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The Value of Illustration in Design

Branding & Design

From The Studio



The Value of Illustration in Design


Have you ever been given a present made especially for you?  Someone wrote a poem for you, a clever friend gave you a necklace they designed or what about a handprint of your one-year old child?  There is something so wonderful about a gift that is only for you, one of a kind, an original.

Illustrations are much the same in the context of design and marketing.  It is a one-off design, specific to a brief, created from scratch.    An illustration draws you in, it tells a story, and it allows you to make it personal.  Which is what a company wants when speaking to its audience, a personal connection.

Illustrators are artists.  They create something from nothing.  The artist is using a computer but essentially they are given a blank canvas and a concept, and they draw. Illustration should add a deeper, more complex dimension to graphic design.

The skill is in knowing when to use illustration.  Within a branding or marketing strategy it is one of many tools that can be used to communicate a message, and you shouldn’t use all of the tools, all of the time – you select them as and when they are needed and in a way that fulfills your strategy.

For Canterbury District Health Board, Publica created over 50 illustrations of life and nature in Canterbury to bring identity and atmosphere within their hospital.  Our brief was to create visuals that would evoke positive emotions, helping people to feel safe and inspired.  Intricate and attractive illustrations provided the vital distraction needed by the young patients.

Illustrations are extremely effective when used in campaigns.  We had lots of fun using illustrations to animate a well-known poem in our ‘12 Days of Christmas’ series. Our drawings played with the words, encouraging people to look at something so familiar to them in a different way.  Illustrations can bring new life to the mundane or over-familiar.

For Gold Band Taxis we wanted to make their branding stand out in a way that meant their cars could be recognised easily when driving around the city.  We did this by providing a suite of icons that are easily associated with their new branding and marketing design.  Each of the cars has a unique combination of icons on its map, personally chosen by each driver.  Branding should be fun and inclusive.

We believe that every client has a story to tell, so we put a lot of value on illustration.  That’s why we have an illustrator on our team.   Being able to provide original and bespoke illustrations, to be used in the marketing and communication strategy of our clients, ensures we are not limited on how we tell their story.  And of course, it means we can give them a gift made only for them.

If you have a story to tell, get in touch with Publica.

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