Illustration is a method of communicating through images, that is, visual communication, whether it is a story, a message or a feeling. The illustration stimulates the senses and different emotional reactions. Using it you can inspire and enrich your imagination, show new or different ways of looking and thinking about things, and promote free and imaginative thinking. It’s the right choice when you want to showcase new worlds with original stories and characters.

We are sure that you have noticed this increasing trend so far. Depending on individual perception, these drawings are for many people amusing or strange and impersonal.

But regardless of the different views, one thing is certain: Illustrations are everywhere. In the last year, this trend has completely taken over the visual identities of many brands.

Many of you are wondering – how did that happen? Why are there so many similar illustrations on so many different websites? How so many brands have accidentally decided to use this style at the same time?

In fact, there are a number of practical reasons why these illustrations have become popular.

Above all, they are truly representative – through them brands can portray people using all shapes, colors and sizes, which is an advantage for socially oriented brands who want to make sure they are inclusive of all people and communities.

We believe you have already noticed the first association of this trend as an example of the creative illustrations of the social network Facebook that designed its job postings just after this example.

Illustrations are also a flexible way of interpretation – they are always an auxiliary tool for presenting complex and abstract ideas in a clean and simple way. In this way the illustrations increase the visual interest by reflecting the tone of the narrative that enables information to be more easily processed through visual clues. Many software development companies use this way of presenting the preferences of complex technical solutions to their products.

Uniqueness is an additional characteristic when it comes to using illustrations in your branding, they are filled with a story that makes your brand friendly and easily accessible to end consumers. Sometimes your imagination needs to be the limit, not the budget or the practical logistics of what you can shoot, where and how.

The simple beauty of the illustration is that you can portray virtually anything you want.

Futuristic, surreal or fantastic scenes are possible with photography in theory, but could be a bit of a fortune. If a certain degree of realism is important, consider the middle ground of a photo editing illustration or collage, where stock assets can be invaluable. This way, there will be no limits to what kind of world you can create.

However, when it comes to design trends, there are always potential challenges if you choose to use this trend without doing proper research. It’s almost never a good idea to change the whole brand overnight just because “everybody else does it.”

Be careful, illustrations do not always match the spirit of your brand. Hence they do not have to be the most authentic way of positioning your company and brand to the target audience. Remember, while illustration may have the power to make your brand more friendly, real photos of real people and shapes can be both powerful and pragmatic in their own way.

Ultimately your responsibility lies in the proper attention to disclosure that best reflects your particular brand, industry and customers.

In the end, there’s no real proof that any design trend, whether it’s illustrations, custom photos, or even 3D images, is good or bad for your brand identity.

Sometimes, the nature of the idea or concept you are trying to convey will determine whether the illustration is the best course of action.

Please feel free to write your points of view in the section below. 

Till the next time, squareONE.