Why Illustrations Are Important for Your Design

10minutes read
why are illustrations important

Illustrations(of various kinds) are powerful and essential tools that enhance the user experience and make the interface attractive and useful. For example, according to a study by the BuzzSumo team, among more than a hundred million news stories on Facebook, news with pictures had 2,3 times more engagement than those that had the text only. This is impressive, isn’t it? You’ve probably noticed that you pay attention to some exciting picture much more often than to a monotonously written text. Paradoxically, you may not even be interested in the topic of this picture. Still, all of you pay attention to it just out of interest.

The phrase asserts that “… a picture is worth a thousand words” is still relevant today, acquiring more and more shades of meaning with humanity’s progress. People are always attracted to visual images. It is recognized and understood faster, and even more, it can satisfy not only informational but also the recipient’s aesthetic needs. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the illustration features from a modern UI / UX design perspective.

why illustrations are important for a design
why are illustrations important for a design creation

Graphic design illustrations used as part of the interface should become a working functional element. When deciding to use any type of illustration on a screen or web page, a designer must carefully consider how to get the most out of their vast potential. In most cases, an illustration becomes an effective way of presenting a piece of information to the user faster and easier than with text. Different user needs can be satisfied using illustration in the layout, so it is prevalent in various user interfaces.

Still not convinced that images are incredibly important for each design? It’s not true! That is why in this article, we would like to tell you how important and what impact images have on the design of your product and your business in general. Sit back, and let’s dig a little deeper into the visual theme!

What is illustration?

First of all, let’s understand what an illustration is in general.

An illustration- is a visual interpretation of specific content, text, process, or something else. This is a graphic image created to clarify the ideas that people receive from other information sources (most often, of course, it is text). The main task of any illustration is to help people better understand and imagine something in their heads. We have come across illustrations from childhood everywhere and always, in books, magazines, banners, posters, and newspapers. With the development of the information industry, images have burst into the world of web and app design.

The illustration is one way to improve the usability of the interface, its emotional and visual appeal.

Where illustrations are used in user interface design

The illustration is a decoration and an indicator of the illustrator’s skill and one of the most important functional elements in the design. One of the main tasks of any illustration design is to make the interaction and message of the product more accessible and more understandable, and of course, more stylish 🙂

You can find user interface illustrations in:

use of illustrations in design
what are illustrations used for
  • thematic images
  • mascots and characters
  • blog article images
  • images of heroes
  • tutorials and tooltips
  • rewards and other gamification graphics
  • notifications and system messages
  • stickers (wildly popular for messaging apps)
  • infographics
  • marketing materials and advertising banners
  • visual markers of content categories
  • social media pages supporting the site or application.

We decided to collect several main reasons why you should resort to using illustration in your future project. Well, let’s go?

Reasons to use illustrations in UI design:

1) Illustrations clearly show the necessary message

Scientists have proven that the human brain is designed to perceive pictures for as little as 13 milliseconds. This is neither bad nor good but our brain firstly appreciates pictures not text; it’s just a fact of our visual perception. This is why designers should use visual elements to increase the efficiency and conversion of the website/application.

use of illustrations in design that shows necessary message
what is an illustration that shows necessary message

We would like to give you a few facts that images are much more useful for users than text:

  • according to psychologists, people need about 1/10 of a second to get a general perception of a visual scene or element (the human brain cannot scan the text)
  • visual effects are transmitted to the brain much faster, and important pieces of information are often captured by the brain in the form of graphical images, even if they were obtained through the text’s perception.
  • images are less vulnerable when combined with the background and surrounding elements, while the text is highly dependent on the aspect of readability
  • images tend to stick better in long-term memory, which means that when working with the interface, users will not need to process and remember more data than they need, so interaction becomes faster
  • visual effects in the interface can make it more versatile in cases where people from different countries use the app or website
  • images expand the boundaries of perception for users who have natural problems with text recognition, such as, for example, dyslexic preschoolers or cannot read.

All of the above suggests that you need to create highly effective illustrations that will quickly inform users and support the text’s message.

2) The use of illustrations supports your content

As you already understood, the reader perceives information with images much better than dry text content. The effectiveness of the illustration will depend on how closely it matches the content of the article. And if the cover works like bait so that the reader wants to press a button and see the continuation of the story, then the pictures in the text are designed to hold his attention (especially in long reads).

use of illustrations in design that support your content
what is an illustration that shows support your content

How do illustrations help attract readers and sell?

In the endless stream of news feeds, the reader clings to the poster: a headline supported by a picture. The most extensive book retailers’ statistics confirm that books with good covers and illustrations are sold in much larger quantities.

Therefore, the images in your product primarily create an idea of what you want to communicate. This is a way to select those who will be interested in your content.

An illustration is a versatile tool that can sometimes say even more than words. Therefore, visual content is always present in advertising and helps to create the image of the product.

