Have you noticed anything weird on the timelines of our design communities? Almost every tech-related illustration looks (pretty much) the same.
Are we in the age where all illustrations will look like our UI elements few months/years ago — materialized and bootstrapped? Can this be good for our creative development or it’s just a passing trend?
With that in mind, here’s the short list of what are the most common illustration styles we can see on the web these days.
Style №1 — people in focus
This is probably the most common style we see these days. People interacting with UI, software, hardware and tech stuff. Illustrations are flat, colors are either pastel or vibrant and much alive, with many organic shapes involved in the scene.
You can see beautiful illustrations on the similar topic by Jack Daly for InVisions The Design Genome Project. Vivid colors, perfectly captured moment and ambient with smooth pen work. Of course, people are in the focus of his work for this project.
Style №2 – quirky illustration and photo-collages
This one is relatively new on the web, but familiar with everyone who designed DIY old school cut/paste fanzines.
Sometimes almost chaotic hand-drawn elements are combined with the clear static image. A lot of doodling and quirky cut/paste motives create a strong visual statement.
Our style is inspired by the moment when you first have an idea, and serves as a reminder that the “canvas is only blank until you make the first mark.
This is my favorite style since I did a lot of cut/paste in the past. I really love to see how classical old-school graphic design ideas are transformed and presented to the online world.
Style №3 – an isometric world
One of the trends which are in the photo-finish with our №1 style.
Evolution of isometric illustrations can be brought down to flat > flat 2.0 > and a Google Material Design (version 1&2).
Mathematically and geometrically precise with the perspective grid the style is a great way to present (sometimes boring) topics to the users and viewers. Presenting three-dimension object in two dimensions gives a boring flat design a new depth and life.
Vibrant colors, sense of space and action is a characteristic of this style. It’s visually strong and in some cases it could overtake hero space if not balanced well.
Thing is, this style is a time-consuming process and if not executed well it could lead to the incoherent and inconsistent result.
“Everything is a remix”
Unification and standardization is a great way to avoid mistakes and problems, but following the rules, someone else crafted for them doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work on every project.
Companies which created their own visual style and set a trend (we follow later) had their own story and a very good reason behind developing the particular style.
While that is true, we can’t ignore the trends; we want to be in trend, our clients want to be in trend — until the new trend arrives.
Good artists copy. Great artists s̶t̶e̶a̶l̶ remix.
— (almost) Pablo Picasso
Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a remix is a great example of how we can enhance our own ideas by using someone else’s legacy and achieve great results.