Why do companies use illustrations in their branding?

Branding Reading Time: 2 minutes


In today’s content-heavy world, fast-paced media consumption is a necessity, the things you have to say are only as important as the length of time you can hold your audience and with such a barrage of other brands and content to compete with – how do you stand out?

Using illustration in branding is a great way to do this, not only are you creating something bespoke, eye-catching and entirely tailored to you, you are using a medium that enables you to tell a story in seconds. From the simple to the complex, illustrations can give your brand depth and provide a point of relatability for the audience – suddenly without words, you are telling everyone what you’re about, be it with clean-cut and clinical art or softer palettes and sketchy outlines and often this humanises your brand.

MailChimp’s clean and refined logo complements the more rough,
traditional illustrations of the Mailchimp Design team throughout the site.

As we are habitually very visual, utilising an illustrations’ ability to communicate our own experience directly is incredibly useful – as with all art, we draw our own assumptions and connect dots that perhaps only we see and this is especially useful within branding as it creates a sense of intimacy, a personal connection on an individual level and that is often more enduring than telling our audience directly what they should think of us.

Alice Lee’s work with Slack to create over 40 illustrations used throughout the site. Soft, friendly illustrations that convey an air of collaboration and a limited palette to keep consistency throughout.

The control you have when incorporating bespoke illustrations in your branding is helpful in not only creating this story for your consumer in the one instance but across the whole experience they have of your brand – matching illustrations across your brand provides a unified voice for the audience, gives heart to your company and solidifies the kind of impact you are trying to have with that consistency.

The versatility of illustration means that it can often be more appealing than photography alone – do you want to show something fantastical? Surreal? The limits are only confined to the ability of your Illustrator and the time you have to make it! This freedom will set you apart in a crowd of cookie-cutter designs and leave an image that lasts.

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