How Tech Giants Like YouTube Use Illustration

Discover how eight of the world’s leading tech brands are upping their product game with illustrations. 

Gaby Araujo

More and more tech companies are recognizing the power of visual communication, and the appeal and charm of unique digital illustration styles. 

Most companies rely on illustrations to keep their products engaging while delivering key messages in a simple, visual way. 

We'll show you how eight of the world’s leading tech brands are elevating their product game with illustrations. 

Why the Tech Industry Is Embracing Illustration

Contrary to common belief, most tech companies don't sell hardware or devices. Instead, most tech products are…well, a piece of code.

Illustrations help companies build a strong brand image that connects with the target audience. A visual element can blend a poetic metaphor of your product benefits within real-world scenarios. It's just not about making your product look prettier, but more successful.

Take Gusto and Intercom as prime examples. Gusto's platform helps businesses onboard, pay, insure, and support their team, whereas Intercom allows companies to build better customer relationships through personalized communication experiences.

Gusto's whimsical illustrations

Looking at Gusto's landing page, there's no need to read every piece of text to understand what they have to offer. With the use of doodles, products become more human, approachable, and even fun, allowing customers to draw a mental image of themselves using a product. 

Take these two examples of how Intercom uses illustrations on both ads and blog posts. They give users an anticipated idea as to what it's all about before they even have to click.

Intercom's illustrations on ads and blog posts

Both Gusto and Intercom use exaggerated but playful illustration styles, avoiding realistic doodles that can feel like generic stock illustrations without a distinctive perspective. This way, they build a more remarkable brand experience and help customers decide whether they want to join the lifestyle proposed by the brand or not.

Digital Illustration Humanizes Tech Products and Brands

Aside from the fun and brightness that illustrations bring, there's something else that comes into play: the human touch. Illustrations often act as the bridge that connects humans to a product or company.

Some of the most powerful tech giants rely on visual elements to humanize their products and build successful brands with unique personalities. 

Let's take a look at some Fortune 500 companies in action.

YouTube

YouTube's large pool of video creators keeps growing every day. Fully aware of this growth, they have improved their onboarding process to add colorful, exciting characters to welcome new YouTubers.

YouTube's colorful illustration style

There's no better welcome than one with punchy copy and illustrations, and YouTube nails it! Their onboarding process remains distinct among other video-sharing platforms thanks to its style and striking colors.

Pretty unique, right?

Notion & Todoist

Imagine someone came into your life ten years ago and said, "You know that piece of paper you use to take notes on? I'm going to make a digital version of that!" It'd have been challenging to depict such a product and its potential, and it can still be confusing these days.

Here's where illustrations come in. Notion and Todoist use doodles to simplify complex ideas and send their stories across to users.

Notion illustrations created by Roman Muradov

Illustrations on Notion and Todoist show the human side of their product by depicting their users organizing and tracking their workflow. That way, their customers can fully relate and envision themselves using these must-have tools. 

Here's another unique way in which Todoist uses illustrations on their pricing page:

Todoist's simplified pricing page with illustrations

Running a lemonade stand? Gotcha. Then the free plan is a good fit for you because you're just getting started. What if you're a leading lemon supplier and distributor? Pick the business plan. Easy and quick, right?

This is how visual elements can complement your content and amplify the message you’re trying to deliver.

Mailchimp

With 11 million active users, Mailchimp is a game player in the tech industry! Unlike other platforms, Mailchimp prefers more abstract digital illustration styles because it helps them depict not solely the face of marketing, but also the way the platform works and functions online. 

Mailchimp's remarkable abstract illustrations

But, why are illustrations representing the most modern technology on the planet?

"Mailchimp has been one of the first big brands to understand the incredible storytelling levels that a drawing can reach, adding value to branding, packaging, and marketing strategies. When pictures and graphic design are not enough, illustration can work magic not only by filling a visual gap, but also connecting words and intent at the same time" said  Franz Lang, one of the artists who illustrated Mailchimp's rebrand.

Revolut

It's no secret that British FinTech Revolut targets young tech-savvy users. They do it so well that they are projected to have 16 million users by the end of 2020.

While working our way around the app, we discovered fun-looking elements —like a cheesy pizza—  that help turn the mathematical mumbo-jumbo of banking and finance into something that is relatable to our daily lives.

Revolut's playful storytelling with 3D illustrations

Just think of it this way: let's say you go to your closest bank. First, you go to the ATM and try to withdraw your money but the machine keeps rejecting your card. Tired, you decide to walk inside the bank and seek assistance from a human cashier, who's smiling and reassuring while she helps you sort out the problem, and eventually hands you the money you wanted to withdraw. Problem solved!

But, what happens with online-only banks? They mimic this warm human experience with art!

In Revolut’s case, illustrations give their product a quirky, real-world touch to make their users' experience less overwhelming.  It's a great mix of simplicity and expertise, all in one place.

Pitch

If there is one company that is establishing themselves as the next big thing in presentation tools it’s Pitch.

Pitch 3D art created by Anna and Arek Kajda

They know very well it isn't enough to show slides a la PowerPoint. On the contrary: Pitch uses savvy 3D illustrations throughout  their website to create a dynamic feel. 

if you're still asking yourself why you should embrace illustrations in product design, see what Anna and Arek Kajda, 3D illustrators at Pitch had to say:

"A good illustration in product design captures a complex story but in a visual way. To make it great, the illustration needs to do all of the above in a fun, sophisticated and unexpected way that triggers stronger emotions."

Illustration Makes Users Remember Your Product

The takeaway? All these illustrations have something in common: they inspire positive feelings about the product. That's digital illustrations' main benefit –and ultimate purpose– is to inspire your users to take action and make their experience remarkable.

Simply put, digital illustrations remind us that companies are run by human beings just like us!

It takes 5 minutes to see what users think about how their favorite products are using illustrations.

Now that you're ready to start using illustrations, check out our illustration systems that have been carefully created by incredible artists around the world or read our latest blog on 10 customizable illustrations for your projects.

Did we miss a company that is rocking illustrations? Send us a tweet—@blushdesignapp!

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