When Tech Brands Get Illustration Right
Tech brands have gotten on the illustration bandwagon, and the result is a stronger brand presence
Think of all the places you’ve encountered illustration. Images of graphic New Yorker covers, whimsical children’s books, or artisanal liquor labels might come to mind. In recent years, you may have noticed that technology brands have joined the game, adopting illustration as part of their visual identity.
A few key players — Dropbox, Mailchimp, Salesforce — have dared to venture out from the ordinary. They believed that a brand didn’t have to be dry to prove its credibility. They didn’t want to limit themselves to technical infographics, lifeless icons, and generic stock photos. Instead, they knew that in order to connect with people, tech needs to be approachable, with fun characters and illustrative narratives. And it worked. Now, it’s not uncommon for you to find happy creatures and silly drawings when you open up an app. Recently, I burst into laughter when a unicorn flew across my screen after I had checked off a to-do item in Asana.
So why have tech brands turned to illustration? Well, in an industry that’s all about cold productivity and robotic efficiency, illustration offers a warm, human touch. Its expressive nature gives personality to a brand. As a user interacts with this personality, they develop a trusting relationship with the brand. When it comes to communicating complex concepts like blockchain, the cloud, or omnichannel, illustration engages the power of visual metaphors to transform abstract ideas into tangible forms, communicating more effectively than the typical stock photos of people on devices. Illustration is a powerful communication tool that can create a strong connection with an audience, build brand loyalty, and, ultimately, be a differentiator.
However, with the recent widespread use of illustrations in tech, there’s a differentiation plateau because everyone’s starting to do the same thing. Online creative marketplaces like Freepik and creative galleries like Dribbble also fuel this homogeneous aesthetic. The…