A lot decisions go into creating a brands voice, and the choice between illustration and photographic can make a huge impact on a brands message. So how do you choose?
Here’s a few things you should consider when trying to make the choice.
Does Your Brand Sell Products?
While it’s not always the case, most retail brands utilize photography. This is because customers want to see what they are buying. Imagine a customer is thinking about purchasing a new pair of shoes from your website, but it’s filled with illustrations. A customer might be a little confused why your products aren’t taking center stage within your branding. While it may not have been the intent, this tells the customer that you probably don’t want people looking closely at your products, and in turn, giving off the impression that you must not have high quality goods. As a result, they take their business elsewhere. That’s not exactly something that’s going help your sales.
Check of a few product based brands that fill their website with images of their goods:
Pottery Barn: https://www.potterybarn.com/
If you are selling consumer goods, it’s safe to say you should be featuring those goods as your main art source within your branding. It’s always important to make your key selling point is the star of the show.
Does Your Brand Provide a Service?
Selling a service is completely different story. Brands that provide technology-based services often use illustrations to supplement their branding because it gives them the ability to demonstrate more complex processes and explain their services. In short, some services just need more explanation than a photo can provide.
Here’s some examples:
Many Pixels: https://www.manypixels.co/
Other services might need more tangible imagery to show what a customer might be getting. Services like housecleaners and contractors that produce more physical products, would probably want to use of images to show the outcome of their services.
What’s the Tone of your Brand?
When trying to decide which is right for you it’s also important to distinguish your brand’s tone.
Does your brand lean towards a more playful, light-hearted voice? Or is it more corporate, professional? Images can set a more professional tone, while illustrations can add some personality to your brand. Illustrations could mean using character to personify your brand like Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/) or Servin. https://soverin.net/. Or they can be simple graphic elements to add some color or explain concepts (https://www.dropbox.com/basic).
However, there are many brands that can benefit from the use of BOTH illustration and photography. While you may want to use images, you can also supplement those photos with splashed of illustrations like icon, and playful graphics on top of or in place of images.
Take, for example, the way Slack’s feature page uses images of their products along with icons, and graphic headers to help separate the text, and break-up the information (https://slack.com/features).
Here are a few other websites that can be found mixing up their use of imagery:
Teleon Health: https://teleonhealth.com/
At the end of the day, the choice depends on the message of your brand. Want to use illustrations? Go for it. Need to give off a more serious tone? Try images.Want a to err on the more playful side? Mix it up and use a little of both!It’s not an exact science. Stick with what feels most true to how you want people to see your brand.
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