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Custom Illustrations: How To Use Them In Marketing + Examples

Communicating through illustration is not a new concept. In fact, long before we had languages, cavemen drew illustrations on walls to document important events.

And then if you jump ahead a bit we had comics and caricatures adorning the pages of newspapers. 

So, the concept of illustration isn’t new to us. Just that digital illustration has expanded the scope. And we now have several new styles that evoke different emotions. 

That’s why brands that are continuously on the lookout for ways to make a deeper connection with their audience actively incorporate illustrations into their marketing. And these are the ones that make waves and stand out in a competitive space. 

Do you want your brand to march ahead and emerge ahead of your competition? It’s time to give custom illustrations a shot. In this blog, we’ll talk about the many ways in which your brand can benefit from incorporating custom illustrations in your marketing.

6 benefits that make the case for custom illustrations in marketing 

Illustrations are unique. They are attractive. And so different from the usual images that people see on their social media feeds and even on websites. So, using illustrations sets your brand apart. With illustrations you can create a unique style for your brand. And you can connect with your audience on so many levels. 

Below are some of the benefits any brand can reap by adding custom illustrations to their marketing plan.

1. Create brand awareness 

Not all customers instantly understand what products or services you offer. Good marketing simplifies your brand for your customers to know you better. 

For example, “self-care” includes a broad spectrum of things. It is hard to get people to imagine what self-care feels like. So, an illustration can help. Like the one below.

Illustrated by Kimp

This illustration helps you instantly visualize what self-care feels like. And that’s how it grabs the audience’s attention. 

Your marketing visuals shouldn’t be designed just so that your customers see them and appreciate their aesthetics. They also need to inspire responses to them and help an audience visualize and feel certain emotions upon looking at them. That’s when you’ve made a true impact. This will be the best way to work on your brand awareness.

Kimp Tip: To break things down for your customers, you can explain your services or products in the form of an animated illustration. Adding videos increases the conversion rates of landing pages by 86%

Looking for animated illustrations for your landing page? Get a Kimp Graphics unlimited design subscription to get your illustrations done and a Kimp Video subscription to experiment with animating your illustrations.

2. Add more character to your brand or campaigns 

In every industry, there are many businesses but only a few emerge as recognized brands. These are the ones that have a strong personality. And the marketing strategies adopted by these brands ensure that these strong personalities are reflected in their marketing copy and visuals. 

Illustrations help add character to your brand. Or even a campaign you wish to promote. This is one of the best ways to tackle competition. 

This is because it is easy to set a visual style for your brand incorporating all your brand colors and other design elements that are part of your style guide. And this can be tough to achieve with stock visuals. Finding relevant stock visuals that look consistent is not easy. 

By defining the visual style you are adding more depth to your brand’s persona. For example, the below image is enough to show that the business is no ordinary donut store. Illustrations let you create marketing visuals, logos, and even shop signages that align with the ambiance you set in your store.

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Illustrated by Kimp

You can use this idea to create campaigns that drive sales and boost customer engagement. When you come up with a particular style of illustration or even an illustrated character for the campaign, you can use this across your promotional materials. Both on print and digital media.

So, you can regularly post updates about the campaign on social media without disrupting your regular promotional activities. The illustrations will act like a template here and make your customers instantly recognize that it is a post about a particular campaign from your brand.

3. Uncomplicate complicated concepts 

In the form of blogs or through social media posts, brands share informative content. That’s because most people browse the internet when they need answers. In fact, 65% of people who watch YouTube look for videos that help them fix something. And 33% of people read blogs when they want to learn something new. 

So, how-to videos in your niche and informative blogs significantly boost your website traffic. It’s not just that. By consistently providing information that adds value to your audience you emerge as a reliable source, an industry expert they come to for opinions and answers. And this level of trust can be beneficial for your long-term brand image. 

With all that said, we would like to emphasize the role played by illustration in these two content types. When you want people to understand instructions, by combining illustrations and text you multiply the effectiveness by a whopping 323%. 

You can use illustrations to design how-to videos without expanding your budget for expensive video shoots. And for blogs that explain concepts in detail, illustrations will ensure that visual learners still get the essence of the blog. 

Kimp Tip: Articles with images get nearly 94% more views than those without. So, most marketers who use blogs as key drivers in their marketing strategy incorporate visuals that make the posts interactive. Stock photos are great. But if you want your blog to stand out, custom illustrations are more effective. 

Need help in branding your blog? You can choose a blog logo design, social media images to promote your blog, and blog images as a part of the unlimited Kimp Graphics subscription.

4. Illustrations help create memorable ads

Creating an ad that looks good is not enough. You need ads that evoke the right emotions and thus get people to respond. And you need ads that leave a lasting impression on your customers so they will remember your brand and instantly recall it at the right cues. 

Illustrations help achieve this. A German hat company, Hut Weber, made headlines with its print ad. Just take a look at it below to see why.

Do you think a simple stock image would have been able to create this impact? These are visually memorable designs that get people talking about your brand. The best part about digital illustration is that you can create any design from scratch. Even the most complicated ideas have multiple layers of meaning.

We’ll give you one more example. 

