The Rise of Illustration

August 9th, 2016 in Design & Branding 2 minute read

There’s no doubt about it, the use of illustration is on the rise. Flick through a newspaper or a magazine and you’ll see editorial illustration commissions are increasing. You’ll find it becoming more popular on the web where a stock photo just won’t cut it anymore. Why use a boring photo that countless other people have used when you can have a unique illustration that injects a bit of personality and playfulness? A custom illustration has the power to evoke emotion, remember Jean Jullien’s Peace for Paris symbol? In an age where the consumer wants to engage with a brand on an emotional level, this is definitely something to consider. Let’s take a look at where illustration can be used.

The hero image of a website is a great place to showcase a one of a kind illustration. With it being a big space, there’s the option of going fairly detailed. I love this work Grain and Mortar did for BarCamp. BarCamp is an informal, laid back conference where people are encouraged to share their passion with others. This illustration does well in getting across the spirit of BarCamp with its use of vintage style textures and bright colours.

Barcamp by Grain and Mortar

If all out technicolour glory is a tad too much, then there’s other ways to include a dash of illustration without going overboard. Take a leaf out of Dropbox’s book. These illustrations with their limited colours and sketchy line work add a little bit of fun and casualness to the site without it being overwhelming.



Intercom are another good example of using simple doodles to get across their friendly nature.


Custom icon sets are a useful way to help draw attention to your core message. They work best if they’re kept simple as they’re fairly small on a website. A limited colour palette also helps to grab the attention of the consumer.  On our site, you’ll find our own custom icons in the Zeal brand colours to help highlight our services and their benefits.


Another way to get across information is data visualisation. After all, us humans are very visual creatures and we’re more likely to understand information when it’s presented to us visually rather than in a block of text. Ricky Linn does a fantastic job of producing budget reports for the executive branch of the U.S. With what could have been a very dry report, Ricky uses minimal colours and presents the data in a very readable format making it easy for the reader to comprehend.

Ricky Linn Annual Budget Report2

Ricky Linn Annual Budget Report3

Following on from this, infographics make great content for social media. It’s a known fact that users engage more with a visual post and a colourful image is a sure way to get someone’s attention. Here at Zeal, we love creating infographics. Here’s a snippet of one we designed for our client Bed Guru about how to sleep anywhere which was shared on Facebook and reached over 1900 people.

Thinking about commissioning some illustration work? Then get in touch!

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