Photography isn't the only way to represent your brand on your homepage. Illustration is much underused on websites, and yet it can be the perfect way to pull your content together in a way that’s both unique and alluring.
In this post, we’ve brought together some of our favourite examples of illustration on the web. If you’ve spotted one we haven’t included, please let us know in the comments below!
01. Denise Chandler (opens in new tab)
A freelance web designer living in Utah, Denise Chandler believes that in ‘a sea of ordinary’, your website needs to stand apart from the competition. And she’s applied the same logic to her own one-page website, which harnesses this rather fabulous, animated illustration of octopus tentacles to add some unexpected visual interest and showcase her creative personality.
- 10 great uses of imagery on agency websites (opens in new tab)
02. Pitch Tents (opens in new tab)
Pitch is a London-based provider of beautiful and spacious bell tents that provide a luxurious camping experience (aka ‘glamping’) to locations across the UK. To sell the proposition visually, its website features a number of quirky yet sophisticated illustrations, conveying both a high-end sensibility and a spirit of fun.
03. Stuff and Nonsense (opens in new tab)
Hiring a web design agency can be an intimidating prospect for many clients. So the homepage Stuff & Nonsense, a leading studio based in Flintshire, north Wales, lures you in with a nice touch of illustrative nostalgia. In case you’re not British (or are too young to remember), this illustration by (opens in new tab) alludes to the classic PG Tips tea commercials (opens in new tab), which ran on ITV from the 1950s to the early 2000s.
04. Dou Dou Blues (opens in new tab)
Doudou Blues is a Christmas story for children, featuring the adventures of characters from a well-known French song. The thoughtfully art-directed website for the project is quite charming, taking Scott Pennor (opens in new tab)’s beautiful illustrations and combining them with a children's book-style layout and gorgeous typography to create an alluring aesthetic that’s far more than the sum of its parts.
05. Ice and Sky (opens in new tab)
When you encounter the vast, empty wilderness of Antarctica, the last unspoiled continent, a sense of childlike wonder is entirely appropriate. And so educational website Ice & Sky, which retraces the footsteps of Claude Lorius, a farseeing climate specialist, does well to employ a series of illustrations reminiscent of adventure comic books such as Tintin. Inspiring work by French design agency (opens in new tab) on behalf of non-profit organisation Association Wild-Touch.
06. Pottermore (opens in new tab)
Although material from the films surrounds the Harry Potter brand these days, it began its life as a series of books. So it’s appropriate that children’s book-style illustrations play a major role in JK Rowling’s Pottermore website, which promotes her latest projects, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Cursed Child stage play.
Along with these official illustrations, Rowling has also been known to slip her own artwork onto the site, as (opens in new tab).
07. Seussville (opens in new tab)
Generation after generation of children have fallen in love with the anarchic and surreal Dr Seuss books, and it’s not hard to see why. Their sense of joyous, wild abandonment translates well to the official website, with the bright and colourful cartoons of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel bringing the games, printable activities and character guides it contains to magical life.
08. Till Krüss (opens in new tab)
Till Krüss is a senior web developer with 17 years of experience, who loves the web, dancing, power-lifting and hugging trees. Based in Nelson, British Columbia, he harnesses a wistful, child-like illustration to give a unique look to his German-language blog, in which he shares his thoughts and feelings about life.
09. Pigeon and Pigeonette (opens in new tab)
Pigeon and Pigeonette is a picture book from New York publisher Enchanted Lion, about the friendship that develops between a large blind pigeon and a little pigeon whose wings are too small to carry her. The distinctive drawing style of its writer and illustrator, (opens in new tab), is integral to the visual appeal of its associated website, and make you feel like you’re really turning pages when you go from section to section.
10. The Many Faces of John Cusack (opens in new tab)
OK, this one’s quite silly, but we still love it. The creation of (opens in new tab), a three-man web design shop in Austin, Texas, ‘The Many Faces of John Cusack’ is a fun infographic post written by Reagan Ray, Trent Walton and Dave Rupert based on their love for the 1980s Brat Pack actor. Ray’s evocative illustrations tie it all together nicely, and if you enjoy this, there are more ‘Many Faces of’ posts by Paravel (opens in new tab).