Love Our Illustrations?

Meet Alice Mollon

If the devil is in the detail, Charlie’s looking hotter than Hades.

After all, if you’re going to be staring at a screen all day (😞 #notalladmin), we think you might as well be checking out something stylish (😍 ← you on Charlie).

So, in pursuit of making your experience both effortless and beautiful, we’ve sourced the best young creatives and designers in London to help us look our best.

First up: Alice is the brain (and pen) behind Charlie’s brand new illustrations!

Fancy a holiday? Card illustration by Alice.

When did you start illustrating, and what or who inspired you?

I studied art at university, but professionally, I started off with design. Bit by bit I started to add in illustration, creating little drawings, animations and icon sets. When I went freelance at the beginning of this year, I decided to focus on illustration.

As well as a long, long list of illustrators I admire, I love children’s books, animated shorts and Where’s Wally. I could spend hours marvelling at the wit and detail that goes into each scenario on a page, long after I’ve found Wally.

How has the process of working with the team at Charlie been? What was the brief, and can you give us an example of how you filled it?

Charlie already turns boring tasks into quick jobs, but the team wanted to add something extra that would make those mundane moments a bit fun too.. Illustration was a way to do that.

Part one of the brief was a set of notification cards for the newly revamped dashboard: anything from employee birthdays and holidays, to compassionate leave and company announcements.

The most socks-per-inch of any HR platform. Illustration by Alice.

I sat down with Jørgen and Tom, the lead product designer and CPO, and we talked through ways to bring each situation to life in a slightly off-beat style. So, instead of generic baby rattles or prams for parental leave, why not use tiny dungarees on a washing line, or jars of baby food next to a proper meal.

Part two was to create a couple of illustrated backgrounds and loading animations for different parts of the site. For them, I reimagined the different things that Charlie does as tangible objects and scenes — and brought them all together to form a bit of a ’Charlie’ story.

What kind of businesses should consider working with an illustrator, and do you have any tips for choosing the right one?

I think there are very few instances where illustration wouldn’t be appropriate (in the right style, of course). One of my favourite companies doing it well at the moment is Oscar, an American healthcare company. A more obvious one is TfL — nobody enjoys commuting or reading how many people a year fall down escalators, but it’s slightly more enjoyable to read it on a bright, illustrated poster.

I’ve also recently seen illustration crop up in a luxury real estate company, a delivery company, and now (!) an HR platform.

A contemplative moment. Illustration by Alice.

That said, I wouldn’t just plonk in illustrations unless they bring something to the table. It needs as much thought and consideration as any other aspect of the product — the copy, UX, UI etc.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned since going freelance?

It’s a cliche but: a good work-life balance. Having the freedom to choose what I work on means that I really, really like what I do. When the end of the working day ticks by, it can be hard for me to put my pen down and call it a day. I’ve learnt to be stricter with my work hours, and not let them trickle over too much.

Could you show us a little bit of your own work, and describe your aesthetic to us? What kind of things do you love to work on?

I draw a lot of bright, jolly people, reducing them to very simple shapes and using a limited, sometimes clashing colour palette. I’ll often start with a silly phrase or situation that’s popped into my head, and create a character from that.

But working to a brief is great because it pushes me to think harder and more creatively about what I’m drawing, and why. Plus, it gives me a chance to draw lots of different things. Over the past couple of weeks at Charlie I’ve drawn octopus tentacles, 5 and a half pairs of socks, and a rocket. I’m not sure I’d have thought to draw any of those things on my own.

CharlieHR is the free HR platform for small businesses. Building a company is hard, running one shouldn’t be. Find out more here.

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