How illustration can set you apart from your competitors

03.03.20 | By Sharma Heylen-Silvia | design

How illustration can set you apart from your competitors.

Illustrate your difference.

If you want people to buy what you’re selling, they need to be attracted to buy in to what you’re selling. 

In a world where your brand can be anything you want it to be, how are you going to stand out and be seen?

One way: Illustration.

Not to be confused with its eccentric cousin ‘Art’, illustration is an effective communication tool. It has purpose. 

No purpose? No problem, but can you just hold the door while we let the Art Critics in? Ta. 

Illustration has the power to communicate a message or idea quickly, cleverly, and distinctly. Things like style and technique are important, but the purpose behind the illustration is what people will connect with - and what will drive home those sales, too. 

Let’s break down four key areas where Illustration can really build a brand. 


Stand out from your competitors. Use it as a point of difference in a saturated market or space where illustration doesn’t usually live. Take the Mailchimp rebrand. Using a bold limited colour palette and expressive, wacky illustrations, this CRM company have taken a previously sterile industry and injected some life into it. This is especially noticeable when you compare them side by side with their competitors Salesforce and Emarsys who definitely outweigh Mailchimp when it comes to their actual tech offering. By using illustration that is off-beat and bold, Mailchimp can communicate the intricacies of email marketing in a simple and relatable way attracting over 20 million users. 


When done well, Illustration has the power to create a striking image that’s unforgettable, forging brand recognition and recall. Minor Figures uses unexpected illustration to create a set of memorable characters targeted at in-the-know millennial baristas - and their friends. 

Emotional Connection

Yes, you want a piece of visual communication to be memorable and different, but if you can make them feel something then that’s like winning the branding lottery. Take the 2019 Mother’s Day Campaign from Chanel featuring children’s drawings of iconic Chanel products. It came about after many of their staff’s own children would produce their own drawings. This is one of those ideas that could have been swotted down like a fly in a brainstorm, but the campaign that achieved squillions (official measurement) of impressions highlights the importance of exploring unconventional ideas. 

Emotion doesn’t just have to pull on your heartstrings (or ovaries). It can simply be entertaining. AHM is health insurance made simple. By mirroring this value of simplicity in their illustration style, they have created a bold campaign worth remembering. The result? Minimal hand-drawn line illustrations that are relatable and wry. 


Illustration can be more efficient than words at communicating a message, because it relies on a pre-acknowledged context within modern popular culture. 

Like this minimal packaging design for Vivevive

Standing out in a crowd of loud, enthusiastically feminine products, this brand utilises simple illustration through colour and shape to show underwear in a charmingly ambiguous way. No copy necessary; the viewer understands what this product is and wants to know more. 

So, whether you’re wanting to stand out from your competitors, tug on some virtual heartstrings or connect with users through assumed visual recognition, Illustration can tick all your boxes. And draw them, too.

Want to get creative with your next campaign? Say hello today.


Image Credits: (left) Llama Naturals by Willow & Blake, (right) Yoshitaka Amano for Vogue Italia

Related articles.

  1. 01.06.23 | business

    5 innovative consumer health brands shaking up the industry.

    Read more01.06.23 | business
    Read 5 innovative consumer health brands shaking up the industry.
  2. 17.02.22 | social media

    TikTok, subcultures and the power of the niche.

    Read more17.02.22 | social media
    Read TikTok, subcultures and the power of the niche.
  3. See more articles

Download our Health and Wellness Brand Report