30th March 2020

Jamie's top-notch design inspiration #2

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Jamie Robinson

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Never underestimate the power of illustration when it comes to the success of a business. It has the ability to communicate clear messages and visualise complicated ideas in ways that photography (especially stock photos) just can’t do.

An illustrator can visualise complex ideas and make it easier for others to understand in a far less intimidating way. Using stock photography can also come with a risk of confusing your audience because it was never made to specifically address your product. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to endlessly scroll through stock photo sites in the hope of finding a photo that perfectly matches a brand’s story.

To tackle the issue with stock photography, there’s been an insurgence of open-source illustration libraries appearing online. Often with a free download or one-time payment, these sites have a wide variety of illustrative assets including people and styles and can be used in pretty much any designing software. It’s a designers dream, instead of mindlessly scrolling through photos we can now choose and edit royalty-free illustrations with ease.

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But it isn’t all as positive as it might seem. Whilst I credit and respect the illustrators creating these library packs for taking a stand against the dreaded stock photo, it seems to have just created a middle ground. Yes, brands now don’t have to rely on photography to convey a message but they're still lacking a completely bespoke brand story. Your brand is unique and deserves to be communicated in an authentic way, not a “one-size-fits-all”. Let me prove this point with some top-notch design inspiration focusing on bespoke illustrations.

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Jamie's top-notch design inspiration #2
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This is Hustle’s new branding, created by the team at Jones Knowles Ritchie. It’s a brand that wanted to reference their connections to the music world, specifically the vibrant language of the funk era. From the flared sans serif typeface to the addition of the custom illustrated ‘spokes-creatures’, this is now a beautifully colourful and upbeat brand.

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Jamie's top-notch design inspiration #2
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Designed by Landor, Petbarn is a slightly older example of a rebrand but it shows what bespoke illustration can do to a brand. As Petbarn is already very recognisable in Australia, with its bold typography and colour combination, you’ll notice that the logo is exactly the same. The focus here was to retire the old animal icons and transform the brand into a living, breathing, tail-wagging one. These new animated illustrations showcase the unique characteristics of each animal, whilst still maintaining the core brand identity.

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SundayTM is a pension (but not called a pension) that gently encourages saving for the future in a positive, non-preachy way. Designed by the Leeds agency Robot Food, who were inspired by deconstructed pie charts, creating a brand mark that literally brings to life the building blocks of a secure financial future. The use of illustration takes precedence over photography to reinforce Sunday’s youthful, future-focussed perspective.

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Designed by Futura in Mexico City, Buddy Buddy is a nut butter brand located in Belgium. The concept focuses on the idea that the best company you can have, is being with yourself; very appropriate given the current situation with Covid-19 and self-isolation. The illustrations suggest the idea of having a bit of “Me Time”, something we should all try and do in these difficult times. It’s a lovely little message with a touch of humour and a youthful personality.

In conclusion, we live in a world that is saturated with so much of the same, it’s never been more important to stand out. That’s why creating your own unique brand image is so important.

Interested in exploring the possibility of illustration for your next digital project? Get in touch to speak to our digital design team.

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