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It is important to bear in mind what illustration actually is? Illustration in its purest form is simply, the art of drawing.
Illustration is used to decorate, clarify, communicate, and portray an opinion/message or to simply explain. And here at Silver we understand that the right illustration can deliver the most compelling and engaging visual for maximum impact.
‘Content is King’ in all of the illustrations and infographics we create here at Silver. Customer requirements drive us to look for inspiration in the digital world in which we are immersed – constantly connected and plugged into our surroundings, whether it’s sharing information online with friends, or exploring somewhere new, phone in hand.
For me, one of the big current trends within illustration and the digital world is the use of natural images, collections of visual snapshots of natural environments for use within our work. Nature is pure and beautiful yet unforgiving, whether it’s the colour schemes it offers, or the wonderful variety of life on earth. I’m particularly fond of the eyedropper tool I use to collect the colours for my palette. Adobe has developed an app called Kuler which captures colours from real life through a camera, synchronises and saves saves them within a personal collection, to be easily imported as a swatch for use with Adobe CC. Never before has it been so easy to create design based on actual colour schemes that surround us. I am always snapping away with my phone, capturing notes and screen grabs of anything that inspires me.
There are some things that hold true no matter where you are in the world. Trends are impacting design on a global level. A portrait of the Queen has been released this week, by acclaimed photographer David Bailey to mark her 88th birthday. Even this has been given a stark black and white treatment, cropped to a square format, mimicking the ‘Instagram style’ we are all so aware of. The popularity of mobile phone apps, such as Instagram and other lomography style retro filters continue to snowball. Searches for Instagram-eque imagery were up 661% in 2013 alone. The Silver Instagram account is updated daily with insights into the goings on, including the odd Fat Friday!
Another massive current trend, something that we are seeing more and more of within the world of communications, is flat design elements. The move toward User interface (UI) inspired design continues to grow, at an incredible rate. Flat, geometric shapes, utilising interesting and unique colour palettes seems the direction the design world is heading. Kick started by the recent IOS refresh from Apple, more companies are following suit. The thin, outline stroke style has been encouraged by a recent yet brilliant addition to Adobe Illustrator CC. The live round corner feature enables shapes to be tweaked and corners rounded off with control and precision for the first time.
Icons and flat infographic elements dominate on websites and mobile platforms. This is reflected in some of the recent work being produced by the digital team at Silver. Whether developing a set of icons to be used on a 1Spatial rebrand, a spot illustration to accompany some important data on an EMC presentation or a clean, contemporary parallax site for EC Streetwear. All of these examples are embracing these trends within contemporary graphic design.
Pushing boundaries and fresh thinking is what we are all about at Silver and we love customers who aren’t afraid to try something new, safe in the knowledge that we are rigorous about the application of their brand guidelines. It’s great to go exploring while always mindful of the original purpose of the communication. There is no handbook for true creativity and ‘free thinking’. We learn by creating and discovering what really works. As Grace Hopper famously said “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’.” If you can portray information in a new and exciting way, it is always going to get chosen over an obvious, overplayed outcome. We never stop having fun and we always remember the basic principles of design. Clean, structured design with hierarchy and meaning. Whether print, web, direct mail, email or infographic. Be you, not them.
Aaron Miller, Creative Designer, food lover, fitness freak, illustrator extraordinaire, a vital part of the team at Silver.