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Creating the one-of-a-kind WOW

Have you ever found yourself gazing at a magazine rack because you’re utterly intrigued by the clever or topical illustration on the cover of The New Yorker magazine? That one-of-a-kind look is unique and certainly stands out. And with it, The New Yorker sears its brand into our consciousness.

Yet despite the success of using custom illustrations on one of the most recognized magazines in the world, the power and effect of using illustrations in branding and other creative projects is often underappreciated and underutilized.

When it comes to branding initiatives, marketing strategies, key messages and communications plans, the potential of using illustrations should not be overlooked. When done well, they are a unique and exceptional way to set your brand and your business apart from your competitors.

An important part of being a 
good creative director is envisioning unique and exceptional ways that a product can command attention. And it’s about effectively leading and inspiring a team of creative professionals to achieve that vision. A key member of that team is the illustrator.

An illustration is the solution to a visual problem and, with smart creative direction, a good illustrator understands the needs of the client along with the vision, goals and parameters of the project. With a fixed set of parameters — spoken in a language that is both clever and concise offers the space to be creative and add flair. For many illustrators working in the commercial space “thinking inside the box” is in a way much easier and more creative than “blue sky thinking.”

In the creative process, the illustrator is simply a part of a larger creative group — the 
copywriter crafts the narrative, the photographer shoots the photos, the graphic designer develops the products and the production artist pulls it all together. The illustrator’s role is to develop the custom illustrations that execute a vision with creative flair, adding the ‘wow.’

Although as creative director it is my job to conceive the initial direction, it is not my job to dictate the illustrative concepts. Based on the communication criteria and my mentorship, and often working with a team, it is the illustrator who conceives and creates the compelling visuals that tells the better, bigger story in a succinct, creative and effective way.

Custom illustrations are a one-of-kind creative approach to making an unforgettable impression. They give a brand staying power and it is the illustrator’s contribution that has the power to give that brand a unique life.

February 22, 2017 by: Klaus Uhlig
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