illustration in design

According to our online bible (, as well as a plethora of reputable web and design blogs, illustration has surged in popularity, cementing its well-deserved place in a designer’s toolkit.

In our field of work we see many trends come and go that help to shape the way we communicate ideas. Much like fashion, some design styles become popular for a few years and phase out just to come back again 10 years later. Case in point – the recent revival of Brutalism in web design. But back to illustration…

Illustration has always been a key ingredient, but can rise and fall as a considered approach over time. We believe illustration will always have its place, regardless of the trends. It’s always best to look at design as a solution to a problem, and often the problem requires a personal, hand-drawn touch – especially for clients seeking an alternative to the digital revolution.

Within illustration, micro-trends also rise and fall. Evidence shows that current illustration trends (2017) include stippling, geometric patterns, surrealism, calligraphy, multi-exposures, unique perspectives, 80’s flashbacks, game-inspired styles, subdued pallets, and flat design.

Lawnbrook Estate recently gave us the opportunity to utilise our illustrative side, which in turn inspired us to evolve our design team to include a specialist in illustration – Adam Chin. The Lawnbrook Estate wine label project was a great opportunity to work as a team on each element of the design process.

After brainstorming our concepts as a team, it was over to Adam to complete the initial illustrations. The aim was to create original whimsical characters that clearly represented the stories of each wine. The final illustrations were then coloured and textured digitally by senior designer, Matt, using a combination of brush painting, image collage and textural cloning. Each type of wine required a different graphical style, which was enhanced through the use of varying source material and finishing processes (see the full wine label suite here).

Once the final labels were illustrated and coloured, they were subject to a range of alterations and edits in order to solidify the complete set. Additional printing techniques such as gold foiling were also used to enhance areas of the design, as well as assisting in the overall completed look. We were very happy with the outcome, not to mention the couple of bottles of red we used to ‘research’ the product. We look forward to designing an anti-hangover brand next!


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