Why use Illustration?
The Reasons for Illustration: Update
Why use Illustration?

My last post on this subject was just bullet points so here is a revised version.

Illustration is a way to communicate a message visually, whether it be a story, a message or a feeling.

When art and word used together it is effective for concepts that are otherwise difficult to express or that take a long time to explain. Illustration helps create interest in otherwise dull or difficult subjects and is also an effective tool in helping people keep information, hold attention span and for reading information quickly.

Illustration can express a mood or feeling, it can stimulate other senses, it is immersive, it clarifies and present’s information and generally makes things more interesting.

Images are a useful tool in helping aide visual learning and helping people understand new information and gain interest in new subjects. For people with different languages a visual aide can help in the understanding of information and is known as a useful tool for early readers and people with learning difficulties.

Information is given a sense of personality with Illustration. It can create a more human touch and can make content more unique, engaging and more relatable. It can show the feeling you want your information to convey and strengthen its message in doing so. Illustration conveys any emotion, happiness, sadness, anger and so on.

Illustration is a useful tool in engaging and entertaining a reader. Images are visually stimulating and they encourage different emotional responses. With the use of Illustration you can inspire and enrich the imagination. It can show new or different ways of looking and thinking about things and hence promote free thinking and imaginative thought. Illustration is not limited to things that are impossible to photograph or film. It can show new worlds with original stories and characters. There are no limits to what Illustration can express.

The cultural importance of Illustration can not be overlooked. Art has always been linked with identity, wealth, status, religion and belief. From prehistoric times on, people have used visual symbolism to help explain complex cultural and social messages. Art has kept many cultural traditions alive and folk art connected with everyday people. Arguably this is something that Illustration is now used for.

Illustration as we now know it developed from early printing methods and later mechanical movable type printing which made art available to the masses not just a closed élite.

Reproduced art became more affordable for people than original fine art and forms of visual communication developed rapidly to take advantage of this, advertising and newspaper cartoons in the Victorian age such as, and the poster art of Alphonse Mucha.

Illustration helped show the world to people in an age before photography was widespread.

It educated people on social issues and entertained in the form of cartoons, satire and picture books. One of the first Illustrated books for children was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Illustrated by Sir John Tenniel.

People became surrounded by Illustration, it helped explain and communicate things to illiterate people and people with different languages, given that our visual literacy is very advanced.

Illustration is a powerful tool in Graphic Design and Advertising. It grabs attention and promotes causes. It can make text more appealing or more interesting to read. It can create consistency in a look or brand.

For branding, Illustration can help create new ways of how a brand is perceived by someone and it can help tell a story associated with it. Illustration is useful for encouraging responses in people, whether to buy, provoke a reaction, attract, repulse, read or learn about a product or service, engage an audience or create arguments for the brand based on visual clues that an audience can relate to or attracted to. Illustration is useful because it can make things look friendly, beautiful, desirable and have personality. All these things encourage someone to buy something or at least gain an interest in it.

Because certain styles of art were widely used in different time periods and cultures, Illustration that incorporates certain known styles can create feelings of nostalgia or a sense of time and place. Because of this Illustration can also be used to instill trust in a brand. It can evoke feelings of tradition, quality and nostalgia. The use of familiar visual images can give continuity to a brand adding to its perceived equity and value. For new brands Illustration can create brand awareness by being memorable and being in a style tailored to the brands overall message and target audience.

Author: Christine Garner

I'm an Illustrator from the UK working in digital and traditional mediums with a focus on character design.

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