Illustration has been an effective form of communication dating back to cave paintings, when paleolithic artists used various mark making tools to communicate the world they saw around them to others. It is one method that is often overlooked or forgotten about when conceptualizing ideas or possible methods to communicate important brand messages to web audiences. It is a uniqueness that can only be achieved through illustration, for as long as pencil touches paper and mouse controls the pen, illustration remains the most effective method of conveying one-of-a-kind personality and life to ideas.
Unfortunately, this method of communication is often overlooked, as client budgets and scope creep can often place limitations on design. The responsive nature of websites lends itself to flat design, and flat design lends itself to illustration.
The artist is then an important piece, not simply a pawn in the construction, assembling pieces and photos delivered by clients, but rather a pivotal aspect that conceives, mocks and formulates to deliver meaningful, attractive and effective visual elements that convey ideas and information in a way that leaves memorable impressions in the minds of each and every viewer.
There are many common illustration methods typically used in today’s modern websites. The decorative nature of the user interface is first and foremost. Colorful, intricate patterns have always been and still remain a popular way to enhance the look of a site. Infographic creation has exploded in almost every industry, and having the ability to deliver an effective and attractive data-driven illustration is something that all illustrators should be able to do. A fun mascot can often be the key to a well-thought-out and successful brand. Something memorable that drives visitors back to a site over and over is very beneficial in creating brand recognition. Hand-rendered typography can also help to give a site character and originality–it allows them to directly communicate a specific feeling or thought that may not be attained by standard fonts. Lastly Illustration can tell a story, and that story can convey emotion to the viewer. With newer programming methods such as the introduction of parallax websites, storytelling online has become an exciting way to deliver content to your viewers in ways that have never been seen before.
Illustrators themselves have continued to push the boundaries of what they’d like to see and achieve on the web-based medium, and I feel that if they continue to do so, programmers, designers, clients and web users will continue to embrace its presence as the way to design sites.