What is a brand illustration? This question opens the door to a colorful realm where art meets marketing, creating a unique brand identity.

In this guide, we’ll explore how you can use visuals to directly communicate your brand’s ethos into the viewer’s psyche. We’ll also discuss the different kinds of brand illustrations and look at the best examples.

Let’s jump right in! 

Table of Contents

  • What Is a Brand Illustration?
  • Types of Brand Illustrations
  • Tips for Developing a Brand Illustration System
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is a Brand Illustration?

A brand illustration is a visual representation specifically created to convey a brand’s identity, values, and message.

These images, usually digital illustrations, are tailored to fit the brand’s unique characteristics and are used across various media to enhance brand recognition and connect emotionally with the audience.

Visual illustrations play a critical role in communication and learning due to the brain’s predisposition towards processing visual information. 

According to data from eLearning Industry, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, underscoring the immense impact visuals can have on our understanding and retention of information. 

This effectiveness is further highlighted by the fact that the human eye can register 36,000 visual messages every hour.

These statistics illustrate how powerful visuals can be in capturing attention and quickly and effectively conveying complex information. 

For brands, this means that well-crafted illustrations can significantly enhance message clarity and engagement, making them invaluable tools in marketing and education.

Types of Brand Illustrations

Brand illustrations can vary widely in style and application, each serving unique functions across various media platforms. 

Here are some common types of custom illustrations for brands:

Icon Illustrations

These are tiny, simple graphics used to convey information quickly and efficiently. Icons are often used in user interfaces, such as on websites and apps, where space is limited and clarity is crucial. They help users navigate content and understand features with just a glance.

Alongside other brand illustration styles, icon illustrations can also be used for logos. This approach is particularly practical for creating a clear, memorable identity that is easily recognizable and scalable across various mediums. 

Here are a few logos with icon illustrations made by our expert designers here in Penji:

Logos with Icon Illustrations by Penji Designers

Full-Frame Illustrations

These large, detailed images can take up significant space in a layout, such as a full webpage background or a large banner.

Full-frame illustrations are practical for making a solid visual impact and can be used to set the tone or mood of a brand’s website or in advertising campaigns.

Full-Frame Illustrations by Penji Designers

Character Illustrations

These involve depictions of characters that can personify the brand or its customers. Character illustrations are particularly useful in storytelling, helping to create a narrative that viewers can relate to.

Just as they are used in book illustrations, they are also commonly used in marketing materials, social media, and animations.

Character Illustrations by Penji Designers

Infographic Illustrations

Combining data with graphic design, these illustrations make complex information more accessible to understand.

Infographics are ideal for educational content, reports, and presentations, as well as for sharing on social media, where they can significantly increase engagement and information retention.

Infographic Illustrations by Penji Designers

Tips for Developing a Brand Illustration System

Developing a brand illustration system involves several strategic steps to ensure the illustrations effectively represent the brand and resonate with the target audience. 

Here’s how to create a robust brand illustration system:

1. Understanding the Brand

Begin by profoundly understanding the brand’s core values, mission, and personality. This foundational knowledge will guide the aesthetic and thematic elements of the illustrations.

In addition, know the demographics and psychographics of the audience the brand aims to engage. This helps tailor the style and content of the illustrations to appeal directly to this group.

Headspace is one of the best brand illustrations that showcase brand understanding. As a meditation app, the brand’s illustrations are simple and easy to digest, using minimalistic and soothing designs that evoke a sense of calm and focus, which is essential for meditation.

Headspace Brand Illustrations

2. Conceptualization

Hold brainstorming sessions with creative teams to generate ideas that capture the essence of the brand in visual form. To streamline your concept, create mood boards that compile visual inspirations, color schemes, typography, and potential illustration styles that align with the brand’s identity.

In the conceptualization phase of a brand illustration system, Mailchimp provides an exemplary case of aligning design with brand identity. 

Mailchimp’s illustrations are notably quirky and expressive, featuring consistent characters and a warm, playful color palette. These design choices effectively make their technical content more accessible and enjoyable, which is crucial for engaging users who may find email marketing concepts daunting.

Mailchimp Brand Illustrations

3. Creating a Style Guide

Establish a set of rules for using color palettes, typographic details, and illustration styles that will maintain consistency across all brand visuals. Include brand guidelines on how and where the illustrations should be used, covering various media like digital, print, and merchandise.

In creating a style guide for a brand illustration system, Dropbox’s approach to maintaining visual consistency across its diverse applications can be illustrative. 

Dropbox has established a set of rules in its style guide that dictate the use of color palettes, typographic details, and illustration styles. These guidelines ensure that despite the varied applications, the illustrations remain distinctly Dropbox, embodying the brand’s identity in every format.

Dropbox Brand Illustrations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you mean by illustration?

Illustration pertains to a visual representation created to explain, decorate, or visually express ideas, concepts, or narratives. Illustrations are often used in books, magazines, advertisements, and digital media to enhance textual information and engage viewers more effectively.

What is considered an illustration?

An illustration is any artwork created to supplement and visually explain text or media, typically used to clarify concepts, highlight details, or add aesthetic appeal. This includes drawings, paintings, diagrams, and digital art used in various publications and digital media forms.

How to create an illustration style for a brand?

To create an illustration style for a brand, start by understanding its identity, including its values, audience, and market positioning. Develop a style that aligns with this identity, considering factors such as color schemes, line styles, and character designs that will resonate with the target audience. Consistency across all visuals is critical, so establish clear guidelines to ensure that every artwork reinforces the brand’s message.

Interested in professional help to develop your brand’s illustration style? Contact Penji for expert design services tailored to your brand’s needs. 

View a demo and see how our excellent designers can help you express your brand identity through stunning visuals.