How illustration can work for you


Illustration is a versatile tool for engaging and entertaining a reader. Eye-catching images stimulate the senses, encourage emotional responses and allow you to communicate messages in a variety of different ways.

Illustration is not limited to things impossible to photograph or film. It can open up new ideas with original story telling and characters and offer alternate viewpoints and commentary. Whether conceptual or literal, there are definitely occasions when only an illustration will do.

Blackwood develop thought-provoking and engaging illustrations for a wide range of clients, across many business sectors. Read on for five ways we have used illustration to great effect… they might just help you define your next design project.

01. A difficult subject made accessible

Sometimes, the subject matter determines that illustration is the best way forward. If you can’t find the perfect photo or if the images you have don’t quite hit the mark, maybe your content would lend itself to an illustrative treatment?

A global development institution approached us to design their report. We developed an accessible illustration style that perfectly complemented the report’s photography and presented statistical data clearly.

02. Making the fantastical real

Sometimes you meet a client where their imagination sets the limit. It’s less about having an open-ended budget, more a case of let’s see what happens when we all open our minds. The best thing about illustration is that you can depict literally anything you like… the imaginary and surreal are possible. Perfect for a leading UK-based children’s charity.

After receiving the necessary consents to use each child’s portrait photography we set about creating a series of fun illustrative-led collages. The result is a fantastical journey into a world with endless possibilities.

03. You want to tell a story

A compelling narrative can be enormously effective when it comes to engaging stakeholders and getting across a brand or campaign’s personality and purpose. To convey an idea in writing, we need to create multiple versions of our text according to the different languages of our readers. When we use illustration, we blur the lines and convey the same idea to people who don’t share a common language.

Illustration is great for communicating your message and walking people through a journey. With the character led animation we produced for a global smallholder farmer initiative, the central characters present complex content in a tangible, easily relatable way, as well as providing movement and stimulating the audience.

04. You have some data to visualise

Collecting data is so important when companies are measuring their success, communicating trends or thinking strategically about the future. Data can easily be lost in the multitudes of spreadsheets, charts and tables, making it time-consuming and tedious for your audience to wade through. A powerful way to convey these figures is through infographics. Infographics are now more popular than ever and for very good reason. When done well they can give order to complex data, making it easy for the audience to digest.

With sites like Pinterest and Behance sharing a multitude of engaging and effective examples – you’d be forgiven for thinking that every subject lends itself to an infographic. Not necessarily so. Before you commit to an infographic make sure you have the right type of information to use and that it’s appropriate, both for the audience and purpose of the piece. When done well, infographics can bring a fresh perspective to current, well researched and meaningful data or clarify complex processes. They are effective in presenting your data in a way that is easily digestible for your audience… and are definitely here to stay.

05. A particular style is required

Illustration can totally transform a design’s look, feel and mood – whether it’s a multi-channel campaign, promotional materials for an event or a flagship report. This is where picking the right style when commissioning bespoke illustration is so important.

An international development bank commissioned us to develop a cohesive, carefully art directed illustrative ‘theme’ to help their brand stand out from the crowd in a much more distinctive way than a series of stock photographs ever could. Illustrations help you carve a niche that is defined by personality and individual focus.

If you feel your project would benefit from our illustrative approach please get in touch, our team will help you create something amazing.