Corporate design with flexible illustration modular systems

Illustrations as a design element of one's own corporate identity are becoming increasingly popular. They are a powerful tool to reinforce a visual character and effectively shape a brand's identity.

Modular systems are particularly suitable for a comprehensive, flexible and adaptable corporate design: The elements can be exchanged and combined with one another, and illustrations can be created more easily and quickly with them, since the design and the motif development follow clear rules that are set out in a style guide are fixed. The common thread must be recognizable in all branded areas such as the logo, color palette or fonts, as well as in the illustrations. It is important that every user, whether employee or customer, understands the illustrated icons and key visuals straight away.

The own design language creates a strong recognition value for the brand. This is represented in the illustrations by objects, characters, colours and symbols that the viewer can clearly assign to the company.

In order to create a modular system, it must first be clear who the brand is - how does the brand present itself, where does it want to go, who is it addressing? Then the existing corporate design and corporate identity, in particular color schemes and typography, are used. Certain moods and feelings are assigned to the motifs, since the image material (if it does not serve a purely informative purpose) is primarily emotional and generates attention. This preparatory work is particularly important for the creation of a modular system - the entire system must be well thought out so that all interfaces fit together. Each element must always be designed and illustrated with the big picture in mind.

All future graphic elements can be easily integrated in a modular system by translating them into the existing design language using the style guide. This ensures that all newly added illustrations fit the brand and the new branding, and you can react spontaneously to new events.

TIMO MEYER // NFON

For the rebranding of the cloud PBX provider NFON, Timo Meyer designed a modular system consisting of over 100 icons and small illustrations based on the elements of the NFON logo.

The complete set should represent and support the customer - both in terms of look and specifically by considering the new logo that should appear in the icons. The graphics should be available in two sizes in order to be able to address simple as well as more complex topics.

As with any icon system, Timo created the motifs in a consistent style and level of detail. Everything is based on a grid that ensures that minimum distances and line widths are observed - so the icons appear as if they were made of one piece. There was also the challenge of incorporating the logo into each icon. In order to act as flexibly as possible, Timo created two new hooks from the individual elements of the logo, which consists of two hooks. One is reminiscent of the tick symbol, the other is well suited for an arrowhead with its equilateral legs. These two elements can easily be integrated into many different graphics.

The system must fit the brand and the product. Timo designed it so that it remains as flexible as possible without becoming arbitrary. First, together with the customer, he worked out a style based on two or three example icons. These then served as a basis and orientation point for further work. If the set is as extensive as in this example, he also creates a mood board with all the work related to the project in order to be able to ensure at all times that he remains true to the planned style and look and that no graphics fall out of line .

FRITZI STUKE // SUNEXPRESS

In the next example we show you a modular system by Fritzi Stuke. The goal was to find a visual language that builds on the customer's existing corporate identity, develops it further and ultimately sets itself apart from the competition. To meet these requirements, Fritzi created a new look that replaces the previously used photographs with illustrations.

The style should be quite simple and the client provided various keywords to be associated with the illustration style, such as "human touch", "innovative" or "easy to understand". The recognition value in all motifs is the key element for every modular system. In Fritzi's case, the greatest recognition value lies in the combination of color world and illustration: the characters with the big eyes and the cheerful, light imagery..

FABIA MATVEEV & MR. OLLO // SAMSUNG CHARACTER GENERATOR

After Fabia Matveev had created over 40 character illustrations for various Samsung employees in recent years (mostly animated by Mr. OLLO), 120 heads, upper bodies and lower bodies were now based on the existing characters for an online generator illustrated, with which Samsung employees can create their own avatar from 64,000 different possible combinations.

The illustrations should be adjusted so that all 40 upper bodies can be combined with all 40 heads and all 40 lower bodies. In order to create the widest possible range and selection of interesting combinations and to ensure that every Samsung employee can find a combination that suits him or her, the individual body parts have also been designed differently and provided with different accessories. The colours can later be individually selected and combined by the user of the online generator from the Samsung color palette.

The red thread that supports this modular system in its effect are the stylistically uniformly illustrated characters, which are flat and greatly simplified, but always have one or the other interesting detail. The individual body parts fit together exactly at the interfaces and all combinations work so well together.

Here, too, the advantages of a modular system for the corporate design can be clearly seen - in the possibility of reacting flexibly to the most diverse requirements in communication and showing diversity and variety.

Mr. OLLO put all the characters together in an animation:

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