Illustration can turn something mediocre into something special; something that identifies and communicates the brand message. It has the power to seduce onlookers, ignite emotion and immerse people in the brand. I don’t want to refer to it as a trend, as I believe there’s always room for illustration with any brand.

There are a lot of huge brands currently collaborating with illustrators to give their brand a more engaging edge. Sure, it’s nothing new to editorial work – Esra Roise’s work has been gracing Vogue’s pages for some time now. But, if we look a little deeper, its appeal is pushing towards the more unexpected.

For example, Molly Jacques’ collaborations with brands such as Nike and Weight Watchers aren’t obvious choices. It not only shows a pretty insane achievement for her personally, but also how the most unlikely collabs can be successful. Check out the ‘Nike Chasing Highs Retail Film’ below.

Pretty cool mix of type, animation and illustration.

Another collab I like to rave about is Zoe More O’Ferrall and Propercorn. Propercorn is one of the newest health snacks to make it to our shelves. With its fresh and playful packaging design, it’s made one hell of an impression. The company has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 2011. I can’t help but feel this was down to things being ‘done properly’ at the start. Zoe’s illustration mixed with a flamboyant colour palette allows the packaging to stand out on-shelf. It is unique yet cohesive; it not only brought this brand to life, but arguably also brought a great deal of success for the company. The combination of an awesome idea, great product and talented illustrator= leading health food snack (in this case anyway).

Propercorn using illustrations in their branding

Some perhaps view illustration as idiosyncratic, but I believe it is just as expressive as well-placed typography and image. It is another means to communicate the message. I often find it easier to visually communicate; picking up a pencil is the simplest way for me to get down the ideas I’m cooking up in my head. I can see why ‘pre-chewed’ stock art fits the bill in this post-modern, content-hungry world. But combine a brand with authenticity, integrity and the right illustration, and you’re onto a winner. Good design improves illustration and a solid ability to draw and illustrate will always improve design.

For anyone who knows me well, they’ll know I dabble in illustration in my spare time for fun. I’m currently in the process of building my portfolio, so watch this space.

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