The phrase well-known all over the world and claiming that “...a picture is worth a thousand words” is still popular and actual nowadays, getting more and more shades of meaning with human progress. People still get attracted with visual images such as pictures and photos faster than with the copy, in lots of cases image is recognized and understood more quickly, and even more, it is able to satisfy not only informative but also aesthetic needs of the recipient. Taking this into account, today we would like to consider some functions of illustration in perspective of modern UI/UX design. The essence of illustration
According to the definition of Merriam-Webster dictionary, the verb "illustrate" in its wide-spread and most recognized meanings means "to clarify"; "to make clear by giving or by serving as an example or instance"; "to provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate" ; "to show clearly". However, it should be remembered that initially it derived from Latin "illustrare" meaning "light up, enlighten, illuminate". Although it is the obsolete meaning now, it really adds much to all the diverse potential of illustration in digital graphic design, in particular for UI/UX projects. Historically, illustration has a long and amazing path and perhaps could be included into the list of the most diverse directions in art. On the basis of its progress in print production like books, comics, magazines and newspapers, advertising materials and so on, illustration as the sphere of visual art found the new lease of life with the development of technology. The design tasks got even more challenging and therefore interesting. Digital illustration as well as the platforms for which it had to be created brought new horizons in this sort of art.
Sketches for UI illustrations Anyway, no matter where illustrations appeared, how and for what purpose they were created, the basics were still the same: the aim of illustration was to enlighten, to clarify, to deliver the message by means of visual elements. In modern graphic design, therefore, illustration is an image which creates a visual message. To make the illustration functional, this image should be easily recognizable and preferably the information it transfers should be decoded similarly if not identically by different viewers. Earlier we have already published the article about such small but highly meaningful visual elements as icons, their types, functions and vital role in creating efficient UI/UX solutions. As well as the icons, illustrations, mostly being more detailed and artistic images, also have important functions behind them and often become the effective way to boost usability and at the same way to present nice artistic elements. Features
Illustration used as a part of the interface should become a working functional element. Making the decision in favor of using illustration of any kind on the screen or a webpage, the designer has to think thoroughly how to take everything possible from its broad potential. Illustration in most cases becomes the efficient way to provide the user with a piece of information faster and easier than it could happen with the text. Using illustration in layout, it is possible to fulfill multiple user needs that is why it is so popular in user interfaces of different kinds. So, to become an efficient element of a layout, illustration applied in user interface should be: - meaningful - recognizable - preferably straightforward and unambiguous - clarifying - attractive - harmonic and corresponding with general stylistic concept of the interface - improving usability and user experience in general - not overloading the screen or page.
UI illustration for Toonie Alarm Considering these positions, let's look at some practices of using illustration in design. Mascots and characters
Perhaps, one of the most efficient ways to apply illustration techniques in design both as a visual and functional element are mascots of different types. Mascots are images, usually personified, which in most cases represent the brand, product or service identity and therefore become its symbolic convention via all the application or website.