February 17, 2022

What Are Illustration Systems and Why They Are Important

Illustration Systems

Illustration systems play an integral part of a brand identity, they are the cornerstone for branding design. Learn why…

When was the last time you recalled a brand? 

When you were doing something else or thinking about a totally different thing and you remembered it because finally, it made sense. That was the perfect time for you because you found a need for it. You understood better what it meant, what that product was all about, what that service offers, what that content was explaining about? Maybe it’s because of the striking colors, the bold texts, the minimalist style, perhaps illustrative visuals? That snap of a second was the proof that branding indirectly sold it to you. And it’s only a matter of time when that moment will affect your buying decision of that product or acquisition of that service.

What’s common on billboards, print ads, website interfaces, or apps? Whether it is social media, a website, or UI for an app? They all rely on the power of visual elements to convey a message and capture your attention as the potential consumer and user.

It’s insanely obvious that almost every industry heavily relies on logos, fonts, and taglines to stand out and stay. 

But really, it’s branding that keeps these elements, everything tied together. And illustration systems play an integral part of a brand identity, they are the cornerstone for branding design.

​​What is an illustration system?

Illustration systems are basically a set of standards & guidelines that includes distinct design elements following your company’s or business’ brand’s style guide or branding guidelines. They are a set of illustrations vital in solidifying and showcasing a brand’s image consistently, especially in applications like a marketing campaign and promotion. 

Although the term illustration system is fairly new to most, it is increasingly becoming popular as it is commonly adopted and used in the design sphere and its always evolving nature. 

Don't you know that, whether it is social media content or a webpage, illustration systems are becoming a basis for good branding nowadays?

Illustration is an important piece of a large puzzle of online and marketing endeavors. Rather than single-use designs or photographed images, intentional digital graphics and illustrative examples translate well distinctively into the perceptions of the end-user. These online illustrations are being used as part of comprehensive visual presentations. 

Here are just some of the examples of illustration systems that brands can use to enhance their visual presentations both offline and online:

  • People working Illustration System
  • E-commerce Illustrations & Icons Kit
  • Small Business & Artists Illustrations

Each system is made up of a variety of cohesive components. These can include anything from colorful and minimal objects, fun to serious characters, office setup or outdoor and a little bit of each. Depending on the overall look you want your brand to be seen as. 

Who uses illustration systems?

It's not just small companies or young startups who are turning towards illustration systems. Some of the biggest brand names in the industry have illustration systems to thank for their success. Some companies using illustration systems are Mailchimp, Notion, Lyft, Dropbox, and many others make up the seemingly endless list of companies that use a system of doodles. Companies invest in these digital assets to help users grasp concepts quickly.

Because they believe that Illustrations are one of the main keys to gaining trust within a user base, and the savviest of brands know that a dynamic set of doodles is a surefire way to stick into the hearts and minds of customers.

For example, instead of the robotic '404 error' message, a company can use a dynamic set of characters and figures to artistically illustrate the error that occurred, otherwise it’s a boring and plain number displayed on the screen.

Who else are the stakeholders of illustration systems? It could be you as a designer.

For example, you’re not the only one working anymore, your team is growing. There are multiple people in collaboration building up your company, the design team, and the marketing department, both need to work together better than ever. 

The need now is to collect your brand’s design resources, design guidelines and weave both departments who would need to improve the company’s branding identity through separate efforts. What do you do? How do you find a solution to effectively communicate and relay the messages through illustrations to keep branding consistency?

Fortunately, there’s a new shared language that has evolved from this need and bridges the gap between designers and stakeholders within a company. It’s adapting illustration systems and collectively using them for branding illustrations consistently and effectively. 

It's not easy having multiple pairs of hands trying to illustrate or draw while following a certain illustration style of a brand. Setting certain rules which in this case is creating illustration systems may seem like a limitation, but in fact, will improve the team’s agility and productivity as the system is adapted. The illustration system is proven even more effective, especially knowing that brands need to constantly evolve. It's liberating how illustration systems remove the need to constantly worry about inconsistencies.

Why are illustration systems important? 

Illustration Systems Keep Brand Consistency

​​In this new world of online content, products, and technology, companies easily thrive or slowly die by their brand image. A brand identity defines the company’s image, message, and values which is very fundamental and sets the foundation of a company’s success. And “consistency is key”, investing in illustrations and incorporating illustration systems will aid in keeping the brand solid, ensure user attachment and fix value associations to your brand.

A study shows that recall and brand recognition have a positive relation to actual purchase

It takes up to 5- 7 impressions for people to remember a product or brand. Color contributes up to 80% to brand recognition. Revenue increases by up to 23% when the brand presentation is consistent across all platforms.

Imagine the growth factor the brand identity can contribute to skyrocketing your business’s success.

It’s planting a seed of recall in the minds of each user. Users or consumers should connect and instantly recognize your brand through illustrations across different media until your brand becomes a household name.  

Let’s be honest, it was just a few days ago that illustration explaining ‘How to Use” an app you downloaded, or visual steps on following a recipe, of finding out how delivery systems of a product you were looking into was clearly felt at ease because we clearly figured it out. In this fast-paced world, we need to keep up in sending out information fast enough to digest it. And illustration systems help a lot in both senses.

How to create an illustration system?

You already have your brand guide by now, so it is particularly important to follow those.

Start making illustration guidelines based on that. Choose a specific style of illustration. It is given that these illustrations are going to constantly evolve with your brand, so make sure to describe the elements and define the rules.

The idea of inconsistency would be partly solved at this point. So, the concept is to create illustrative modules that will allow other members of the design team to incorporate the illustrations without generating a lot of questions. The concept is to provide illustrative modules, like puzzles that could easily fit each other when composing sets and different scenarios.

You can get as close to a 20-30 page document of these elements, including the main colors, the strokes, pattern, human figures, objects, backgrounds, documented and defined in this written and visual brand guide.

Most of the time, illustrations are completely customizable, giving anyone complete creative control over their projects. And a great creative and accessible tool for any team member, designer and stakeholders. A custom business illustration is a good opportunity to introduce and create a unique and notice-worthy company image.

Brands have been getting a lot of criticism recently for "looking the same" like other companies. It's a definite advantage to own a growing library of illustrations for your brand. Yes, it is a building commitment, and creating illustrative materials for visual display isn’t easy but adapting illustration systems makes this possible.

It's your turn…

The possibilities of how illustration systems and brand guides are utilized is endless, hence its growing importance of illustration systems in delivering solid brand contents. 

Now, are you ready to create some magic? using illustration systems! Squeeze out those creative juices and get started by putting together the next thing that will boost your brand's existence, with carefully crafted illustrations by our incredible line of artists. 

Learn more about illustration systems and how effective they are in branding.