The power of bespoke illustrations for your brand

Over the last few years illustrations are having a real revival. Particularly, service-based businesses and large tech and software companies, like Dropbox, Mailchimp or Slack, are using illustrations as part of their branding to come across as more human. But that’s not all. Illustrations can add real value to your branding.

Recently, I had a really interesting conversation with a client. I suggested that bespoke illustrations might be a great addition to their visual branding to solidify their look, feel and message even more. After I explained these benefits, my client came back and asked to expand on this further. All they wanted was to make sure their investment is a worthy one.

There is a variety of benefits to adding bespoke illustrations to your brand identity, from increasing distinctiveness and familiarity to visualising complex concepts and building trust with consumers.

The benefits of adding bespoke illustrations to your brand identity

Illustrations increase distinctiveness and recognisability

A logo and typography are usually the most unique brand identity assets. And although we instinctively pick up on colour first, it is nowhere near as unique as shapes and type. Adding bespoke illustrations to your brand identity assets, adds yet another layer of distinctiveness, that makes your whole brand identity even more recognisable and memorable.

Illustrations are also versatile and flexible. They work in literally every brand touchpoint, from business cards to brochures and from packaging to your website. However, they need be used consistently across all your communications otherwise you won’t establish them as part of your brand, and they’ll start to lose their intended impact.

As part of our current brand identity refresh for Suffolk-based Vale Designs – a local company who design and handmake bespoke kitchens –, we have extended their brand identity by adding a set of wood cut style illustrations which visualise the process and customer journey. They also convey the quality of craftsmanship and the charm of their beautiful kitchens.

black wood cut style illustration of a van on Vale Designs website
black wood cut style illustrations in Vale Designs process leaflet showing a plainer and a paint pot

Illustrations help to convey and deepen your brand message

The second benefit of bespoke illustrations lies in their power to tell a story. They support your branding in giving visual cues as to your brand’s personality and positioning. They communicate ideas and values without using words and in doing so create an even better connection with your audience.

Illustrations are particularly useful if the nature of your brand’s products and services is particularly abstract, complex or highly sensitive. Illustrations have the power to visualise concepts and eradicate the use of clichéd and overused stock imagery. But they can also describe scenarios that are too taboo or where photography would be too graphic and insensitive.

We recently worked with social enterprise Lofty Heights. Their team supports people whose homes have become muddled due to a severe and/or sudden change in circumstance – such as a bereavement, ill physical or mental health – to live in their home happier and safer for longer. Their work is of a sensitive nature which renders photography of their work almost impossible. Instead, we have created a range of illustrations which visualise aspects of their works in a friendly and hopeful manner.

simple black line drawing of a stack of boxes, brush and door with yellow and purple colour accents
previous illustration incorporated in a DL leaflet cover design for Lofty Heights

Illustrations help your clients understand your service or product better

Most people are visual learners. That means, before we read words, we will always look at available imagery. Images are much easier and quicker to process for our brain. That’s why illustrations are brilliant in adding visual narrative to support your words, and so making your content instantly more accessible, engaging and easier to understand. Illustrations can be used to illustrate processes, stories, descriptions, guides etc – the possibilities are endless!

We’ve been working with Suffolk-based body-care brand RuffStuff on their branding and product packaging for a number of years. The recipes and formulas of their products are all 100% natural and vegan – key selling points. To enhance their brand positioning and core message we’ve created a library of beautiful line illustrations which are reminiscent of vintage horticultural drawings. Using these illustrations on product packaging and literature allows their customers to actually ‘see’ the ingredients of each product. It doesn’t just add more transparency, but also helps to build credibility and trust.

open book showing the library of RuffStuff's line illustrations which are reminiscent of old horticultural drawings
the RuffStuff postcard flyer that incorporates illustrations of a coconut, olive and bowl of sugar

Let’s brand up

Reach out to us today and you’ll be one step closer to creating a brand experience that delights your customers and enables your business to grow.

About Franzi Scheithauer

Franzi is Creative Director at Studio Brand Up and specialises in brand strategy and identity design.