5 Ways Illustrations Help with Branding

There's a reason why the biggest businesses in the world use illustrations for branding. Check out these five ways doodles can help your brand!

Jay Perlman

When you read the word "Coca-Cola", what pops into your mind?

Is it an hourglass-shaped bottle? Or distinct cursive lettering? Maybe a signature blend of red and white?

Most likely it's all of these things because Coca-Cola has mastered the art of branding. But apart from a signature taste, distinct colors, and a one-of-a-kind bottle that has defined a beverage industry, there's a huge range of branding techniques that companies like Coca-Cola use to attract customers.

There's one branding tool, in particular, that's been growing in popularity: illustrations.

Coca-cola advertisement with using illustration.
B.B. King commemorative Coca-Cola illustration

Before diving into why customizable illustrations are an awesome strategy for making a brand stand out, let's rewind a bit and discuss exactly what branding is.

Branding 101: The Basics

With any business, whether personal or a huge multinational, having a strong brand is essential for success. But what is a brand?

A brand is the entire experience of a company. More specifically, all physical and non-physical aspects of a company that shapes the viewer's perception of the business.

Here's how Amazon founder Jeff Bezos described it, "Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."

Doodles of graphs, calendars, and a skateboarder

The elements of a brand dictate the personality of the company while describing what the business does. In other words, branding tells the company story through customer interactions.

To get a clearer picture, here are some examples of brand elements that businesses will focus on:

  • Slogan
  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Color combinations
  • Mascots
  • Touchpoints
  • Font
  • Ambassadors

Based on the above examples, a lot of branding is visual. Being pleasing to the consumer's eye is crucial for successful branding campaigns, and that is where doodles come to the rescue!

How Illustrations Improve Branding

Every company wants to tell a unique story that differentiates themselves from their competition. Of course, there's no surefire way to guarantee a customer chooses one brand over another, but customizable illustrations are an effective way for a business to capture the loyalty of users by making a memorable impression.

Pebble People illustrations

There's no real limit to how a business can use illustrations, but here are five awesome ways that illustrations can help a company improve its branding.

1. Illustrations establish identity & tone

One of the first steps in branding a company is establishing identity and tone. Without these, how can a customer know what the business stands for?

Illustrations are an excellent way to establish a company tone and identity in the mind of users. Take Mailchimp for example:

Mailchamp landing page.
An example of Mailchimp branding.

Blended with some quality copy, this illustration highlights a growth mindset. Plus, an abstract but cute character with open arms communicates to users that Mailchimp is a friendly service that's ready to help.

Doodles create a visual representation of the business's personality, which helps existing and potential customers establish the voice and likeness that go along with the visual representation of the brand.

2. Illustrations are awesome for touchpoints

Touchpoints are moments of contact between a business and its customers or user. In other words, they are the interactions that happen between a customer and a brand. Touchpoints happen in both the physical and digital realms, and they can be the key to successful branding.

Here are a few examples of common touchpoints:

  • Social media
  • Business cards
  • Packaging (all types)
  • Online advertisements
  • Customer onboarding
  • Thank you cards
  • Customer support channels
  • Print campaigns
  • Company websites

Regardless if it's a physical or digital product, most businesses will have a long list of touchpoints to consider when creating branding campaigns.

Since these interactions can be pivotal for winning over customers, touchpoints should add delight to the user experience. From a psychological perspective, a package, digital ad, or any visual interaction is going to be more memorable with the right set of doodles in place of a boring alternative. Have a look at Amalaia's packaging below to get an idea:

Packaging using doodles for branding purposes.

The cool blue patterns and geometric shapes make these physical touchpoints distinct and inviting. Customers are likely to remember a brand that has visually stimulating interactions over a bland competitor.

3. Illustrations are easy to understand

Branding is generally more effective if the message is quickly understood, and illustrations are remarkably useful at simplifying ideas. In other words,  doodles cut out the need for lengthy and wordy explanations, making the brand voice concise and easy to process.

Slack has tons of great examples of making its message clear with the help of illustrations.

Work from home conceptual illustrations
Slack crushing their branding with illustrations

This composition neatly defines a complex message that takes just a fraction of a second to process. Imagine trying to brand this same concept with human models or copy; it would probably take a great deal more effort and time to convey the same message!

4. Illustrations are versatile

A huge bonus with doodles is that they're easy to edit. Illustrations can be designed in a way that fits the message and voice of a brand, and if a composition isn't quite right, it doesn't take a huge effort to make it perfect.

When working with a variety of elements and touchpoints, editable illustrations improve workflow and cut down on cost. Additionally, they can be used on nearly all branding material.

The versatility doesn't end with editing: illustrations also come in a variety of styles, so branding with doodles isn't limited to a certain look. Here are a few examples of styles that a company can choose for branding:

  • Hand drawn
  • Flat
  • Avatars
  • Abstract
  • Outline
Different illustration styles: hand drawn, flat, avatars, abstract, outlines

After choosing a style, it's just a matter of deciding how and where to use them.

To get the full picture, think back to the example about using human models for branding material. What if the model has an expression that isn't quite right? Or they're wearing a color that isn't ideal for a campaign? Changing these details requires a lengthy – and most likely expensive – process, whereas a doodle can have a complete makeover in just a few clicks!

5. Illustrations are universal

There is no language needed to understand doodles. Branding that uses illustrations can reach an audience that spans the globe.

Hands illustrations

Also, it's important to consider that text and copy often need be to be translated to reach an international crowd, while illustrations are more easily understood by people of all ages cultures.

So while written and spoken words will almost always have their limits when it comes to branding, shapes, colors, and doodles can smash language barriers and make an impact on almost everyone!

Build Your Brand with Illustrations

Branding a company takes time and effort, but with the right planning, doodles can be the perfect tool for creating a delightful and memorable story that sticks with existing and potential customers.

Is there a company that crushes branding with doodles? We'd love to see them! Drop us a line with your favorite examples of branding campaigns that use illustrations.

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