Illustration and Graphic Design
In today’s vast digital ecosystem, it sometimes feels like graphic design has become predictable, bordering on impersonal. The mass consumption of digital content across endless platforms and multiple audiences can often dilute the essence of good design.
So, how can we counter this, and present a visual message in a way that feels unique and special? Two words – hand illustration. Going back to basics by creating hand-drawn, bespoke illustrative elements adds that personal touch, enhancing a brand’s identity and helping it to stand out from the crowd.
In addition, hand-drawn illustrations offer greater flexibility than run-of-the-mill digital elements, as they can be easy to tweak and tailor within the overall aesthetic. This enables the designer to take a more malleable approach, tweaking the elements, rather than adding, deleting, and replacing generic assets.
Hand-drawn illustrations can also have an enduring quality due to their unique nature and invoke a lasting bond between brand and audience.
A couple of clients recently took this approach with their graphic design projects, and they were delighted with the response to their respective campaigns.
Firstly, we worked with MACS NI to create a vibrant Annual Report publication. This established local charity is dedicated to helping children and young people, with bases in different areas of Northern Ireland. To enliven each page of the digitally designed report, we hand sketched famous landmarks such as Queen’s University and Cave Hill in Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, Newry Aqueduct and Downpatrick Cathedral. We then incorporated these elements into a broader aesthetic using carefully considered stock photography and fun fonts. The final design was bursting with colour and made a real impact with the charity’s established audience.
Similarly, the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland trusted us to create a feature hand illustration as the mast head for Men’s Health Week 2023.
The drawing featured three men of varying ages, ethnicities and sexualities, challenging men, and boys across the island of Ireland to create their own ‘picture of health’.
Again, the hand-illustrated approach was a huge success, with MHFI reporting their most successful public facing campaign to date.
If you’d like to consider the merits of hand illustration within your next graphic design project, feel free to contact us for a chat.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that graphic design work should not be predictable or exist simply to serve a purpose.