1st July 2019

Why illustration TRUMPS photography.

If a picture paints a thousand words then this resurgent artform is ‘THE’ medium.


Crafted communications are original, unique and in the true sense outstanding. Harnessing the talents and the power of great commissioned imagery demonstrates a distinct personality which is moulded specifically around, within and through a brand. Stock imagery is to quicker to attain and cheaper to acquire, but when brands commission and utilise crafted artistic talent to engage and communicate, the benefits are almost immediately obvious.

A picture truly is worth a thousand words, it’s a force multiplier. Imagery has a power to captivate, to raise awareness, provoke a reaction and ultimately, if the content is effective enough, elicit a response. A brand in possession of superior crafted creative work is a brand which gets responses.

The extent of the channels in which brands now seek consumer engagement is ever growing. Social media, digital banners, websites, microsites, apps, print, direct mail, TV etc etc. Cutting through the noise with consistent and engaging messaging is vital.

Illustration can arrest attention, charm, seduce, and delight across each and every one of these channels in a way that photography – for so long the creative default for designers – cannot hope to compete with.

Photographs communicate with the viewer in a direct manner. They are visually immediate and easily digestible. You recognise the familiar elements and you can instantly immerse in this world, small wonder that brands want you to imagine yourself there, with that product, in that scenario. And it’s a very impressive element of the creatives toolkit, if a little one dimensional.

Illustration is incredibly versatile in that it can find many different uses in design and creative engagement, it truly can leverage the design element for all it is worth. Images are such a key component of visual communication and illustration can make the image much easier to understand because it can smash the rules of representation. You can create a more cohesive set of branded images for an advertising campaign through crafted and distinctive illustration than distinctive photography. And furthermore, it’s often funnier or more engaging than a photograph. It thinks bigger and more daring thoughts.

Illustrations also have a unique ability to relate abstract concepts and ideas because they are not bound by reality. It is creatively boundless and doesn’t suffer from any constraints impinging upon the vision of the creative work.

In looking for new ways to present concepts and ideas in order to capture the attention of over stimulated consumers, illustration has not been as saturated as photography. So many photographic images tamely wash ashore from the ocean of messaging out there on the horizon. Illustration still has the power to crash upon us, even to allow the brave to surf it’s majestic splendour.


A great example of illustrative power is to be found in comparing the now iconic imagery of Barack Obama first created during his Presidential campaign. It’s inspiring and spawned a thousand copycats as well as propelling Obama to office. It captured perfectly the mood and atmosphere surrounding the man.

And now we have….well, I’ll let a picture speak a thousand words.