1. Explain and demonstrate a point or add context to a piece of text
This technique really helps a text heavy piece of design, it breaks up the piece making it far more engaging for the viewer. If for instance you have a list of locations, placing them on a stylised map helps to add context for the viewer giving them additional locational information.
2. Create a relevant but unique theme or feel to a design
Using illustration to create custom icons, backgrounds and other creative elements gives a design a very unique and distinctive feel. This can be approached in a variety of ways, for example adding an abstract digital illustration, delicate hand drawn imagery or decorative elements.
3. A picture says a thousand words, by communicating information through imagery, it is likely to be more interesting than text and easier for the viewer to understand
This is particularly useful when considering how to represent data in a more viewer friendly way. Infographics are a creative, illustrative and appealing way to visualise statistics, aiding the communication of complex ideas and information. Next time you get one of those awfully complicated graphs or charts to deal with this is definitely worth a try!
4. Purely as an abstract decorative element to make a design more visually appealing
Perhaps your design doesn’t have any suitable content to rework into an illustrative element or the subject matter just isn’t something that would benefit from being illustrated either, this doesn’t mean it has to stay as just text. Subtle and neutral illustrative elements can be introduced purely to make the piece more visually interesting. Adding a highly abstract element such as a background, hand drawn boxes or directional symbols, can often add real value to your design, attracting attention or engaging your audience.
5. Just because you can!
Adding illustration to your designs adds that extra creative touch, you never know, it might just be the key ingredient in attracting attention to a piece of design that they may otherwise have disregarded.