Guest post: 5 Ways to Use Illustration for Your Business

Guest post: 5 Ways to Use Illustration for Your Business

I couldn’t do the work that I do without knowing some incredibly talented people.  Being an ace at social media is all very well, but you have to have the content to back it up.  I work with designers, developers, film and audio producers, photographers and writers to create brilliant content for a client’s digital strategy.

Over the next few months I’ll be inviting some of the creatives I work with to give their expert advice.  First up Michelle Abrahall.  Not only is she an incredibly talented graphic designer, she also resides in the office next door and regularly gives me biscuits.  Here she explains why having your own illustrations could do wonders for your business.

5 Ways to Use Illustration for Your Business

When it comes to commissioning visuals for business, most people think of graphic design. You get a bespoke logo made, and maybe follow up with business cards or a brochure.

But have you ever thought about how your business could use illustration?

They can be a great way to boost your branding. A lot of big brands have cottoned on to how using illustrations can help them stand out in the marketplace – look at the lovely animated drawings used in the latest TSB adverts. And anyone that uses Mailchimp will be familiar with the cheeky monkey that gives you a rockin’ hand gesture when you schedule a campaign.

Using illustration doesn’t only have to be for the big brands, however. Here are 5 ways you can use illustration in your business, whatever the size.

  1. Infographics

Illustration #1

Lots of businesses use infographics to illustrate key findings from research, as they make even the driest of data much more appealing. They can also be used to show a process in a simple way, like this ‘circular economy’ infographic I created for Valpak.


  1. Maps

Illustration #2

If, like me, your office location is a little tucked away, a cute illustrated map is the perfect solution. It shows a lot more effort than just emailing someone a link to Google! They can also be used to illustrate the area your business covers, or where you’re able to deliver to.


  1. Brand mascots

Illustration #3Small businesses often overlook the potential of a brand mascot. They’re a fantastic way to inject personality and warmth into your brand, like this cute jack Russell terrier I created for an accountancy firm. His name is Merry and he appears on all their Christmas cards, flyers and event signage!



  1. Icons

Illustration #4

Yes, you could use stock imagery of icons for the various sectors and services for your website. But bespoke illustrated icons can be tailored to your branding and stop your website looking too ‘off the shelf’, like these fun images commissioned by P4D couriers.


  1. Storytelling

Illustration #5Comic-strip style illustrations are a very effective method of storytelling and can simplify even complicated processes. Warwick University had some very serious-sounding guidelines around research ethics, such as their anti-plagiarism policy. Adapting them into eye-catching comic-strip style posters made the subject matter much more accessible and engaging.


Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas about how your business could use illustration. It could really help you stand out from the crowd!

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with Michelle or pop in and see us (you’ve got the map).  I’ll make sure she has plenty of biscuits in.

How NOT to ‘PEPSI’ your social media video content….

How NOT to ‘PEPSI’ your social media video content….

Social Media Video Content by Emma Spellman

Our guest blog this week is brought to you by Emma Spellman from Oojamaflick

Marketing gurus spend months agonising over their client’s campaigns, but it’s the short films and social media video content that really bring on the cold sweats! If some of the highest paid marketing minds (cough PEPSI) can’t pull off a social media film, then what hope in hell is there for the rest of us? The good news is there’s boundless amounts of hope because we have something they don’t, ‘common sense’ – now there’s a creative concept.

Whether you’re a new venture at the start of your social media life or an established business changing tack to keep up with the pace of social media engagement – boosting your online presence with social media films is an absolute must. You don’t want to make a ‘Pepsi’ of it though and you’re terrified at the thought of looking like an arse on camera!!

Keep it real

Your customers really want to see your lighter side. The social media films that get shared, liked, loved and remembered are the ones that drop the facade. Forget this idea that you have to behave in a certain way because you’re a business. Everyone has a personality and trying to hide that on film will do you a disservice. I film a lot of ‘meet the team’ films where colleagues team build in all sorts of active ways or have a fun lunch date or coffee together. It’s here I see the real people. Real emotion. You’re a professional outfit – there’s no doubt about that, but there’s a lot of very different and amazing personalities under one roof and it’s these personalities that make the cogs turn. Let viewers go behind-the-scenes. If your Team Leader ‘show jumps’ and your Graphic Designer does ‘stand up’ – these are great visuals and great stories. Look what Strictly did for Ed Balls. 
OK – so you’re reading the above paragraph and you’re pulling some faces along the lines of, yeh right – there’s no way I’m doing that! The other option is to think about a client that really inspires you. Is there someone you’ve worked with that has truly benefitted from your business; someone that makes your day better and leaves an imprint on you every time you meet? If you feel like that then viewers will too. Let’s get them on film instead. An inspired, honest client testimonial is easy to film and when you extract the right soundbites in the edit with beautiful, relative visuals you have an impactful social media film to shout about.
I follow a beauty salon’s social media updates avidly, purely because they film product ‘role plays’ on their mobiles and they’re absolutely hilarious. They get their willing clients involved and create scenarios about fake-tan sprays and eye brow pomades that you just can’t forget and come to think of it I’ve purchased both products!  Now that’s a win, win strategy. The camera phone is an extremely effective marketing tool and you can do some beautiful imagery with it. The film Tangerine, entirely shot on the iPhone, won an Oscar! 

Keep it beautiful

There’s always the ‘beautiful images of your amazing business’ option, accompanied by powerful on-screen text. Let’s see those products up close and let’s see what you do in a visually exciting way. Get creative with words and grab your customers from frame 1. Keep it really short and leave them wanting more. It’s really easy to create this type of film and with some clever thinking you can roll out a stunning visual narrative. You don’t need thousands of pounds to make social media films; of course you want them to look amazing, but the idea is that they’re fast turnaround and they reflect the ever changing landscape of your business. You need good ideas, clever ideas, mind-blowing ideas. The idea is ‘everything’ and you can leave us filmmakers to worry about getting that idea on screen.  

Keep it short

The other thing you have to remember is this – and this makes me want to cry, to be frank! You do it, I do it, your customers will do it! We browse social media whilst we’re already doing something else. All those hours spent grafting and crafting a film and to think nine times out of ten it will be watched with no sound on a train, in the park, at the pub, or half-asleep on the sofa whilst you’re watching Game of Thrones!! Unless it grabs you quickly…it might not even be watched to the end of its little life. Your loyal customers ‘should’ stay on-board, it’s new customers you want to worry about. They’re picky! They don’t have much time and they’re already busy scrolling up the for the next best thing, which might just be a video of ‘the uncensored reviewer’ talking about how to prevent poo smells. There’s no hard science here, but I’m certain of three things –
keep it real, keep it short, keep it beautiful.  
Emma Spellman runs Oojamaflick films and  and has spent a career filming, producing and directing documentaries for ITV, BBC, Ch4 and Sky TV.
If you’d like to see more from Emma, or talk to her about your social media films, get in touch with her at, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter & Instagram