Most print ads feature some combination of photography and typography. But when you next come to design a print ad, ask yourself whether a custom illustration could do the job better?
To show you what we mean, in this post we’ve brought together 10 great examples of illustration in print ads from around the world.
Of course there are plenty more besides, so we’d love to see your favourites too. Feel free to share in the comments below!
01. Puy Du Fou
This epic advert was created by French agency to promote Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Vendée region of western France. Illustrated by Julien Joly, it cleverly draws on frescoes combining all the different eras that visitors can experience at the attraction.
02. Kiss FM
This ad to promote a rock radio station is the work of Sao Paolo agency , with illustration by 2020 Studios. It smartly updates James Montgomery Flagg's 1917 "I Want You" Poster for the American war effort, swapping Uncle Sam for John Lennon. The radio station itself features only on a small badge on Lennon’s chest, a subtle detail that somehow makes the message all the more powerful.
03. Red Cross
We’ve all become so used to shocking photography of disaster zones that we’ve started to become immune to it. Consequently, an illustration can sometimes be more effective, and that’s certainly the case with this grimly evocative scene for an attention-raising campaign for the Red Cross. It was created by Paraguay agency and the illustration was by Edgar Arce.
04. Saint Bier
Catholic monasteries have long been associated with the brewing of strong beer. and this tongue-in-cheek tableau, with the tagline “Convert yourself” and a slightly blasphemous reference to the Holy Grail, conveys the point succintly and stylishly. It was the work of Brazilian agency and the illustration was by .
05. Assassin’s Creed
Another ad making effective use of vintage style illustration, this ad was part of a campaign for the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate videogame, which is set in Victorian England. While that era is often associated with the clipped accents and refined behaviours of costume drama, this impactful poster reminds us that it was a brutal time for many. It’s the work of Montreal agency , with illustration by .
This arresting, although somewhat headache inducing ad for Ford, comes with the tagline ‘Don’t Emoji and Drive’. Using a very 2010s form of by creating an illustration from individual emojis, the ad was produced by BlueHive, the bespoke agency for Ford's advertising in Italy, with illustration created by Illusion.
Now here’s an illustration that gets your attention. It was created for Skullcandy, a headphone brand keen to appear on the cutting edge, and this stunning print ad certainly does that. It’s the work of , and the illustration was created by .
Playing on the idea of tarot cards, this lovely ad for the Society for the Protection of Cats sells its message without needing to get overly cutesy or sentimental. It was produced by , with illustration by .
09. Evans Cycles
Vintage illustration mixes nostalgia with parody in this gorgeous print ad for Evans Cycles. It’s the creation of London agency and the illustrator was Bruce Emmett.
Owned by Adobe, Behance is a global portfolio sharing social network for creatives of all types. But it’s not just online: the company also brings together community members and top artists to carry out portfolio reviews in person. This ad to promote its Brazilian event features a stunning mixed media collage created by art director, illustrator and photographer Antonio Rodrigues Jr.