5 reasons big business is using illustration in their branding
Illustrations are a form of decoration, interpretation or visual explanation. They are an important part of creative design and can provide information, incite emotion, or even change someone’s perception about your company and brand.
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in illustration usage, both digitally and in print, with the likes of Google, Headspace, and Spotify expanding their branding to include plenty of flat, illustrative designs.
Illustration is quickly becoming a staple in branding identity guidelines around the globe, for businesses both small and large. But why are big corporations like Etsy, Slack, or even Salesforce shifting their branding to incorporate more of it in 2021?
1. It ‘softens’ the brand
This one might seem obvious, but illustration does a fantastic job at ‘softening’ a brand, which works particularly well for “big business“. No matter the size of the company though, there is a particular, easily recognisable style of corporate illustration that has been especially prevalent amongst all areas of marketing in the last few months.
The large, bold, colourful, flat shapes that make up much of corporate artwork nowadays has been praised for giving ‘naturally cold’ companies a softer, much more approachable image. This can be seen across big names such as Google, Oscar, and Salesforce who are all using a similar two-dimensional, friendly illustration style across all of their branding.
2. It’s visually pleasing
It’s an undeniable fact that images are more compelling than text alone. Because of this, it’s not surprising to find that visual content consistently performs better on social media than text-only content.
In addition to this, it’s well documented that people process and remember visual content better than words alone. All of this means that illustrations can persuade, inform and influence your audience while enhancing your brand messaging and helping your business express emotion, more effectively than text alone.
3. It’s easy to communicate the company’s branding
Photography and custom images for every social post can be time consuming and expensive. To combat this, many businesses use stock photography to improve the visual nature of their social media posts and increase engagement. While this isn’t a bad tactic, it can be difficult to convey your company’s branding through stock images and photography alone.
Illustration is the perfect solution to this, as you can easily use your brand colours, imagery, and fonts – keeping your branding consistent on your social media channels, email marketing and print media.
4. It’s easy to create remotely
During 2020, the whole world saw a seismic shift to remote working, prompting changes in business and marketing across the board. Whether the increase in illustration has been mainly due to the changing attitudes of business – and a need to build loyalty and trust – or the differences that came with the pandemic, it’s undeniable that both of these influences will have played a part.
Illustration differs from photography in many ways, though a key difference between the two is that illustration can be created remotely. This means it’s been easier to create illustrations throughout the pandemic, without the opportunity for photoshoots or on-location images.
5. It’s easy to scale digitally
The familiar ‘corporate’ illustration style, made up of flat, colourful shapes, is a subset of a style called “flat design”. This design style has also been behind the increase in minimalist logo makeovers that have been happening across corporate branding.
Flat design’s ultimate goal is to ensure that all the graphic elements within an illustration work well on every digital medium – from tiny Apple Watch screens to building-sized banners. Overall, illustration is generally much easier to scale up and down, compared to photography, typography, or other design styles.
Illustration is everywhere right now and it’s obvious that ‘big business’ wants a piece of the pie too. From building trust to conveying a consistent level of branding throughout all design pieces, illustration has a multitude of benefits for companies large and small.