A close-up of someone hand-drawing an illustration.

The art of illustration

By Ben Walker on 10 February 2020

With countless brands shouting to be heard, it takes something special to get noticed in today’s competitive landscape.

At Firefly, we understand the transformative effect illustrations can have on a brand and, in a world saturated with photographs, the unique and personal touch they can add.

Strong visuals are key to engagement. In fact, we are 65% more likely to remember information when it is accompanied by an image, so it’s important to get it right. From Headspace to Mailchimp, many organisations are using illustration to make an impact. Incorporating engaging illustration can make you stand out, whether you want your own distinctive style, or a more traditional edge – the possibilities are endless.

What exactly can illustration bring to your brand?


At Firefly, we work with our clients to create beautifully crafted visuals that engage your target audience, and there’s no denying that bespoke illustrations can add personality to a brand. Experimenting with different styles, colours, shapes and fonts can evoke various thoughts and emotions, and have a powerful effect on the viewer. Illustrations can be fun, playful, surreal, humorous, bold, artistic or stylish (the list goes on) – it really depends on what you want to communicate.


Inclusivity is paramount and should not be overlooked. One of the benefits of illustrations is that they don’t have to conform to a specific age, race or gender, making them relatable to a wider audience. Diving into the limitless possibilities of illustration allows you to play with options until you have a result that truly reflects your brand and the message you want to communicate.

The short animation we created for Cancer Innovation Challenge, which incorporates a playful gender-neutral characters, demonstrates the way inclusivity can be achieved through illustration.

An illustration of two cartoon characters sitting on the couch.



In the world of marketing it’s often tough to keep your audience’s attention for long, so it’s important to get your message across as quickly and succinctly as possible. Illustration has the power to take a complex concept and break it down into accessible content, or to convey a serious subject in a lighter way. It could take a short essay to communicate the same message as a simple illustration.


We now know that illustration can help communicate a brands message. What we also know is that video content is dominating online platforms, with 72% of customers preferring to learn about a product or service this way. Transforming illustrations into animations, motion graphics or infographics could really ramp up your engagement and get people talking.

Visuals also have a proven success rate on social media. Take Twitter as an example – we are three times more likely to engage with a Tweet accompanied by visuals. Last but not least, illustrations can help breathe new life into print communications.

Aesthetically pleasing

Now this is important – if done well, illustrations just do look good. They can make your brand recognisable and captivate your target audience.

Take our rebrand of Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forest Kindergarten programme. The subtle incorporation of illustration within the printed designs adds a natural, handmade aesthetic, while complimenting elements of their existing brand. These detailed illustrations were designed to communicate the focus of the programme; appealing to teachers and parents alike, without appearing childish.

Leaflet front cover for The Forestry Commission, showing text, illustrated foliage and an image showing people walking in a forest.

Our opinion…

Illustrations can add a new dimension to your brand – they can be engaging, unique and full of personality, and, if done well, can effectively communicate key messages to your audience. This helps to explain their rise in popularity over the last few years and whilst trends come and go, we don’t see this one going anywhere in a hurry.

If you’re interested in incorporating illustrations into your brand, please get in touch. We’d love to chat through the process and work with you to find a style that suits.

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“Ben and the team at Firefly have been great – creative, friendly, fun and professional from start to finish of our label design project.

Despite us providing a rather vague brief, they completely got what we were looking to achieve and delivered an excellent creative proposal which we are now moving ahead with. They worked with pace and their communication was good throughout. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again and would strongly recommend them for any creative requirements.”

Omar Quaba, MA, FRCS
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Waterfront Private Hospital

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