07 Nov Make Your Brand Alive with Illustration
Strategy – building the heart of a brand
How can you make your brand alive with illustration? In order to be alive, you need bones, and a heart first. You need a functioning system that is strong, and healthy.
When I start the branding process from scratch, I always begin with a branding strategy. At that stage, we can gain more clarity about brand positioning, your audience, and how to turn those concepts into the marketing action plan.
It helps us to understand: do we really need a website? What budget will we need to develop a full branding experience? What type of company culture will be suitable? The most important question, what problem are we solving for our audience? Sometimes, when there is no problem that needs solving, we need to come back to research and testing the product/service itself.
Once we find the gap between what your business offers and what your audience actually needs, we are ready to bring the personality of your brand alive.
Stylescapes – testing the physical characteristics
When the guts are strong, we can start growing the skin, hair, and other body features. What will be suitable for the shapes of your bones?
Stylescapes, are the first visualizations of your character. Those are just mood boards, that will help us to match the strategy with the visual direction. I love how in this step, you can already see different personalities forming up.
Styescapes are very useful in order to put your strategy to a test with a real audience.
Below, you can see a few of my favorite stylescapes that I did for various businesses. At this stage, logo examples are just collections from other artists and existing brands. The reason for doing so is that maybe my style is not necessarily suitable for all brands and I would like to select the best talent available for illustration and identity design.
Stylescapes always include a color palette, audience profile, possible icons, logos inspirations, textures, shapes, and illustrations styles. Every small detail of design that could bring us closer to building a great personality that your audience will love.
Identity Design – the physical characteristics
The next step is to build a logo. This icon should be memorable, timeless, simple, appropriate, and scalable.
There are three types of a logo that I am designing the most: monogram logos which are built from initials, wordmark (lettermark) that is based on letters, and pictorial or abstract marks (symbols) that are based on an icon or a graphic. You could also have an emblem, mascot, or a combination of both if that is suitable for your brand.
Below you can see a logo that is a combination of a pictorial symbol and a wordmark on the left and a lettermark on the right.
Once we have the logo mark in different variations, we can also pair it with a color palette, typography, and basic elements.
The important part of the identity system is that it should never change! Those are the characteristics that you are born with and you can change them just a little like hair trimming but you should not be making plastic surgery. Pick an identity that you will love and that will stay memorable for your audience.
Illustration System – make your brand alive
Finally, once your new human is born, it is time to dress up and express that personality. We have already written the basics in the strategy and sealed the visual direction with the identity design. Now, we can express it via character, patterns, or detailed more artwork.
In the above poster for Parenting Mental Health, you can see a detailed illustration that we were able to use for printed posters, social media, and patterns. Just from one illustration, we were able to add to the brand character and create the brand visual system.
My style is whimsical inspired by folk and deep deep emotions. That is why it works best for the mental health industry. I am able to illustrate the brightest and darkest complex feelings. If my style is not for you, that is also OK. I work with a selection of experienced artists with different styles and techniques.
What is important is a set of rules on how your illustrations should look. For example, characters or patterns, should they be always moving or should we pick just a face?
I recommend building an illustration system that will be suitable for all your media: website, merchandise, stationery, packaging, and other collateral. Below are a few benefits of the illustration system:
Stand out with your own unique visual language
Tell a story with your brand
Save the cost of new visuals for each medium
Explain complex feelings and concepts
Clarity of your offering
High-quality artwork will build trust and connection with your audience
More engagement with your audience
The basics system should include:
1-4 spot illustrations that will give an overall feeling of your brand, or features of your product/service. Spot illustration is a drawing that works on its own, without a background scene. Those are perfect for website headers, social media banners, posters, merchandise. You can see below an example for Pune Registrations. Here, I worked with another illustrator Kimia Golabgir to bring a more corporate look.
Next to spot illustrations, I always love to add a minimum of 4-10 brand icons. Icons help to visualize features of the brand and they are build based on a simple mark. You can see below an example.
Patterns, small elements, and more
Finally, in the end, I always divide the existing illustrations into patterns and smaller elements that can enhance the look across all the materials. The beauty of illustrations is that you can use them in multiple mediums without too much additional work. We usually apply the illustration system on website design, merchandise, packaging, social media, and editorial design.
Make Your Brand Alive with Illustration
Is your brand alive?
Get in touch if you would like us to help you spice it up.