Challenge: To create an illustration style

Reason: To allow us to introduce a unique freshness to our brand.

Illustration has become a core component to help create an identity that is both unique and glorious in its appearance. Introducing illustration into your brands blood, allows the design team to break the doors of perception and travel into an area that was once only inhabited by the surrealists of years gone by. Ok, enough of the regurgitated artistic spiel ;)

Some styles explored

Illustration Style

Our style is unique to Qstream. It’s friendly and fun but corporate enough to show we’re serious about what we do. We have developed a style that is recognisable and by using a visual hierarchy of styles, it allows us to use a broad range of different styles but still remain consistent.

Our uniqueness

We use our illustration style to inject personality. From powerpoint presentations, to user onboarding, our illustration style is used to show who we are and what we’re about. We think carefully about the metaphors we use for our illustration sets. That tied with our style of quite abstract shapes and colour usage sets us apart from the rest. There is a fine line between coming across too playful so we need to be careful about how we approach the technique when creating our illustrations.

The rational of an illustration

Our choices

By developing 3 different types of consistent iconography/illustration styles, it allows us to have a responsive style depending on it’s use case. For instance, on a small bullet point list, we’d use our smallest style, but for a large scene illustration we’d use our main illustration style. Therefore we can offer a range of choices but still remain consistent. You can see an overview of the styles available here.

Our palette

We have a simple colour palette. We use our core colour palette to push our brand identity as much as possible. It helps use reinforce our primary colour set. But we bring a twist to our style by allowing these colours to overlap giving us some more diversity to play with.

Our colour palette in all its glory

Illustration Types

Spot Illustrations

They are used to showcase specific features or to help educate the user in times of confusion or lifelessness. They’re straightforward and generally to the point but the level of detail in each is enough to introduce depth and allow us to tell a story. We try not to complicate the metaphor though as we feel that is counterproductive.

Sample of illustration style

Large Icons

Large icons are used to draw the eye to specific areas of interest on the feature. They are not used to explain, or to divulge too much information. More so to highlight a certain component. They are always straightforward and never overcomplicated.

Sample of large icon style

Small Icons

Small icons are nothing more than glorified glyph icons. They are used for lists, or for highlighting areas, but are not to be of a considerable size that they would be too noticeable. Simplicity is key.

Sample of small icon style

Scene Illustrations

This style generally doesn’t get used a great deal. It’s basically an expanded version of our illustration style, but we try to introduce another layer of detail to allow us to inject more information. Our style should never be disrupted by overuse of elements or detail. Getting the right about of detail is key.

How do we see it developing

Brands develop, so I’d like to imagine our illustration style will develop alongside it. The style is still in its infancy. We’re still trying to find it’s vulnerabilities and limitations. As we expand, and the core illustration set expands, I expect it to deviate. I have no doubt that random and off the wall requests will come in from different areas of the business. It will be up to us as a design team to protect the consistency as a whole, to deflect anything that we feel may harm the overall style. Not an easy task, but nothing is when you’re trying to keep design consistency at business level.

A concept of our illustration style in use

Product Designer // Illustrator // Dublin, Ireland //

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