How to create branded illustrations

Branded Illustrations – Where to start?

You know that old saying, don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well, that’s easier said than done. We humans are visual folk and that’s something we just can’t deny.

When we first scan the supermarket shelf in front of us, the first thing that draws us in before knowing anything else about a product is what that bottle, box or bag looks like. We unconsciously lean towards the one we like the look of first, then start making some conscious decisions like, price, ingredients, benefits etc. But how many times have you picked up a bottle of wine from a shelf with a cool illustration or graphic and thought ‘Ooooo this looks nice. It’s only a few dollars more than my usual drop, I’ll give it a go.’

When Venngage asked – ‘Which type of content in 2019 performed best for you and your marketing goals?‘ The winner, when it came to actual results, was original graphics such as infographics and illustrations at 40%.’

Original graphics, meaning graphics that were made for that brand, in their branded style. These are the ones that outperformed all other visual content like stock photos and videos

So, what do you need to create strong graphic visuals for your brand? Well firstly, you need a style.

And you need that style to work cohesively with your current branded elements like your logo, fonts, colours, and tone of voice. If you’re struggling with where to start inspiration can be found in your brand by looking at the elements you’ve already got to work with.

Use the colours you already have to dictate the tone of your illustrations. If your current colour palette is limited, consider bringing in a secondary colour palette to assist the illustrations which you build into your brand guidelines. These might be colours that you only use in certain graphics or in certain channels or even to segment out different audiences.

Next, look at the style you already have and how you can develop it, or compliment it, in your new illustrations.

What are your lines like? Are you using thick, thin, subtle, heavy, rough or clean? Do the shapes have rounded or hard edges? Are they soft and organic or hard geometric shapes? Are they a combination of both? If your logo uses a thick slab serif style typeface, an illustration style that consists of dainty lines and soft organic shapes might not be the strongest pairing.

Lastly, look at the message you want these graphics to convey.

Your graphics should be adding value to your brand and if they tell a story or convey a message then your audience will connect more with them.

They can be as basic as a simple obscure shape to represent a piece of food, or as elaborate as creating a scene evolving people or landscapes. As long as they reflect the style you’ve landed on and the message isn’t compromised by this. 

If you can apply these tips to your own brand you’ll be able to create patterns, shapes, graphics and illustrative elements that will create better brand recognition and interaction across your socials, website, packaging and other touchpoints. 

You never know, It might just be your bottle of wine I pick up next.

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