UPDATE: I’ve tried to update this yearly, and elected to create a 2020 version of Big Brands using Illustration on my personal blog (I’ve gotta get some eyeballs somehow!). I strongly encourage you to use that resource if you’re hoping to collect a bunch of links to make the case for illustration to your boss or just see how big brands are using illustration right now.
This post will be fairly brief with less visuals then usual, as I just wanted to capture a bullet list of some major brands that are using illustration in their products and/or on the web in 2018. I’ll omit obvious brands like https://www.newyorker.com/ and major retail brands, as this post is more concerned with the company or product having to do with the web. Finally, I’ll attempt to keep updating this as I find more notable brands usage of illustration this year…
- Google has introduced illustration into the onboarding parts of many of their products. Google Goals specifically uses illustration. Don’t forget of course Google Doodles which has always been a thing!
- Facebook is using a combination of illustration and animation in their brands. An example of this can be seen by visiting their branding site. Here’s an illustrator who apparently did some work for their Business Interface Guidelines group. I’ve also been seeing illustrations for the “celebrate your friendship” feature but haven’t been able to locate those
- Thumbtack has recently rebranded their illustration style with the help of Krystal Lauk.
- Apple WWDC 2018 at time of writing has a nice down shot illustration
- WeTransfer uses illustration quite nicely throughout their entire web presence
- Shopify has done a lot to introduce tasty illustrations in to their product—especially for their empty states (another word for onboarding!), and have even codified this in their own illustration branding guide
- AirBNB—interview with Airbnb illustrator Meredith Schomburg. See also: Jonathan Calugi, Owen Davey,
- Slack has introduced illustration in to their product with their redesign, many of which are from illustrator Alice Lee
- Alice Lee has also helped WordPress.com with some illustrations.
- Jack Daly has created some nice illustrations for InVision
- Evernote (see Carlos Rocafort IV’s and Jonathan Holt’s illustrations)
- Dropbox (see Brandon Land’s, Fanny Luor’s, and Justin Tran’s illustrations), and also their design site.
- Adobe’s 99u uses illustration alongside photography, and writes about the use of illustration here.
- Thomas Danthony created some illustrations for Medium used when users create an account, follow, share, and engage in a conversation
- Per the Handsome Franke agency’s blog, Tom Haugomat created illustrations for “Uber’s first big UK advertising campaign created by BBH London”
- Salesforce’s Lightning Design System uses illustration judiciously. Also, their Blaze Your Trail campaign. Also these by Yuki Yamada although I’m not certain how they were used.
- Atlassian uses illustration quite extensively
- The Intercom blog uses illustrations nicely
- Hubspot—Susanna Yee did some nice branded illustrations, as did Blake Ink.
- Mailchimp’s blog uses geometric illustrations nicely
The following are some additional honorable mentions for brands, agencies, and products using illustration:
- Mavenlink’s Product Development blog
- Upwork’s Hey World! ad campaign which I’ve been seeing on my train ride in to work e.g. Montgomery Station, SF, done by Duncan Channon
- Muzli blog
- The Big Cartel blog
- Digital Ocean
- Kayako—help desk software
- Headspace—meditation made simple
- Steve Peck for Oscar Health; see also Oscar 2.0 Rebrand
- New Action’s home page has nice illustrations brought in with some animation and clickable too! Who did these??
- ED. uses illustrations done by Zaron Pungercar on their home page. They do something I hadn’t seen before—they’re combining hand drawn illustration with highdef photography quite nicely.
- DataDog Kubernetes
- The Qualtrics site uses a lot of illustration.
- Thanks to Stefanie for sharing the Notion site which has some very nice illustrations. See here too.
As both a programmer and illustrator, I’m extremely interested in determining where illustration is being used—especially in major products. So help me keep this up to date—DM me or add a comment if you have a notable example of an established company using illustration in their products that I’ve missed!