Illustration by François Reynier

Tired of gloomy corporate mugshots? Try illustration

At the centre of your business is your team, they are the face of your company to your clients. However, have you noticed that on many company websites people look worse than in real life? Not the best way to make a first impression.

Here we look at why illustration is a good alternative to photography in ensuring everyone in your team look their best.

According to the recent report ‘Turning the Customer Journey Inside Out’ published by Oracle, 40% of brands say businesses have done their own research before getting in touch.

With this in mind the first impression we give of ourselves online to others is more relevant; and unforgiving; than ever. The first picture of ourselves people see online can make a lasting impression as to how we are being perceived, so it’s better to make sure it is one we are happy with.

Because we live in a digital world, which lacks human connection, many businesses rightly feel the need to bring their team to the forefront of their online presence, with detailed biographies of sometimes all team members on their website.

Having photographic headshots of your team is great, however having and maintaining a professional photo library of a large team presents some challenges you might be familiar with:

1) The cost of commissioning new photography every time someone joins

Often the initial set of team members’ photographs is done by a professional photographer. However, the additional expense and logistics of commissioning additional photography each time someone joins are sometimes seen as too much of a hurdle.

As a result, new portraits often will instead be produced in-house and will look very different from the professionally commissioned portraits.

2) Getting high-quality photography when doing it in-house

Doing all photography in-house is often seen as acceptable, however, sometimes the quality of the results isn’t much better than photo booth mugshots, and doesn’t make your team look their best.

This is because a professional portrait photographer knows how to use light to make people look great, as well as how to make them feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. These skills take years of practice to master.

Of course, some businesses are happy with whatever comes out of the camera. However, if you have read this far, you are probably not one of them.

3) Getting consistent portraits done across several offices

For businesses with offices across different cities or countries, the costs of commissioning professional photography will multiply and so will the chances of getting unsatisfactory and inconsistent results when doing it all in-house.

Illustration by François Reynier

As an alternative to photography, commissioning portrait illustrations of your team not only prevents the potential problems above but also offers some real advantages which are often overlooked.

1) Illustration is often cheaper and easier to commission than photography

There are of course costs involved in commissioning professional illustrations.

However, this is usually cheaper and logistically easier to commission than photography. No need to travel to the photographer’s studio or to block the meeting room each time a new portrait is needed.

All the illustrator needs are a couple of recent head shots, usually done on a mobile phone. Illustrations can be produced remotely for all your offices, with minimum disruptions to day-to-day activities.

Illustration by François Reynier

2) You create a memorable look for your company

I created the portraits illustrations above as part of a series of directors portraits for a firm of fire engineers. No-one else in their industry uses portrait illustration. As a result, they immediately differentiated themselves at first sight from all their competitors.

3) You have more stylistic freedom than with photography

There are endless styles of illustrations, giving you the opportunity to create a unique look for your company, reflecting its values, strengths and personality.

4) You give new team members something truly unique

As well as benefiting external marketing, commissioning illustrations of teams members makes you stand out as an employer. We all know a high-performing team is a team who feels valued. Millennials are even more sensitive to this.

How many of us have had an original portrait of themselves hand-drawn when starting a new job?

I hope this is useful in helping you considering illustration next time you feel that you’re not getting the results you need or want from photography.

Interested? See more illustration samples here. Feel free to get in touch and start a conversation.

François Reynier is Creative Director at Acacia.

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