Building a Visual Brand Identity – 6 hot spots for illustration

In the age of digital marketing, fresh written content is important, but a cohesive illustration system is what really attracts potential clients.

An illustration system is a foolproof way to enrich a brand and communicate more nuanced information than a logo, color scheme, or font can accomplish alone. Illustration lets you build your brand the way you imagine it. Having a series of connected illustrations sprinkled throughout your online domain is a way to envelope potential clients in the world of your brand.

Solid visuals give browsers something to take away when they leave the webpage: they’ll be taking a whole world with them! Therefore, creating a cohesive visual message is vitally important as a business owner or entrepreneur. Whether you plan to create DIY images or hire a professional illustrator, below are six of the hottest illustration types to incorporate on your website.

Spot Illustration

Also known as object illustrations, spot illustrations stand alone, without an elaborate background. These can be dispersed throughout your site to add pops of personality and visual interest. Good candidates for spot illustrations include simple objects, people, or animals. Since there’s no cumbersome background to deal with, these images can be formatted to fit nicely around headings or other chunks of text. Picture a cartoon alligator leaning casually against the heading for a “Gator Removal Service.” (Yes, you need to live in Florida to really appreciate that joke)!

Pattern Illustration

A repeated pattern woven throughout your website creates continuity and style. You can choose a pattern based on simple shapes representing your brand (think: raindrops, flowers, money, handbags, etc.). Simplicity is key to creating an appealing pattern that isn’t distracting or cumbersome. Tone down the details and focus on general shapes and outlines.

Patterns can be found bordering your text boxes, running along the bottom or top of the page, or sprinkled throughout an article to break up paragraphs. Patterns add consistent visual interest and provide a continuous reminder of your brand.

Character Illustration

Character illustrations are a notch above spot illustrations in terms of effort and detail. A character is a person or animal that can serve as a mascot for your business. Much care is required to imbue your character with personality and spark. The more little detail, the better! Also, aim to create a character that your client base can relate to. When in doubt, anthropomorphic animals are always a great choice that doesn’t risk alienating any potential buyers. Plus, they’re super darn cute! You could also consider having more than one character to represent the diversity of your client base. Consider creating characters of multiple ethnicities, genders, and sizes to cast a wide net and showcase how many different individuals can use your product.

Product Illustration

Here we are: the big kahuna. While sharing real photographs of your product is also important, an illustration is another unique way to show off what your business has to offer. A product illustration is your chance to continue building the world you’ve been working on so diligently. An advantage that illustration offers is the ability to portray your product exactly as you imagine it.

You can highlight what you feel is the essence of your product in a more difficult way to do in a photograph. Additionally, you can have your character(s) (see above) interacting with your product to make your illustration system feel even more connected.

Landing Page Illustration

The landing page is the first impression that visitors will have on your website. Keeping that in mind, you want your landing page to be welcoming and convey a sense of your brand’s identity. Think about keywords that describe your business: Are you playful? Serious? Motivated? Innovative? Incorporate those themes into the illustrations you choose for your landing page to give potential clients a sense of your values.

Keep the landing page clean and easy on the eye. Illustrations should add value to the ease of navigation. Resist the urge to throw all your best tricks on that initial page. Save some great concept ideas to be used elsewhere on your website, too!

Instructional Illustration

This type of image is beneficial for demonstrating the functionality of your product. An illustration offers several benefits over photographs, including the ability to really “zoom in” on your product’s specific areas or features. These tiny details can be difficult to capture and convey through real photographs.

These illustrations can come in a series and offer a step-by-step, “how-to” explanation. Arrows, labels, and other annotations can be very helpful in viewer interpretation of the image. Make sure the instructions provided by the image are clear and easy to follow. Featuring this type of image on your website will cut down the need for excessive, wordy blocks of text describing your product’s functionality.

A Final Word

Whether you choose to incorporate one, some, or all of the above illustration types into your illustration system, know that your brand identity will certainly be stronger. This is finally your chance to create the world you’ve always imagined, the world you know can exist because of your innovative product. Take the passion you have burning in your chest and transfer it to appealing images that will serve you well for years to come.

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