much easier and remind your audience of the friendly mentality of the people behind the screen — AKA, you.

Don’t believe us? Here are some examples: 

Mailchimp

 

Dropbox

Slack

CONCLUSION

Illustration styles are useful because they can increase the range and depth of messages a company communicates visually about itself. From mission statements to practical product support, they can strengthen the relatability of your brand while keeping it visually appealing and consistent across a range of platforms such as the web, socials, print, and more. 

 

 

– written by Stevie Gould

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