Imagery plays a crucial role in your companies branding, it helps you to share your messages quickly, sets the tone of your communications and ultimately helps you sell your ideas, products and services.
Naturally, when most people consider their imagery they think of photography. While photography is definitely an important element in most brand toolkits (when done correctly) we’re here to talk about a more understated form of imagery – Illustration Sets.
We define our Illustrations sets as ‘stylised illustrative assets unique to your brand’. Illustration gives your brand imagery a flexibility with style, content and composition. Commonly used across client websites, social media or print publications these illustration sets provide a wayfinding tool, a decorative element and an iconography that helps businesses differentiate their products and services – All with a cohesive aesthetic.
There is no shortage of stock illustration sets available, many of which can be obtained for free. So, why not simply use those? Well, there are two reasons:
- Brand Image – do you want to potentially share your illustrations with other brands, or have ones that are completely unique to your business? Would you purchase your logo, website or packaging from stock as well?
- Service Specific – often it’s difficult to find a set online that covers all of your products / services so you’re either making do with illustrations that don’t necessarily communicate the right thing, or mixing and matching from different sets.
The main issue with mixing and matching is that you end up with something like the above – a Frankenstein’s monster of conflicting styles. It makes this element of your brand feel messy and the tone becomes inconsistent. With the amount of effort you’ve put into building a great brand it’s a shame to fall down on the details.
So what do we do?
Simple. We create bespoke illustration sets that are tailored to your business. We initially define an illustrative style based on you companies’ values, tone and target audience and produce a set of rules/guidelines for the assets to follow. Once this is done we can effectively illustrate anything in your unique brand style. Let us share with you some examples:
FCF (First Call Financials)
FCF are accountants and payroll specialists based in Bristol. Alongside delivering their brand identity refresh last year, we were tasked with creating a bespoke illustration set to highlight their core services in marketing materials and online. The challenges FCF would have faced when trying to use a stock set would be finding representation for more niche services like CIC or Direct payments and finding a specific set with the nuance to differentiate between similar services like accountancy and payroll.
The first thing we did was develop a style to align with the brand identity, opting for a bicolour line style and layering multiple elements (this was important to build up a differentiation between services). As FCF want to be a client focused brand, we also developed a character style for ‘people’ that felt open and friendly as their brand intended.
From that we were able to extract key information about each of the services from FCF and develop a set that’s completely bespoke, beautiful and on-brand.
DO Digital Realities
DO are a 3D specialist creative agency based in Cardiff. DO faced a fairly similar challenge to FCF – because of the complexity of their services it would be close to impossible to find a set that would cover any or all of their products.
We wanted this set to also feel very ‘techy’ and really nod to the work they produce. Again, we used a line based style, combining stroke styles to provide depth to the imagery and give a sense of computer-based building. We also made sure each illustration had a 3D element to carry the essence of the business.
The point of this article is to *illustrate* the flexibility that these sets provide and the variance from one business to the next. Not defined by style, we are able to work in an aesthetic and medium that is appropriate to the client.
With TAYST Wholesale, we were tasked with creating a library of food and drink imagery that would give the impression of organic, locally sourced, rustic produce. We sat down and highlighted key items of food and beverages to illustrate with intricate pen sketches. The hand-drawn style was the perfect fit for the South Wales wholesaler and looked great across their marketing and van livery.
Like all styles and techniques, hand-made illustration sets are ten a penny with inks, pens, pencils, watercolours and collages becoming increasingly easier to digitise and mass produce. Sure, we could have used the available resource but with Tayst – a curator of specific, considered produce – we felt that only a bespoke set was right for the brand.
Mad Dog Brewing Co.
Although not what you would conventionally think of as an illustration set, the chosen brand direction for Mad Dog Brewing Co. meant we had to create a selection of individual illustrative assets for each label concept.
The style of the illustration set was informed by the rebrand we produced for Mad Dog in which we reimagined the logo and brand mascot (A ‘mad’ pitbull) in a street art inspired, cartoon aesthetic. Bold characters with pop colours and just the right amount of crazy became the direction for this craft ale brewery.
We ended up creating a weird and wonderful Mad Dog universe where even your spray can is alive and out to get you. It’s a fun and vibrant brand asset that in this case is the core of Mad Dog’s identity.
If your brand is suffering from ageing or unprofessional photography, an incohesive aesthetic or a message that is missing the mark, consider the prospect of illustrative assets to evolve your brand, and take your imagery and visual messaging to the next level. Think twice before using stock resources and consider the impact they have on your audience. Let us help you with a truly bespoke illustration set that your brand can really own.
If you wish to discuss your existing imagery and the suitability for your branding please get in touch. We are happy to hold a no obligation consultation to discuss your requirements.