Web design trend watch: custom graphics and illustrations

If 2016 was the year of stock images that look nothing like stock images, 2017 might just be the year where custom graphics and illustrations take the main stage over the ones you get from a stock website. Custom illustrations not only give your website a distinctive look but will also be congruent with your brand.

If you want some inspiration, here are some themes we’ve noticed recently.

Geometric shapes

Geometric shapes have always been popular in design – they often provide structure to root your visual identity in. For example, Case-3D uses these shapes to create a distinctive look that helps them stand out from the run of the mill architecture website.


Another cool usage of geometric shapes is to create a unique way to navigate your website. Builtbybuffalo is a great example of this, using a hexagonal grid to house their portfolio.


Illustrations overlaid onto photography/videos

As the large background photo/video evolves, some sites have started to use illustrations to augment it.

Ecodom uses it to call out certain ideas they want to make with their imagery.

Storytelling through illustrations

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so why shouldn’t illustrations be used to tell a story? Mobile telecom Orange tells a great story about connectivity and celebrating 2017 with their happy 2017 website.


As bandwidth increases and animation tools such as Green Sock becomes widely available, animated illustrations and visualizations are becoming more and more common. Even simple shapes can be made to look interesting and engaging as shown by mstudio’s website.

Levity through cartoons

visuals can quickly convey a mood – and we’ve noticed that websites are increasingly cartoony illustrations to create levity. These beats are dope does a fantastic job on this front.

Illustrating to introduce your brand

Finally, we’ve also noticed brands using illustrations as an avatar for their brand to quickly show the user what exactly they are. It is clear from the competitive programmers‘ header illustration that they’re about being better than everyone else at programming.

Likewise, Artazart shows their vision of what a design bookstore should be like to a nice result.


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