A picture is worth a thousand words. In this digital age, an illustration is worth many more. One of the most evocative forms of communication, illustrations perform the crucial task of both informing and entertaining an audience through widespread integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games, and films.
Illustrations are an outlet of creative communication that captures the imagination of our era. From humble drawings made on paper, these have evolved into digital art-pieces that are developed on gadgets like Cintique, Wacom, I-pads, Surface pro pads and so on. Not only are these mediums easier to use, but they also lend artists more creative freedom through evolved tools that assist experimentation in newer ideas and style.
Illustrations are changing the way we view the world. Children born in the late '80s or ’90s grew up with the dawn of the Internet. They were present in a world that progressed from hand-held phones to smartphones; a world that transcended into hyper-connectivity. The immersion of the current generation in digital devices has propelled us forward and also altered the way we communicate forever. For baby-boomers technology feels pervasive, but for children, it’s available in welcome abundance. Illustrations are an integral part of this world. Digital art is all around us and will be for generations to come.
Below, I have discussed how illustrations have played a crucial role in easing the digital transformation and the widespread impact can be gauged from the changed human habits. This, in turn, has impacted the working of businesses largely. Let’s dig in:
Changing Human Habits
We are surrounded by screens and modern communication takes place primarily on these screens. We keep them in our hands, purses, and pockets; next to our beds while we sleep; and on our desks and countertops. Traditional media like televisions have morphed into interactive screens, with customizability to suit individual tastes and preferences. These preferences are further stored for tailored suggestions in the future.
Ninety percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Our current output of data is roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day. Research further states that more than 60 percent of people are visual learners and ninety percent of the information our brain receives is visual. With an ever decreasing attention span, the way we consume and communicate information has changed drastically.
Visual communication overcomes the barrier of language and is, therefore, palatable to a larger audience. Compounded with the fact that in the current day and age the average person looks at their mobile 100 times a day, we have digital art as the single largest commander of attention span ever known to man. Illustrations are instrumental to this change. Today it's all about storytelling and making an impact through visual design; let’s observe how illustration has morphed our communication:
Today, we see a sort of resurgence of the archaic era wherein expressed emotions were preferred to their verbal form. Smiley faces and visual dialogue fill up a conversation more than actual words do. Ruled by emojis, stickers, and gifs, expression has become extremely easy in online conversations. All of this is created by illustrations that practically experiment to provide the world with an endless plethora of options for creative communication.
In a world as fast-paced as the one we live in today, hours spent reading have taken a backseat. Visuals summarize text to make learning faster and simpler, in a matter of seconds. Children’s storybooks or detailed infographics - visuals communicate it all. Digital illustrators are skilled in being able to depict all kinds of information through these visuals.
The gaming industry, cartoons, and movies have witnessed a major shift in the style and quality of graphics and animations used. Each movie or TV series character we watch and fall in love with, from superheroes to sci-fi personalities, is shaped by a brilliant team of illustrators. The gaming world was taken by a storm with the introduction of PUBG, an online multiplayer game. The visuals used became widely popular owing to high quality and attention to detail, which can be completely attributed to the team of visual thinkers and artists that worked together to give the idea its shape and form.
Changing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The way businesses operate has changed over time to accommodate changing human habits. Different fields in the business ecosystem have been affected by an unprecedented rise in the use of illustrations.
A few of these changes are elucidated below:
Illustrations are instrumental in the growth of the marketing industry. With the growth of users of depictive media, businesses have gone visual, and have created digital products. Graphic elements are being used to create strong brand recall through thought-provoking and memorable imagery, so as to enhance the success rate of the representation of products and services. Illustrations that stand out have the power to provoke consumer actions that result in conversions. Every advertisement performs the primary function of familiarizing the consumers with different facets of the product, however, only those that can appeal to human emotions can be rendered truly memorable. Therefore, graphic design and illustrations are the most effective for the cause.
Visual advertisements in print (billboards, newspapers, magazines) or on digital platforms (social media, blogs, online publications) can truly compound the impact of good content and rake in revenue.
The presentation of data in a pictorial format enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually so that they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. Interactive visualization coupled with technology in the form of charts and graphs provides for insightful details to tell a compelling story. Combining illustrations, facts, and text, infographics are created to narrate a story, visually. From tech-intensive businesses to B2C businesses like Swiggy - everyone has taken to utilizing design and illustration to optimize their productivity.
Digital Branding, Customisation and Personalisation:
With the constant evolution of technology, our business communications are also changing rapidly. We are looking into micro-level personalizations and interactions. Every business house today uses illustrations to be able to relate and emote with their target audience. A unique digital identity is created with the help of customized illustrations. Digital content heavily uses graphics for higher identifiability for the consumers. From simple icons to complex illustrations - skilled illustrators create them all, using many elements to personalize business communications.
Storytelling is better told with visuals for higher engagement. Illustrations hold the attention of a reader and etch them into the reader’s memory for a long time to come. Illustration is one of the most important forms of visual communication: it informs and observes, delights and decorates, instructs and inspires.
Experimentation of new illustration styles and new emerging mediums has ensured the steady growth of this industry and relevance in the creative fields. Illustration is a mode of expression that resonates with people from all walks of life since they convey more than words. Especially in this day and age of endless distractions and depleting attention spans, this is a creative form that will be around for a long time to come.
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If you've enjoyed this blog on Illustration, please check out our blog on one of the most popular forms of illustration- Pop Art.