Also, images help the author create the right atmosphere by addressing the client for whom the content is being made. For this, it is essential to understand and study the audience’s interests for which the product is being created.

3) Illustration establishes an emotional appeal to the user

We receive most of the information visually. Therefore, it is not surprising that our liking or dislike for the site can be based only on some pictures, that we did not buy a product in an online store, not because of its characteristics, but only because of the faded, “tasteless” and “unsold ” Images.

You probably need to start with the foundation – the biological characteristics of the brain and gender. The woman has a better visual memory and a sense of colors. Men are more capable of 3D rendering.

use of illustrations in design that establish an emotional appeal to the user
what is an illustration that establishes an emotional appeal to the user

For the former, emotions from a purchase are more critical; for the latter, functions.

According to exciting statistics cited by the American industrial designer Erica Eden, 85% of buyers (in the US) are women. They either buy directly (manage the family’s funds) or seriously influence the buying decision.

For sites with a predominantly female audience (children’s stores, cooking, cosmetics), pictures of the second category are needed. In online stores with a wide range of topics (from soft toys to razors), you can combine them.

In addition to emotions, the attractiveness of the picture itself plays an important role. Sometimes, just playing with contrast can generate more interest in a product.

4) Using illustrations create aesthetic pleasure

No matter how designers around the world shout with slogans that functionality is above all, as they say, people still eat with their eyes 🙂 And despite hundreds of discussions regarding functionality, the natural human desire for beauty and pleasure is still valid.

Undoubtedly, usefulness and usability are the foundation of any interface. However, desirability is an aesthetic and beautiful facade that makes people notice your product, feel the pleasure of using it, and want to use it again. Illustrations are a well-proven way to achieve this goal, as they add beauty, style, elegance, or whatever else you want to add to your interface.

use of illustrations in design that create aesthetic pleasure
what is an illustration that creates aesthetic pleasure

Images in content help to improve the quality of a web page in the eyes of search engines and real users, increasing relevance, improving perception, thereby positively affecting behavioral factors and ranking.

5) Good illustration catches the user’s eye and increases brand awareness

Illustration helps give a brand a personality. It can be more playful, charming, approachable, prettier, or display all of the above. Unfortunately, brands don’t always move in the right direction.

use of illustrations in design that catch the user’s eye
what is an illustration that catches the user’s eye

Often, keeping up with the latest illustration trends isn’t enough to make it stand out, and doing something wrong will have the opposite effect. While the always-on-trend illustration styles can be useful for some, it is still essential to determine what suits a particular brand.

Images stay in memory better than text. If the pictures are informative, designed by the target audience’s expectations, and following the layout’s overall stylistic concept, the impact will increase. This makes illustrations very useful in creating recognizable user interface designs and supports an app’s branding or website design.

6) Using illustrations make your brand unique

How illustrations help your business:

  • grab the attention of customers. Drawings with a “wow-effect” are noticeable everywhere: on websites, signs, bus stops, in offices, on the streets of buildings. Seeing an exciting image, your potential client wants to learn about your product or service. Then it’s up to you: get clients, increase profits, expand your business;
  • drawings distinguish your business from competitors. Ordering an illustration for a website costs money. As a result, they pay off many times because the client remembers your product. Yours, not a faceless competitor. And what we like and remember, we will buy again;
use of illustrations in design that make your brand unique
what is an illustration that makes your brand unique
  • your potential client gets an association with you. He will tell you that he saw a cool picture, and then he remembered it;
  • help advertise your business. Pictures for banner ads “speak” more than text ads. This is relevant for online stores, for those whose product is better to see than to read a long description like everyone else, for those who need to show the result. For example, we are talking about a weight loss course. Your potential client can see what result he will achieve in the picture for the banner using your service. He will spend less time deciding reading a long text from your competitors;
  • illustrations make you and your brand unique. In these competitive times, you need to stand out if you want to achieve business success and make good profits. One way to stand out is to have your own corporate identity with illustrations, presentation designs.

Do you wonder how to make your brand more unique? Read our article on how to design a logo for improving the business. Don’t miss it; it’s fascinating!

Summing up

The aforementioned general foundations still strongly support the most critical position regarding the user interface design process: any interface elements must be focused and functional, support the user, enhance usability, and provide a solid foundation for positive user experience and problem-solving. Illustrations are no exception. Their use in the interface must be carefully thought out and implemented, taking into account the target user’s requirements at every stage of the process.

Without illustration, text and landing pages would be boring black and white drawings. We need color, imagery, and images. Visual effects generate interest and help to perceive the product better. To top it off, illustrations can include infographics and information visualizations.

We at Gapsy Studio are confident that any project should be complemented by professionally created illustrations, creating which we are happy to help you. If you want your project to stand out from the crowd with incredible and modern illustrations, then we will be able to embody any of your ideas. We will be glad to cooperate with you.

And to make sure of our professionalism, we invite you to familiarize yourself with the services we provide, as well as you can watch our successful projects on Dribbble and Behance.

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