What Is Illustration?

Basically, illustration is a visual interpretation of a particular concept, text or process. It’s an image that aims at supporting, clarifying or even extending the ideas that people get from the other source of information, most often given in the form of the text. The word itself means “throwing light on something” so its main purpose is to help the viewer understand or imagine something better.

Describe concepts

Sometimes it might be hard to describe a concept using only words (especially, if it’s an abstract concept). Illustrations have a natural power for clarifying things and designers can use this property. For example, Basecamp uses illustrations to demonstrate the everyday problems of modern business. The message won’t be so compelling with words only.

User reached a goal

Animated illustrations which appear on a screen at the time when users achieved a goal can evoke a feeling that users achieved something significant.

Engage the User Through Their Journey

Whenever a user interacts with a website or user interface, they’re looking to accomplish a specific task. The steps they take to achieve that task forms their user journey. Designing interfaces in a way that improves the user journey (and hence, the user experience) is achievable through the use of UI illustrations.

Create mood

Using illustrations, it’s possible to set the mood of the website or app. The power of visuals establishes an emotional appeal from the first seconds of interaction.


Illustrations are a powerful tool in designer’s toolkit. Want to add beauty, emotion or describe a story in your UI? You can use illustrations to achieve those goals!