Groundbreaking technology has done plenty to advance graphic design into the future. From AI and machine learning right through to sensory design that ‘responds to feelings’, the limits of design are being constantly pushed to magnificent results. One thing they have yet to do, however, is to kill the illustrator. As noted by the Digital Agency Network, illustrations will be bigger than ever in 2019, with professionals enjoying brand new tools to deliver beautiful work more quickly and efficiently than ever before. The key to hand-drawn designs is the new passion for hand-made, bespoke work that shows the human passion for art despite the never-ending technological race towards the future.

Nostalgia Rules

You may have noticed vintage fonts, themes, and illustrations donning products and websites alike. As noted in Elle UK, nostalgia has invaded the fashion world as brazenly as it has the world of design, with a wish to hark back to “simpler, pre-smartphone times.” In Design Observer, meanwhile, Jessica Helfand explains how nostalgia conjures up the power of utopic thought, bringing positivism, happiness, and a sense of connection to design. A 2014 study published by the Journal of Consumer Research additionally found that consumers spend more money when they are feeling nostalgic. Researchers postulate that this is because when we feel connected to the past, it weakens our desire to hold onto money. The yearning for childhood and youth predominates, and we realise, in a way, that our time on this Earth is limited.

Illustration and Graphic Design

It is only logical that in this day and age of ubiquitous connectivity and a constant physical connection to gadgets and devices, we should feel a need for greater connection and a penchant for even simple, hand-drawn designs that evoke imagery and design choices we so often came across in our childhood. Of course, these days, designers have far more efficient tools at hand to create beautiful imagery. These include digital pens that can be worked upon on their touchscreen laptop, tablet, or phone. If you wish to see the powerful effect that illustration can have, check out the sites of top artists like Jon Contino, Seven Harrington, or Rylsee. You will find a wealth of past influences in their work – everything from The Beatles to old heavy metal tattoos and album covers.

Cool Tools for Illustration

Just a few interesting tools and apps that illustrators are turning to these days include Kyle T. Webster’s brushes on Photoshop (available for free on the Libraries panel), Project Gemini (a brand new app for drawing on iPad that aims to better Procreate), and Clip Studio Paint (a software that is ideal for very detailed drawings). Clip Studio in particular is of interest to designers on a small budget, since it is cheaper than Adobe suite. It can be used on a desktop, MAC, or iPad, and has a six-month free trial so is definitely worth checking out.

Illustration is back in a big way because 21st century human beings love nostalgia. It makes us spend more while making us feel less materialistic – quite an ironic effect if you think about it. Illustration is also an excellent way for graphic designers to get back to one their favourite pastimes – drawing. For many, a talent at illustration is one of the very things that will have brought them to this industry, to begin with.

Written by Jennifer Keyes

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