In 2018, when we first founded Brucira, our main strengths were illustrations and UI UX design. Our portfolio and dedication resulted in clients hiring us to create new and innovative illustrations that brighten their websites and products.
So, how do we work on illustration projects?
Let’s go back to the first few months. During our first few projects, we sent initial sketches via email and then set up feedback calls. As the number of illustrations we did for each client kept increasing, the email-call-email loop got more and more confusing.
That’s when we switched to Google Slides and Slack.
We sent over a deck full of initial sketches and ideas, and the clients were able to add their feedback directly through comments and notes. This way, we could keep better track of which iteration we were on and what needed to be reworked. With Slack, we were able to communicate in real-time and didn’t miss any important suggestions or feedback.
But there were different problems with Slack. Some companies and clients were not able to join our channel. For instance, when we were creating illustrations for Google Onduo, they could not use any non-Google products due to company policy. Even though we went back to email, we incorporated presentations for mood boards and sketches instead of sending them as independent images.
Since then, our technique has been refined quite a lot. Our illustration review process is now smoother and faster. In fact, we’re creating a new tool (ruttl!) that will allow clients to provide more contextual feedback easier.
What’s our illustration process like?
Whenever we get an illustration project, our first task is to understand what these illustrations would convey on the website or product. Will they assist the user journey or do they serve to lighten up a corporate or technical product?
Stage One: Market Research
The first stage of our illustration projects is always market research. Whether it’s finance or ed-tech, Brucira first conducts thorough research to map out the client’s app and website. This helps us better understand industry standards, specific client requirements and blend them both into our illustrations.
With the foundational knowledge in place, we then study the target audience to create user personas that will navigate our product. We identify key characteristics that we then embody in the illustrations. Since the client’s target audience will, in turn, become their users, this in-depth market research is a critical component of our process. This helps us ensure that our illustrations, styles, and characteristics are relatable and succeed in making the user like the product.
Stage Two: Choosing the illustration style
Once the market research is complete, we then choose and define the illustration style we’re going to use. Sometimes it’s Brucira’s trademark bright and eye-catching style with a new twist, like we did for Nerva. Other times, it’s working on something new like line-art illustrations for Tally for the first time, we lock down the style right from the get-go, so we don’t have different styles clash with each other.
Similarly, we experiment and explore different colour schemes and palettes that help the client convey their intended message.
Stage Three: Initial Sketch
We send initial sketches that help the client visualize how these illustrations will look once complete. If there are any suggestions or feedback, we incorporate it right then and there to prevent any issues later. Asking for feedback at regular intervals allows the client to stay updated on the progress and helps us save considerable time and energy from having to redo any sketch or illustration
Stage Four: Creating Illustrations
After receiving approvals for the sketches, we allocate the illustrations to the illustrators working on the project. Once everyone is brought to speed on the style, we proceed with the other illustrations in the project scope.
Recently, we’ve experimented with using ruttl for feedback with the team. Having the comments and past iterations of each illustration in one place helps us chart an easy path from early concept to the final product.
A new journey every time
Even though we’ve done a fair number of illustration projects — both as Brucira and as independent illustrators — there’s always something new to learn and adapt to in an illustration project. For instance, when we created illustrations for Ordio’s website, we spoke at length to the founders and the team, to capture their likeness in the illustrations. From their dachshund mascot to their team members’ personas, learning how to capture real people into illustrations was an enjoyable experience.
Similarly, when we created illustrations for fintech companies like Groww, we wanted to ensure our work was refreshing and attractive, given the often complicated nature of the finance industry. This allowed for a new perspective, resulting in eye-catching illustrations that helped the users navigate these products.
At Brucira, we’re constantly refining how we work on illustrations. Every new project teaches us something new that we then use in the next one. Over time, we’ve evolved from using emails to choosing better communication and feedback tools to smoothen the entire process.
Tell us, how does your team work on illustrations?
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