Something you’l no doubt have noticed over the last few years is the significant increase in the use of iconography design and infographic design. And as a consequence a reduction in the use of photography. It’s been a subtle shift, but something we’ve seen as pretty significant.
Photography used to be one of the main visuals tools in helping communicate, differentiate, and build a design style. But we all know that sourcing unique imagery through the use of the professional photographer can be expensive, certainly by employing a good one who knows how to capture imagery that truly is unique or really does capture the essence of your brand or product or service.
Then along came online image libraries. Cheap ones. Getty used to have it covered, but market forces led to the rise of many, many more. Prices came down. But so did the problems of sourcing unique (or as unique as you can get) images, both in terms of actually finding them amongst the millions of images available and in finding an image that does the particular job you want it to.
The result? A host of similar images telling a similar story.
That’s where iconography has come into things.
With the ability to relatively quickly design something unique to your brand, you can have a range of vector iconography that you can own. Furthermore, in the digital world we live in, iconography is fast becoming a key tool in providing signposts to your web visitors to help them quickly understand what it is you are selling and to then find it.
As a graphic design agency we love them. We truly do. As with all things you can spot poor iconography or an infographic from good ones. And yes, there are some typical styles evolving within markets and industries that can lead to same problem as imagery use – not being unique. But as a graphic device they are, importantly, something that your customers are seeing a lot more of and they are therefore familiar with. And in a digital world they are an excellent device to help you effectively communicate or direct your customers to important information.
Some top reasons why iconography design works;
- They can be branded to fit your brand, and in doing so they can deliver a coherent visual style unique to you.
- They can be visually linked to your logo, further strengthening and adding depth to your overall branding design.
- Icons are ideal for use in the digital world, acting as sign posts to content and as buttons (think how you navigate a website using your fingers on a tablet….chunky graphical buttons are easy to use).
- Depending upon what you are selling, iconography can be used to quickly communicate your range of products or services, helping categorise what it is you offer.
- Iconography design is part of the ‘now’ so they are in the public consciousness. Like most design styles they may well have a shelf life. But if you consider how iconography is being used by huge brands (Microsoft Windows tiles or Apple apps anyone?), there’s no getting away from the fact that iconography and infographic design is of the moment.
We certainly see iconography design and infographic design as an important tool when considering the graphic design of marketing material, website design, or branding. Getting the balance right and ensuring iconography design is used appropriately is key. There will always be a case for good photography. But equally, nowadays, that says the same about iconography.