Once a year, at the beginning of spring, I used to open my wardrobe and start cleaning. Beside being a valuable mental exercise (removing unused stuff gives us a fresh start) it is also a great opportunity to understand that we very often make buying decisions in the heat of the moment. Every year, spring after spring, I look in the mirror and ask myself - Wojciech...why? Why do you buy so many useless things? Is it really about clothes? Or maybe it’s because of the patterns and illustrations that are printed on them...
This year was quite different. I started to consider this as a sociological issue and in a much wider context. In the context of our products, and the illustrations that decorate them. Are there any similarities between apparel and illustrations? What is the value of investing in better quality rather than buying stuff in bulk from stock resources or... sales? Let’s investigate.
Make your product unique
There’s a joke that if there are two women dressed in the same dress at the same party, they are probably not going to become best friends that evening. When it comes to products and their value, the truth is that we often buy new goods because of the sense of uniqueness that a brand provides. Any examples? Apple, Starbucks, Tesla... The majority of their customers use their products to feel special, rather than identify with core brand values. And that's totally fine, especially since their input into the brand's development is usually priceless.
By crafting custom illustrations, our clients can be sure that their products will be enriched by unique and consistent content. Thanks to that, the brand may be perceived as more desirable and outstanding from its competition, which undoubtedly may be a crucial point in the decision-making process. Easier said than done? Not really. These kind of things are usually achieved by beautiful play of light and shadow, smooth surfaces or an original silhouette.
Bitapp combines all of these three factors. Unique lighting of the scene with an additional side light build an innocent atmosphere and help achieve the illusion of three-dimensionality- despite the one-colour vector shapes which make up the illustration.
It’s said that people build their first impression in the first one-tenth second of the meeting. And that’s totally true. When we want to persuade someone to like us (say during a job interview) we always pay attention to our look, outfit, and mood. The first impression, in almost every situation, is the key.
And it’s quite similar when it comes to illustrations. Custom artwork affects users’ moods and decisions. By delivering appropriate illustrations, we can evoke a specific spectrum of emotions, persuade clients to convert or stop them from doing something painful for our statistics. It really depends on the case.
Some time ago we worked on an early cancer detection app. The biggest issue that we had to tackle was to combine a medical look & feel with something that will make our product less stressful to use. By juxtaposing huge, light-blue oval shapes with small bouncing red balls that symbolise cancer cells, we emphasised three keywords: safety, patience, and accuracy.
Could you imagine a DHL courier who wears a custom-tailored suit and elegant leather shoes? Or a bank customer assistant wearing a three-stripes tracksuit in the color of spring grass? Yes, it doesn’t make sense at all. Huge brands establish their own dress-code for two reasons. First, they want to stay consistent so that their customers perceive them as more reliable. Second - by tailoring a special line of clothes, companies are able to represent their core values in a nonverbal way. So simple.
We can treat illustration similarly. Pictures can help a lot in conveying the company’s main message. They act as a bridge between the text and the idea of the product, especially when the product offers value that is hard to describe using only words. Illustrations often play a meaningful, complementary role.
Case.One is one of our projects that proves the correctness of this approach. After preparing 9 independent sets of high-quality illustrations, the platform was successfully updated and continues to grow. The designs for the project have received international attention. Even some plagiarisms.
Do you know what brands like Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, and Puma have in common? Apart from being top-notch, global clothing brands, all of their logotypes feature an animal that makes their sign more recognizable, memorable and outstanding. This strategy has a lot of different advantages, but the most important one is the fact that using animals or cartoon characters in marketing communication is a part of a very interesting and valuable field called ’brand heroes’.
Every single time when a prospective client meets the company’s character, a sense of trust is evoked that very often helps in the sales process and ties clients to the brand.
How can we use this approach in our illustration-related topic? Depending on the product and the context that we work with, sometimes it’s a good idea to use an illustrative brand hero that expresses the nature of the brand and plays the role of a smart guide. People also like to identify with the product. By giving them a humanlike guide we can be sure that the brand stays in their minds for a long time and makes them willing to come back every time they need our services.
Some time ago we made a lot of noise with one of our biggest concepts - IKEA’s online chatbot. Stephen (name of the assistant) represents professionalism and positivity - two common personality traits of every IKEA consultant worldwide. All the international feedback that we gathered after the project’s release reassured us that brand heroes have much more strengths than we expected...
I know some people who, when buying new clothes, always consider whether they will fit the rest of things in their wardrobe . And even though that may seem quite funny, this kind of approach can save a lot of money. Simple black jeans may be used multiple times in many situations and different occasions, also let us feel comfortable.
It’s quite similar when it comes to illustrations - when creating and using high-quality illustrations we’re building a multi-platform bridge that connects different formats and mediums. From this moment we can use them not only in our product or in social media, but also as a meaningful and eye-catching part of print advertisements. At Netguru we always try to dig deeper. That’s why most of our artwork is produced in the form of scalable and easy-to-convert vectors. Thanks to that, we’re not afraid of any format, medium, or colour palette.
As you see, illustration may significantly boost the value and the attractiveness of your brand. By investing in custom resources, you can make your product more attractive, trustworthy or desirable, but also positively affect the relationship between your brand and the customers.
Nowadays, custom illustration systems become more and more popular. What would you say if we prepared one for your product?
Really funny how productive simple spring-cleaning can be