A fellow illustrator, Danielle Meder of Final Fashion, was featured in a great interview last week about how fashion retailers can use illustration to enhance their branding online. Fashion illustration evolved being a tool to communicate between designers to being a feature in advertising and marketing to excite the consumer, and it’s seen quite the resurgence in recent years.
While I consider myself a fashion illustrator, a majority of my clients right now are businesswomen and entrepreneurs whose work falls outside of fashion. But the characteristics that make fashion illustration exciting — attitude, style, and personality — are often the very characteristics that businesses in other industries are looking to infuse into their brand.
The right kind of image can make a brand appear more personable, more approachable, more confident or more stylish, and all around more exciting to potential customers. Fashion is leading the charge, and companies outside the industry are taking note.
So how can a business owner use fashion-inspired illustration? Here are a few ideas, with examples from my portfolio:
Websites and Social Media
The avatar I created for Chelle of Everyday Polish.
Online — especially in social media – is the place to be if you want to interact with your customer in real time. But sometimes it can be difficult if your business doesn’t have a “face.” One of the more fun projects I’ve done recently was develop a social media avatar for lifestyle blog, Every Day Polish. I worked with the lead writer to get a sense of the blog’s personality and direction (bookish, but still stylish!) and created the image she now uses on Twitter and other social media.
Special event invitations and programs
Illustrated program and event poster for Contradiction Dance’s “FASHION VICTIM.”
Part of the fun of throwing an exclusive event for your business is setting the stage for your guests to have a fun and sophisticated experience. Think about setting the stage for that with an invitation specially designed for your event or program. The best part? It doubles as a super cool keepsake for your guests. The example above is work I did for not just any event, but for a production by Contradiction Dance in D.C.
Retail and promotional products (a.k.a “Swag”)
Who doesn’t love swag? You can use illustration to take your promotional swag up a notch, and really give your folks a slice of your brand’s personality. The best part — companies like RedBubble, VistaPrint and others make it super easy to put custom artwork on everything from mugs to t-shirts to iPhone cases.
Good ol’ Logo and Branding Identity
Website banner and business cards for stylist Karima Renee.
This is the meat and potatoes of what I do: developing the custom “face” of a business to be used everywhere — as a logo, on business cards, as a banner for trade shows or displays for retail spaces, events, and more. The fun part is customizing the image to a specific industry and personality — obviously an entrepreneur in financial services wouldn’t use the same kind of image as a dance instructor, but they both could amplify their brands with illustration.
The possibilities are endless — which is the true beauty of illustration.
Interested in illustration for your business? Contact me here.