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Source: Trend Hunter

This is an award-winning ad from Penguin for its audiobooks campaign. There were a bunch of ads in this campaign featuring famous authors illustrated to form the shape of headphones. 

The above illustration conveys the concept that listening to audiobooks with Penguin will be like experiencing your favorite author whispering into your ears. Explaining that will have taken a lot of words. And the effect might not have been the same either. But illustration made it so much simpler. 

5. Branding through storytelling 

Whether you want to highlight the purpose of a particular campaign or talk about what your brand stands for, storytelling makes things much simpler. And we all know well that illustrations make any story more engaging. So, as a brand, if you want to grab eyeballs, try incorporating custom illustrations.

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Illustrated by Kimp

With illustrations like the one above, you can create a series of connected designs. These go well on packaging designs and social media posts. It helps in creating continuity between your posts on social media. 

Or you can even show the difference or relationship between the different product lines you offer when you incorporate a series of illustrations into packaging designs. Either way, you give customers something to look forward to. And engagement is everything.

6. Align your designs with your customer persona 

Marketing is not just about creatives that reflect your brand’s ideas and personality. It is also about creating content that your target audience will find to be relatable. This is another place where brands struggle when they are working with stock images.

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Illustrated by Kimp

When you know your audience well, you know the kind of visual cues that trigger different reactions in them. But what is the likelihood of finding a stock image that meets your expectation? Pretty less. And when you do find a few, the chances of these images not being used by your competitor are even less. A custom illustration can save you there. 

Brands experience this, even more, when they have unique niche audiences. Say, your target audience includes women in business, who are in the age group of 20-40. You want to work on a blog or introduce a service. And you need an image with the said age group of women sitting in a boardroom. With such tight requirements, illustrations are your best bet. 

With so many possibilities to explore, are you curious about using illustrations to give your marketing approach a new dimension? Well in the next section we’ll take a look at some examples,talk about the illustration styles in these designs and how to use them for your brand. 

Examples of illustrations and where to use them

In traditional illustrations, there are styles like lithography, watercolor illustrations, and more. And in the world of digital illustrations, you will find anime illustrations, cartoon styles, line art, low poly art, and a host of other styles being used. Each has its own significance and so you can choose one based on your brand’s visual style and the emotions you’re trying to inspire with your campaign.

Below are a few marketing illustrations for brands from various industries. 

1. Low poly art style for a unique touch
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Illustrated by Kimp

The low poly art illustration style, as in the above image, makes it possible to create an impact through stunning portraits. This concept can also be extrapolated to designs with more than one subject in the image or even to a whole scene. 

While this one carries the enigma of abstract style, the subject in focus can be easily distinguished. You maintain the depth and details in an image without making it look like a traditional skeuomorphic (three-dimensional) design. This is a good one to experiment with in album covers, podcast cover art, display images for social media pages, and a whole lot of other spaces in personal branding.

2. The timelessness in line drawing styles
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Illustrated by Kimp

The line art style is one of the simplest and it’s known for its versatility. Whenever you want to make the maximum impact in a minimum space, line art works well. 

You can use this style to design anything from a simple and clean symbol for a logo to icons for your landing pages, business card designs, or even elaborate animations that stand out on social media. 

Even popular brands like Etsy use line art illustrations in several places to make the user experience more interactive. Here is a snapshot from the Etsy website so you can take a look for yourself.

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Source: Etsy
3. Statement graffiti styles 
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Illustrated by Kimp

Graffiti style illustrated designs like the one above can make a bold statement. Lots of colors and a whole lot of energy, this is a very distinct style that not many brands use. Young brands that want to create an eclectic style for their visual identity will find this to be a great choice. 

4. Traditional custom illustrations for social media and more 
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Illustrated by Kimp

If you want to keep things simple and easy to understand, a traditional and playful illustration like the one above will be your go-to choice. 

You will find illustrations like this one in social media posts, packaging labels, websites, and even on flyers and other promotional materials. You can use them in your email designs to make them more interactive. Or you can also use them on your website to simplify navigation through the content. 

All the characters and elements that capture the scene you wish to recreate can be put together in a single frame in colors that resonate with your brand. 

5. Adding texture to your illustrations 
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Illustrated by Kimp

Other than traditional vector illustrations you might also find brands using granular gradient effects like the one in the above image. This one resembles Mezzotint’s art style and has a subtle nostalgic effect to it. 

Texture gradients add a little character to the illustration and make your designs look unique. Again, these can be used in web designs and social media designs including ads and posts. 

6. A mascot to carry your brand forward
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Illustrated by Kimp

Leverage the power of illustrations in marketing by choosing Kimp Graphics 

As you can see, illustrations come in so many styles. And each has its own unique vibe .So you have to choose the combinations that will resonate with your audience. Or all the hard work that goes into planning the whole design will be wasted. 

Be sure to understand what kind of theme or mood you want for your campaign. Make sure that this theme also stays on-brand. And once you know what style will suit your brand best, your possibilities are endless. 

Need a hand getting illustrations done? Custom illustration is a part of every Kimp Graphics subscription. You have the freedom to choose your style and have designs created from scratch for your brand. To experiment with unlimited graphic design services before you choose your subscription, sign up for a free trial today.