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Custom illustrations are important in UX design

illustration of three men discussing work

Custom illustrations

Web trends 2018, suggest custom illustrations will become increasingly popular in the digital industry, not just as art but as visual information. So many of us are familiar with the phrase – ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’

High bounce rates and low customer engagement have proposed an opportunity to use illustrations for not only, catching the users eye, but also as a form of communication.

Did you know, the most recognised meanings of the verb to “illustrate” is:

  • ‘clarity’
  • ’to provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate’
  • ‘to make clear by giving or by serving as an example or instance.


This clearly shows the diverse potential of illustration in UI/UX projects. No matter where the illustrations appear, the basics remain the same.

“The aim of an illustration is to enlighten, clarify and deliver a message via visual elements”

The Details Matter

Highly detailed illustrations are incredible when executed properly. They should be aesthetically pleasing, captivating for the majority of viewers and a functional element within the UI.

airbnb restaurants

Curated Restaurants – Airbnb by Jonas Mosesson

The theory behind illustration on websites or apps is to provide the user with a piece of information faster and easier than it could happen with text. If the user does not understand the illustration, there is no reason to have it. The aim is to engage the user and allow strong messages to be translated faster through imagery.

Using illustration in UI can fulfil multiple user needs, that is why it is so popular in UX. We have listed 5 tips to consider when the illustration is applied in the user interface:

  1. Meaningful
  2. Unambiguous
  3. Clarifying
  4. Not overloading the screen
  5. Improve usability


Below are some more great examples of custom illustrations across the web.


Worldpackers by Jonny Czar


Illustration by Vera Voishvilo


Indigo by Nata Szczepanski

visual recognition ui

Visual Recognition by Lunamik

Invision Design Leadership by Jack Daly


Illustrations are usually utilized in a user interface to provide visual support to the subject, event and/or features of the website. Any element of the interface should be purposeful and functional in improving the usability, giving a positive user experience and problem-solving.

Illustrations can be used to support many features such as tutorials, on-boarding and reward schemes to name a few, but their purpose in the interface should be considered with the user in mind at each stage of the design process.

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