Why bother having illustrations in (or on) your products, books or marketing?
When you know your fab copywriting skills can woo potential buyers, and you can download and use free stock photography, using illustration seems a bit pointless, yes?
Let me give you 5 reasons why you might want to reconsider:
1. Illustrations allow your reader to make a connection between what you've just told them and the image of it - there on the page
When a reader sees the illustration while reading your copy, it brings to life what you've just described and makes it way more real to them.
It cements their understanding of your message. So if you're telling a story, or marketing your product - a relevant, memorable illustration can sear your business—or your product—indelibly into someone's brain.
2. Illustrations create a 'visual glue' that holds the attention of the reader
Ever looked at an article where you're attracted to the headline, get as far as the subhead - but then just seen a big block of text in front of you and thought, 'sod that, I've got other stuff to do'?
Illustrations can make long passages of writing more digestible. They break it up and create 'space'—moments of eye-candy between the blocks of dense text.
3. Illustrations are valuable...and create value
They make things look friendly, beautiful, and desirable. They create personality, and—like commissioned portraits or other artwork—give status to the owner or subject.
All these things will encourage someone to buy into you or your product—or at least take an interest.
After all (your customer will think), if you've gone to the trouble and expense of commissioning bespoke illustrations for your product or marketing, it must be really worth a look—right?
4. As it says on the tin, illustrations, well, illustrate a point you're making
Something that could take you several paragraphs to explain—and still end up being confusing—could be shown clearly in a single illustration. Just like infographics do.
At the same time, an illustration can add some humour or personality to otherwise boring material—making your message more appealing, concise, and clear as crystal—all in the stroke of a pencil.
5. Illustrations go where photographs cannot go
There's some brilliant image editing out there these days, and Photoshop is a fantastically creative tool, but there are some things that photos just can't convey, where an illustration would be perfect.
Illustrations can express moods or emotions, or other abstract concepts that you need to get across to encourage certain responses in people—like buying.
Creative storytelling from the imagination begs for a similarly creative accompaniment, and illustrations help make the story richer and more tangible. They make the world you immerse yourself in so much more vivid and believable—yet still leave you free to you use your own imagination.
Or perhaps you need to show a visual image that would be impossible or very expensive to photograph—like you piloting a speeding spaceship with aliens on your tail, or riding on your recently published book like it's a magic carpet.
You, but amplified.
I've created avatar illustrations for clients that fit their carefully constructed business image—and cut through the reams of boring thumbnail photos on social media feeds like bright sun seared on your retina.
Illustrations draw attention like nothing else, and again—add authority and value to you or what you're selling.
And in your marketing, creating attention, authority and value are essential to selling your products.
Struggling to Find an Illustrator?
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Julia is a motorcycle-riding, cat-herding, food loving artist, illustrator and book designer. She loves food and cooking but then has to run it off at some point later.
She takes great pleasure in making paintings and artwork to sell, and with her design hat on, she helps self-publishing authors get high-end book design and illustration to boost their marketing and help them sell lots of books — all without having to approach big scary design firms.