Bringing Designs to Life: Illustration

Illustration is a powerful graphic design tool. From enhancing brand identity to emotional visual storytelling, it really can enhance and elevate the impact of a design. This blog shows how Oak Creative uses illustration to bring design to life and some of our favourite examples:

1. Visual Storytelling

Illustration can be used to turn simple visuals into engaging narratives. Complex ideas and emotions can be brought to life through illustrative graphics, and take the audience on a journey. In particular, the use of illustrated infographics can assist in portraying information in an easily digestible and engaging format. Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a written article! This not only enhances communication, but it also creates something that audiences are more likely to remember. The ‘picture superiority effect’ has been a focus of experiments and studies for many years. Use of illustrated visuals within your designs can literally aid people’s memory of your brand and content! Visual storytelling also includes the use of symbols and iconography to communicate ideas where there may be language barriers… think of the imagery used to show where there’s toilets, parking or bus stops, they’re universally understood!

2. Brand Identity & Personality

Speaking of brand, illustration can also lend itself to your entire brand’s personality. There are many examples of this such as Duolingo, Mailchimp & Headspace that go to show how a strong illustrative style can represent your brand’s ethos & values, as well as becoming an easily recognisable asset. These illustrative touch points can be used across a whole range of marketing materials to create consistent communication & strengthen your brand recall.

3. Emotional Connections

The style, texture, colour and imagery of your illustrations are a powerful medium for an emotional connection to your audience. These elements evoke more feelings than words alone can express, and sometimes even unlock certain memories. For example, seeing a soft illustration of a person smiling with bright & warm colours around them is more likely to immediately come across and ‘feel’ like happiness rather than just the word ‘happy’. This can be applied to most emotions and human experience, with nostalgia being a very common use in media right now (as explored in our 2024 trends blog).

4. Social Media Engagement

With each of these aspects of illustration in mind, the use of branded illustration goes hand-in-hand with social media recognition. Our minds are racing as we doom scroll through our socials and our attention spans are short… Being able to stand out with a bespoke illustration that immediately screams your brand can get someone instantly thinking about you. In a survey by Vennage, 43% of marketers reported that infographics & illustrations were the most successful visual content format in 2023. This makes it the top performer when compared to other visuals such as stock photos, data charts and gifs or memes. 

Our conclusion:

There are many reasons to include illustration within design, such as enhanced storytelling, brand identity, emotional connection, and social media. It allows for the creation of memorable designs that deeply resonate with audiences, moving beyond visual appeal to create lasting impressions.

Here are some other examples that Oak have created in recent years:

Think your brand could use some illustrative assets or need assistance with your brand identity? Get in touch with us today to chat to our team and see what we can do!