Unit 1: Intro to Design
Unit 2: Figma Fundamentals
Unit 3: The Creative Process
Unit 4: Color Theory
Unit 5: Introduction to Illustrator
Unit 6: Typography
Unit 7: Layout
Unit 8: Typesetting
Unit 9: User Interface Design
Unit 10: Design Systems
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Using Illustrations in Layout

In this lesson, we will talk about how to use illustrations effectively in layouts.

Using Illustrations with Photos

It is common to find both illustrations and photos in one layout design. Some businesses need to show real photos in addition to custom illustrations designed for their brand in order to show their products or services in realistic settings.

For example, the website Zocdoc uses both illustrations and photos. As a doctor’s appointment booking platform, the company has to show that patients will be interacting with real doctors. But in order to create a more unique brand identity, a custom-designed illustration set is the preferred approach than using too many generic medical stock photos.

When deciding if combining illustration with photos is the right layout approach for the project you are designing, designers should find out if the nature of the brand calls for photography to be present. For example, if it is a company that primarily sells services or products that are abstract, which can be any industry, but a few examples would include the tech industry and financial industry, then a primarily illustration based approach can work very well.

If the business needs to show human aspects to connect with customers but desires to have a more unique branding with custom illustrations, a combined approach would be a good choice.

Stock Illustrations vs. Custom Illustrations

When it comes to illustrations, there are primarily two categories. One is stock illustrations that can be purchased online and the other one is custom illustrations created by an illustration just for the project or brand.

Stock illustrations are way more affordable, but can run into the problem of looking like another brand if they have been used over and over again.

Custom illustrations are excellent when the right illustrator is identified. The downside is of course that it is more expensive. Bigger brands with larger budgets often find themselves hiring illustrators by project basis because they value uniqueness in branding.

Customizing Stock Illustrations

There is a middle ground between stock illustration and custom illustration. A talented designer may not be an illustrator, but has the ability to customize stock illustrations based on the brand and project’s needs.

With excellent Adobe Illustrator skills, designers can easily download illustrations, pick them apart, reorganized elements, recolor the artwork and put it back together for the brand. This will still not be as great as custom illustrations, but better than downloading illustrations online and use it without much modification.

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