Working with my commercial (non-publishing) clients has been a very positive experience as I seek to fulfil their marketing and advertising needs.
Using my experience in this area I have written an article on the importance of illustration for your organisation.
It might just be more than you realise.
So much of marketing and connecting with your audience is about depth –
creating a sufficiently deep connection so your audience stop scrolling or walking on. This occurs by immediately invoking depth of feeling and emotion within your audience. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. When it comes to marketing or brand awareness, customers find visual content more engaging and exciting.
As the internet and printed media become more image-focussed, organisations have become increasingly reliant on illustration to fill white space and add character to their web and printed pages that is non-generic and reflects their unique characteristics. Illustration can benefit online and offline marketing in many ways.
To make your organisation or message memorable, modern marketing can require creativity that defies the norms. Illustrations are unique in this aspect because they can magically conjure any human emotion, variety of people, environment, weather condition and countless other aspects. A good illustrator knows how to add artistic distinction and style to marketing with the use of the story told by their illustration. A character’s expression, choice of colour and light in an environment and a host of other artistic design tools can depict versatile ideas from a simple statement to a complex message that photos cannot do.
This article will discuss some of the following key ways in which illustration can significantly boost an organisation’s marketing:
- Creates awareness to your audience
- Draws attention to your brand or products
- Enhances text
- Promotes a better response
- Stands with your audience
- Delivers customer education
- Catches visual attention
- Precludes boring and overused stock photos of styles
- The selling power of aesthetics, and
- Storytelling unites your organisation
Creates Awareness to Your Audience
Illustration is a must in marketing because of its ability to create and promote brand awareness to audiences. Advert creators use illustrations to create an awareness of what they want users to know and interact with. For example, an advert with a David and Goliath fight in a wrestling ring is a great way of showing patients how a drug knocks down a particular disease.
Draws Attention to Your Brand or Products
The goal of marketing is to grab an audiences attention to your brand or product. Therefore, marketing should be crafted so it catches and maintains attention before the message can establish. Illustration connects quickly with an audiences wide range of emotions. For example, humour is one of the central emotions for hooking current and future customers because it provides that dopamine hit, and we’ll come back for more of that. Illustrations are more powerful at invoking a greater sense of humour than photographs.
Illustration is cost-effective in marketing and enables organisations to save on expensive advertising costs. This is because it is easier and cheaper to work with illustrations than to produce photo-based campaigns. If an organisation decides not to use stock photography, the average professional photoshoot can become very expensive. They require models, location work (if outdoors then a reliance on suitable weather), props, and comprehensive post-shoot photoshopping.
With illustration, you don’t need any of these things. In addition, I am a digital artist so amending an illustration is much easier than a photograph. Therefore, you will spend less to communicate the same message.
Most of the time (but not always) words are necessary for a successful advert. However, to enhance a message illustrations provide an effective ‘quick read’ support. Good illustrations that promote an emotion can sink quicker and deeper into the audience’s consciousness and remain longer. With illustrations, adverts deliver superior outcomes than a mere wall of text.
Promotes a Better Response
Speaking face-to-face with someone (in person or via video call) is always better than sending an email because of the way we use our visual aspects of communication. So incorporating illustration in marketing is an excellent way of encouraging better audience responses. The success or failure of an advertising or marketing campaign is dependant on its response. Once the illustrations have communicated the required emotion, better responses make it easy for campaigns to create positive feedback on social media.
We humans are emotional creatures, and emotions determine our purchasing choices. A compassionate feel to your online presence will also reflect your product or service. So reflecting emotion will let your audience associate their own feelings with your brand and conduct business with you.
A little humour is a saviour and can even bring colour to unavoidable and unwanted pages. Illustrations are so powerful that we can take something unpleasant, like landing on a 404 Not Found page, or an unsuccessful payment, and turn it around into something amusing.
Stand with your audience
Given the different styles and scenes available through illustration, you can market your product, campaign or brand with interests most popular amongst your target audience. Some organisations undertake significant research to get to know their audience. So, if you know that your target audience have an eye for science and technology, then geometric, concise illustration will appeal to them far more and get them to engage with your organisation.
Delivers Customer Education
Education can be a critical part of a successful marketing campaign. E.g. some adverts are created to help customers with how they need to use a product or service. But the typical intellectual approach that is seen in schools is less suitable for the wider population. Illustrations epitomise the golden rule of “show, don’t tell”. They are ideal ways to educate customers in a way that doesn’t make them feel they are at school. Illustrations allow for a more relaxed, informal delivery that connects with the customer’s emotions.
Catches Visual Attention
Illustrations allow you to convey both complex or simple messages. Or you can break up an advert with different illustrations that inform large or small pieces of information. Therefore, illustrations work as excellent tools for relating your story that resonates well with your audience. Our eyes are the doors to our soul, so what makes the eye happy will make the soul happy.
Also, the visual hierarchy of a webpage can be significantly enhanced with illustration. Effective marketing and advertising design must to consider fonts, white space, forms, and other information. Bespoke illustrations help your audience navigate the whole interface, providing a visual link or breathing space between sections.
HelpScout’s website utilises a simple yet effective illustration of two people having a conversation in a calming, naturalistic environment. This is used alongside HelpScout’s in-app messaging feature:
An effective a marketing or advertising campaign needs to be memorable and therefore it needs to be unique. Illustrations are easy to customise with a style and colour scheme that suits your brand or promotional campaign. Using illustration, you are able to tell the story you need for your campaign. You have complete control over the characters and the scenes you want to portray, creating the right visuals for your organisation and tell the right story.
Ecommerce seller Etsy uses brand colours throughout its illustrative content to align with its logo. They even have illustrations on their gift cards:
Precludes Boring and Overused Stock Photos or Styles
Photographs can be important in marketing campaigns. However, it is possible to use an overused style or subject of photographs. Even irregular visitors to the internet will have seen either many of the same photos or the same style of photo used on various websites. It is true that illustration styles are not immune to becoming generic, such as the flat and widely used Alegria art style, but there are very few other examples.
With photographs it is also possible to unwittingly use copyrighted photos and be dragged into expensive legal action. But with illustrations, you avoid overused photos that are a public persona for organisations within a specific industry. This is why many discerning and creative advertisers use illustrations because they provide broader and deeper options for creativity. Also, bespoke illustrations ensure that all images are unique and designed to suit an organisation’s brand and needs.
The Selling Power of Aesthetics
Alongside of the great functionality of illustrations, they also provide an aesthetic value to the design of your marketing. People will always desire beauty. Having a functional marketing campaign or website coupled with desirable colours will make people notice your brand or product. The old saying “packaging sells”, remains applicable to the online world.
Slack uses illustrations throughout their website:
Storytelling Unites Your Organisation
Finally, storytelling combines many blocks of information about your organisation or campaign into one story. This cohesion makes the blocks more memorable while demonstrating a strong, clear connection between them. Use storytelling to set an atmosphere, relay a message or present benefits so they correspond to your organisation’s personality or mission while staying relatable to your audience.
MailChimp uses such illustrations throughout their website:
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