Illustration in web design

There’s a lot that goes into good web design — from user experience, typography choices, to layout, and more. The use of illustration is also an incredibly effective way to engage your visitors and add a human touch to their overall experience.

The illustration can turn an average website into something really unique, it’s a powerful and creative medium that can identify and communicate the brand message and transmit ideas universally, through the use of just one image. Illustration is a vibrant and varied form of visual communication. As a design discipline, it merges the message clarity of graphic design and the expressive capacity of fine arts.

Illustration in web design

Illustrations help a lot with making a site memorable because, with an eye-catching graphic scene or vector artwork, the page jumps out and has a visual element that’s unique just to that site. When visitors fall into the site, it can leave a lasting impact. Visitors will remember your website. The recent influx of brands using illustration online is one of the best things to happen to the web in a long time. In the recent age of illustration flourishing in the tech industry, we have examples from  Airbnb, Mailchimp, Dropbox, and WeTransfer that showcase work from different designers and artists as a way of making the waiting process more pleasant for the user and to communicate emotions and brand values.

Illustrations need not be very complex and full of details to please the visitors. A simple and consistent illustration with a unique story idea can also be very impactful. A freelance web designer, Denise Chandler believes that in ‘a sea of ordinary’, your website needs to stand apart from the competition. And she’s applied the same logic to her own one-page website, which harnesses this rather fabulous, animated illustration of octopus tentacles to add some unexpected visual interest and showcase her creative personality.

The main goal of illustration is to portray the nature of business and create a representation that is not just strong but also engrossing. Doudou Blues is a Christmas story for children, featuring the adventures of characters from a well-known French song. The thoughtfully art-directed website for the project is quite charming, taking Scott Pennor’s beautiful illustrations and combining them with a children’s book-style layout and gorgeous typography to create an alluring aesthetic that’s far more than the sum of its parts.

Illustration has evolved imitating traditional drawing and painting techniques and replicating its mediums and materials like a collage or different shading, passing through many stages between the figurative and the abstract.

Numerous techniques, unique to the medium of digital, have emerged including vector illustration with flat colours and gradients and 3D illustrations with infinite varieties of styles all the way from Low Poly illustration up to the most incredible realistic render. Thanks to SVG we can incorporate into our projects dynamic interactive illustrated elements. We can animate vector illustrations, not just with CSS or Javascript, but using WebGL we can explore new forms of 3D expression rendering dynamic environments with cartoon styles, low poly models, and flat shading.

Free Journal Notebook Mockup

Despite the positives, there are problems. At its core, an illustration is a storytelling tool, but as its popularity increases, it veers toward the obligatory. We have a website, therefore we must have illustrations.

Lacking strategic vision, illustration is ornamentation, the antithesis of originality. The story is discarded, imagination abandoned. Individual websites lose distinction, and all the illustrated products and services blend together. Today’s demand for visual content has robbed much of the contemporary web illustration’s elucidating powers.

In the end, I would say illustration is here to stay. Its communicative powers are too persuasive to be discarded. Illustrations captivate viewers with a unique point of view—stylistically and conceptually. They don’t have to be complex, photo-realistic, or bursting with color to be noticed, but they do need to illuminate something interesting about their subjects in ways that words, photos, and diagrams can’t.