Everything You Need to Know About Illustration Systems

Whether it is social media content or a webpage, illustration systems are becoming a central part of a brand identity.

Jay Perlman

Think back to the last time you were driving down a highway and saw a billboard that grabbed your attention. What was it that caught your eye? Chances are it was a slick design that made your gaze linger on this roadside advertisement.

Now, conjure up the most recent app you downloaded. Did this app have a blank interface with just words and HTML jargon? Of course they didn't, you silly goose! This app was probably full of bright colors, topical illustrations, and doodles galore.

illustrations on app

So, what in the world do billboards and a colorful user interface have in common? They both rely on the power of visual elements to convey a message to the outside world.

Of course, it may seem extraordinarily obvious that companies from nearly every industry rely heavily upon logos, designs, fonts, and artistic renditions to capture the hearts of potential users, but what should be shocking is how insanely important branding has become for a company's mission.

Darwinian principles are basically showing us that a pig has a better chance at flying than a brand with no visual identity has at being successful.

It's because of this that illustration systems are a cornerstone for product design. Whether it is social media, a website, or UI for an app, illustration systems are a central part of a brand identity.

What is an illustration system?

Delighted you asked!

An illustration system is a standard that a company, business, or individual uses to build and adapt a visual message. Brand designer Adam Ho describes an illustration system as, "a set of guidelines that enable the creation of artwork in a certain style".

In the simplest of terms, illustration systems are a brand's image. It is how people will view a brand across any visual medium that they as a user interact with. From the color palette to the abstract doodles, someone should be able to quickly and easily identify a brand's illustration system.

illustration system design

Allura, Tutto Ricco, Miroodles, and Fresh Folk are all examples of illustration systems that brands can use to enhance their visual presence both offline and online.

Each system is made up of a variety of components. These can include anything from scenes, characters, objects, and even› pink puppies!

For example, instead of the robotic '404 error' message, a company can use a dynamic set of characters to artistically illustrate this otherwise annoying glitch in a webpage. Or how Lantern Credit uses Blush systems to spruce up their blog, and give life to their important content.

The possibilities of how these systems can be used are nearly endless, hence the growing importance they are playing in delivering brand content.

Who uses illustration systems?

Just like a sports team, a design department sometimes needs a playbook to achieve their goals. Illustration systems serve as this set of instructions that keeps the message cohesive.

But let's not forget that not every wonderful "teammate" is a designer! Illustration systems allow stakeholders to be a part of the design process too. Rather than having to pester a designer with requests for original artwork, stakeholders can use these systems to communicate their thoughts in a smoother, more understandable fashion.

Let's look at Robyn Kanner; she's the Creative Director behind the ground-breaking Joe Biden campaign.

Robyn works directly with visual mediums, and to put it lightly, the stakes in her line of work are high. Her team has to be on point to the max with their projects, and being swift and speedy with a workflow is a must.

Knowing what it takes to work together and create something powerful within a quick time frame,  Robyn uses Blush to enhance the campaign's illustration system. The workflow became fluid, the message was extremely effective, and their web, social, and ads were brimming with what are now historical doodles!

illustration system biden
Joe Biden's campaign illustration system.

This is just one example, but thousands of companies are turning towards the help of illustration systems to connect with their customers. Plus, those stakeholders we mentioned previously, whether they are in product design, marketing, Carol from HR, or engineering, illustration systems like the ones on Blush can make designing super simple, fun and will definitely save you a lot of time!

Illustration is the most versatile branding tool

It's not just small companies or young startups who are turning towards illustration systems. Some of the biggest brand names in the industry have illustration systems to thank for their success.

Take YouTube as a prime example. They help millions of users become familiar with the brand with the help of bright colorful doodles. Their onboarding process is sometimes even more illustrative than verbal, which helps users grasp concepts in a quick and pleasant way.

Perhaps even more obvious is Redbull. The catchy commercials featuring hand-drawn characters with flimsy little wings are an illustration system that launched an energy drink into a global commodity known by nearly everyone and their grandmother.

Mailchimp, Notion, Lyft, Dropbox, and many others make up the seemingly endless list of companies that use a system of doodles. Illustrations are one of the main keys to gaining trust within a user base, and the savviest of brands know that a dynamic set of doodles is a surefire way to stick into the hearts and minds of customers.

brand illustrations
Dropbox and Notion illustration systems.

So what is Blush all about?

If you're Clark Kent, Blush is the super-hero cape to your design skills: Blush helps unlock artistic powers and take your designs to the next level.

How? Well first off, Blush has tons of free illustration collections that are made by some of the most talented artists in the world. What's even better is that Blush illustrations are completely customizable, giving anyone complete creative control over their projects.

blush illustrations free tool
Get tons of illustration options with just one click using the Blush plugin!

From choosing a dope home scene, to picking a suave doodle hairdo for your characters, Blush makes you the master of your creative projects.

Basically, if your design skills are anywhere between a 0 to 10-out-of-ten, Blush takes those skills up to 11.

Workflows become quicker, visual presence becomes stronger, and brands can turn their mission into a beautiful message across their webpages, social media, company coasters, and anything else that can benefit from a system of dynamic doodles.

It's your turn

We KNOW you are ready to create some magic with illustration systems!

Get your creative ball rolling with our doodles that have been carefully created by incredible artists around the world or read our latest blog on 10 customizable illustrations for your projects.

Did we miss an important detail about illustration systems? Don't be shy and let us know! Send us a tweet @blushdesignapp.