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The Era of Illustration and Trends to lookout for 2019

Illustrations

A picture is worth a thousand words. In this digital age, an illustration is worth many more. One of the most evocative forms of communication, illustrations perform the crucial task of both informing and entertaining an audience through widespread integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games, and films.

Illustrations are an outlet of creative communication that captures the imagination of our era. From humble drawings made on paper, these have evolved into digital art-pieces that are developed on gadgets like Cintique, Wacom, I-pads, Surface pro pads and so on. Not only are these mediums easier to use, but they also lend artists more creative freedom through evolved tools that assist experimentation in newer ideas and style.

Illustrations are changing the way we view the world. Children born in the late 80s or 90’s grew up with the dawn of the Internet. They were present in a world that progressed from hand-held phones to smartphones; a world that transcended into hyper-connectivity. The immersion of the current generation in digital devices has propelled us forward and also altered the way we communicate forever. For baby-boomers technology feels pervasive, but for children, it’s available in welcome abundance. Illustrations are an integral part of this world. Digital art is all around us and will be for generations to come.

Below, we have discussed how illustrations have played a crucial role in easing the digital transformation and the widespread impact can be gauged from the changed human habits. This, in turn, has impacted the working of businesses largely. Let’s dig in:

Illustrations

1. Changing Human Habits 

Visual communication overcomes the barrier of language and is, therefore, palatable to a larger audience. Compounded with the fact that in the current day and age the average person looks at their mobile 100 times a day, we have digital art as the single largest commander of attention span ever known to man. Illustrations are instrumental to this change. Today it’s all about storytelling and making an impact through visual design; let’s observe how illustration has morphed our communication:

Illustrations

Expressions

Today, we see a sort of resurgence of the archaic era wherein expressed emotions were preferred to their verbal form. Smiley faces and visual dialogue fill up a conversation more than actual words do. Ruled by emojis, stickers, and gifs, the expression has become extremely easy in online conversations. All of this is created by illustrations that practically experiment to provide the world with an endless plethora of options for creative communication.


Illustrations

Learnings

In a world as fast-paced as the one we live in today, hours spent reading have taken a backseat. Visuals summarize text to make learning faster and simpler, in a matter of seconds. Children’s storybooks or detailed infographics – visuals communicate it all. Digital illustrators are skilled in being able to depict all kinds of information through these visuals.


Illustrations

Entertainment

The gaming industry, cartoons, and movies have witnessed a major shift in the style and quality of the graphics and animations used. Each movie or TV series character we watch and fall in love with, from superheroes to sci-fi personalities, is shaped by a brilliant team of illustrators. The gaming world was taken by a storm with the introduction of PUBG, an online multiplayer game. The visuals used became widely popular owing to high quality and attention to detail, which can be completely attributed to the team of visual thinkers and artists that worked together to give the idea its shape and form.


2. Changing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

With changed human habits the way businesses operate and communicate has also changed dramatically.

Illustrations

Marketing

Illustrations are instrumental in the growth of the marketing industry. With the growth of users of depictive media, businesses have gone visual, and have created digital products. Graphic elements are being used to create strong brand recall through thought-provoking and memorable imagery, so as to enhance the success rate of the representation of products and services. Illustrations that stand out have the power to provoke consumer actions that result in conversions. Every advert performs the primary function of familiarizing the consumers with different facets of the product, however, only those that can appeal to human emotions can be rendered truly memorable. Therefore, graphic design and illustrations are the most effective for the cause. Visual advertisements in print (billboards, newspapers, magazines) or on digital platforms (social media, blogs, online publications) can truly compound the impact of good content and rake in revenue.


Illustrations

Data Visualization

The presentation of data in a pictorial format enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually so that they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. Interactive visualization coupled with technology in the form of charts and graphs provides for insightful details to tell a compelling story. Combining illustrations, facts, and text, infographics are created to narrate a story, visually. From tech-intensive businesses to B2C businesses like Swiggy – everyone has taken to utilizing design and illustration to optimize their productivity.


Illustrations

Digital Branding, Customisation and Personalisation

With the constant evolution of technology, our business communications are also changing rapidly. We are looking into micro-level personalizations and interactions. Every business house today uses illustrations to be able to relate and emote with their target audience. A unique digital identity is created with the help of customized illustrations. Digital content heavily uses graphics for higher identifiability for the consumers. From simple icons to complex illustrations – skilled illustrators create them all, using many elements to personalize business communications.

Illustration Trends for 2019

Pop art as seen in the 1970s has been revisited extensively in design in 2018, introducing the world to new possibilities of visual communication. With creativity and visuals defining company values, companies are opting to strengthen customer interactions using pop art in digital design.

 

The bold and distinctive pop art illustration styles we explored, will be visible in web and mobile applications, games, movies, branding and advertising, e-cards, kindle, and much more. Packaging too has evolved to incorporate trendy designs and consumer trends.

Illustrations
Illustrations

1. The Comic Book Style

This style is typically composed of strong black outlines, realistic sketches of people and dramatically strong colors. The most influential element in this style, however, is the halftone pattern, which is a dotted texture used to depict light and shadows.

 

Application: It is most suited for usage in posters for marketing and advertising, and for storytelling applications such as e-comics, Kindle books, etc.


Illustrations
Illustrations

2. The Photo-Montage Style 

Using cutouts of separate images to compose a new picture, this style allows for different objects to assimilate into a whole new image! It can even make the use of magazine and newspaper clippings to allow contrasting elements to fuse into one unique image.

 

Application: It is mostly used in greeting cards, stationery products, and banners for branding and communication across digital and print platforms. It also has good use under ‘About Us’ section on websites.


Illustrations
Illustrations

3. The Glitch Effect

This effect is created by using duplicated images and placing them at different positions and angles. Different hues play with each other to create a kind of ‘glitchy’ interference. The glitch effect has a wide range of uses.

 

Application: Print media, gift wrappers, mobile wallpapers, and music albums, digital platforms with informal communication.


Illustrations
Illustrations

4. The Image-Illo Blender

A blend of photographs and illustrations, this style creatively helps in expression and exudes a contemporary aesthetic.

 

Application: It is used in album art design, website, and app design, branding, magazines, and fashion.


Conclusion

Storytelling is better told with visuals for higher engagement. Illustrations hold the attention of a reader and etch them into the reader’s memory for a long time to come. The illustration is one of the most important forms of visual communication: it informs and observes, delights and decorates, instructs and inspires. The future of pop art in the design world is bright and evolving, and 2019 is set to see it make a revolutionary come-back.

Article by Ghazal Qadri and Aakansha Menon, Illustrators at Lollypop Design Studio

Lollypop, a Bangalore-based UX/UI studio that creates digital experiences, which communicate and engage users with their client. They serve the clients like Stanford University, The Hindu and Housing.com

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