The most important considerations when determining what style of illustration to use are objective and audience. Objective is what the goal of the illustration within the communications is. Is it to educate? To inform? To entice? It can often be a combination of these, but the role of the illustration must be clearly defined — it can never be illustration for the sake of decoration.

Audience helps determine the form the illustrations take. A piece can often have the same objective but the audience can greatly influence the format that the illustration takes. For example, if the audience is children, it will likely be more ‘fun’ than if was directed at a small group of subject-matter experts.

There must be a clear vision of what the objective is and who the audience is because it is the interaction of these two variables which determines the appropriate style.

Illustration examples

Illustration standards

With the amount of different types of information which need to conveyed and the many different types of audiences, there will be variations, but generally, illustrations should be defined by:

Cohesive colour palette
Unified with the corporate colour palette whenever possible.

Illustrations need to be of a professional calibre. Items such as interpretive signage belong to the overall cultural landscape and will have an especially long lifecycle. It is important that these have a professional level of execution in order to keep their relevance over time.

Illustrations should not be used for decoration. It should be apparent why illustrations are used and the purpose they serve.

Avoid using skin tones or too much detail in figures. If being realistic, be representative of the diverse communities within Calgary.

These are representative of The City of Calgary so they should not be offensive.

They need to be relevant to the target audience, and not have a style dictated by subjective tastes (something different for the sake of being eye-catching).

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