ILLUSTRATION : Illustrators

Every illustrator works in a slightly different way – especially when they are developing original artwork. 
Here’s one common approach: 
A designer includes a sample illustration within their design proposal.
They will try to find an illustration that compliments their design – it will probably not be the ‘actual’ illustration but a sample of the same technique, or colourway.

It’s important to analyse the design and illustration separately to decide if they fit the brief.

The design direction may be approved, but the illustration technique may not be liked/appropriate. In this case, a discussion about types of illustrations/appropriate techniques and likes and dislikes should help resolve the issue. At this stage it may be useful for the designer to submit a few alternatives for discussion.

Once the design direction and the illustration technique are approved, the illustration brief needs to be honed. At this stage the designer may introduce the illustrator directly into the discussions, or they may choose to be the intermediary. Either way is right, it depends on the project and the amount of involvement the client expects.

Decisions need to be made on how you are going to use the illustration. Use will dictate cost. (see Buying illustration).

Once the illustrator has been chosen, it is usual to see further examples of their work at a briefing session. This meeting should also include discussions on client expectations and deadline. If it is a high-cost item, it may be wise to include the key decision-maker in the discussions.

The illustrator will usually prepare thumbnails or rough sketches before final work is undertaken. The accuracy of these sketches depends on the illustration technique and the illustrator’s methodology. Discussion at this stage ensures that that the final illustration will fit the brief. Again, it's all about managing expectations.

Briefing an illustrator

If you have very specific requirements you can prepare a brief for an illustrator as part of the initial design brief.

The brief will need to cover a range of areas that are specific to illustration such as useage rights, reproduction types etc.

Download a guide for briefing an illustrator.


Design Business Council (dbc) workshops

Preparing a design brief

Evaluating a design presentation

The dbc is a professional development industry body that helps organisations work with designers. The dbc has a series of workshops that will assist you prepare a brief and then evaluate a presentation.

For more detail on the workshops...