An essay on why "Bespoke typography & illustration are the most engaging marketing tools" for the *Arts Marketing Association*

Bespoke typography and illustration are the most engaging marketing tools… I recently wrote this article for the  Arts Marketing Association. To be bespoke in communications is to be original, unique and to be different. Delivering communications in hand-crafted lettering and illustrations shows a distinct personality which is moulded specifically around, within and through a brand. Admittedly, stock imagery, photography or standard typefaces are quicker to attain and cheaper to produce, but when brands commission craft, the world can see and will know that someone, somewhere actually used their skill to create an identity for the brand. 

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An excellent example of how a fashion brand engaged its consumers into the craft behind their fashion line is French Connection’s current #SketchtoStore campaign. This was a collaborative project between French Connection, jelly animation, our illustrator Jo Bird, photographer Rankin and The Full Service. The campaign used bespoke fashion illustrations to express that someone, somewhere actually designed their Autumn/Winter collection in a studio. French Connection used completely nude models, who Rankin captured in monochrome and Jo Bird dressed in ink in the Autumn / Winter collection. The models were then photographed wearing the actual pieces from the collection to create the final clip.  

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A picture is worth a thousand words. As a photography student I quickly realised that imagery and moving imagery have the power; despite the perceivers’ language, to captivate, raise awareness, spark a reaction or concern and ultimately, (if the content is effective enough) trigger a response. Now whether this response is to directly endorse a brand with a ‘like’ or a ‘re-tweet’, offer up a donation or even make a sale is inconsequential, the fact is that when a brand crafts superior creative work, consumers respond.

There are a number of channels in which brands now seek consumer engagement including TVCs, social media, direct mail, digital banners, microsites and apps, in print campaigns, through radio, instore window displays, pop-up shops, sponsored events, trade shows and live PR stunts which aspire to go viral on YouTube. Illustration, bespoke typography and animations can contour brand campaigns across each and every one of these channels allowing for tighter and more consistent brand identity and communications. 

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Another really interesting example of how hand-crafted artwork can captivate an audience and raise awareness about an issue or campaign is Not for Rental. In July, jelly London illustrators, Steve Scott,  Damien Weighill and Steven Bonner got involved in Not For Rental which was a movie-inspired art exhibition, presented by Little White lies and curated by our friends Timba Smits and ‘Flash’ Gordon Shaw. Along with over 200 other talented artists, they each designed a one-of-a-kind classic VHS artwork.

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These unique and signed pieces went on sale to the public and all the proceeds went to Macmillan and Art against Knives. The charities profiles have elevated and a pro-active conscientious audience are now endorsing, contributing to and promoting the charities’ outstanding work.  

There is something wholly nostalgic and emotive of our inner child when it comes to illustration and hand crafted lettering, people relate to it. We all love a good character. 

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Handwritten sign-offs make a brand more personable. Our hand lettering artists like Alison Carmichael and Steven Bonner are perpetually creating bespoke typography which personifies particular brands and helps them stand out. Whether typography is designed and created in Photoshop, Illustrator or by hand, distinctive avatars and signature lock-ups can capture the imagination of your audience, no matter what the proposition, from online dating to the butter you chose to spread on your toast in the morning. Here you see an example of Alison’s hand-crafted Anchor Butter hand lettering and below her more recent campaign for McDonalds McCafe range. 

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The increasing popularity of infographics in marketing is testament to the need for complex information to be broken down into a more user-friendly design. Consumers now expect simple but interesting, exquisitely crafted and approachable content. Whether you are presenting the London Stock Exchange’s annual report or a campaign outlining the benefits of organic produce, you can market your brand more effectively when you reveal your personality through bespoke design. 

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The increasing popularity of infographics in marketing is testament to the need for complex information to be broken down into a more user-friendly design. Consumers now expect simple but interesting, exquisitely crafted and approachable content. Whether you are presenting the London Stock Exchange’s annual report or a campaign outlining the benefits of organic produce, you can market your brand more effectively when you reveal your personality through bespoke design.  Another benefit is that in today’s multi-cultural society, using an illustration or an animation in marketing reduces the opportunity for perceived discrimination. Let's imagine for a moment that the world was one big happy place. Like the animal globe below which was crafted in 3D software by Plenty Studio. 

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