illustration in web design

Bill Latta’s Illustration Philosophy

Illustration professor Bill Latta imparts essential information on ad agencies, publishers, and clients to his students so they make thoughtful, creative decisions when representing a product or service. Mr. Latta sent us a particularly striking article on the role of illustration in website design. The following paragraphs include a discussion on the article from Mr. Latta and how it may help students.

The Role of Illustration in Web Design with Bill Latta

From time to time, I come upon some great articles on subjects relating directly to my students and the subjects we teach in Nossi College of Art’s Illustration Degree. This is one of those articles. This is what I teach my students to use in educating their future employers and clients about the use of visual elements. The article is titled “The Art of Illustration in Web Design” and authored by Mark Parker and Tom O’Brien of FVM Think Tank.


This article articulates the strongest arguments for the use of illustrations within a design that I have seen in a long time. While the article was written for web designers, the principals cited for the consideration and use of illustration are the exact same for use in advertising, editorial and book publishing as well. The article reflects many of the principals and considerations about the use of illustrations that I teach in class. The authors give a list of five simple reasons illustrations should be considered more appropriate than the budget considerations and ease-of-use of photography—especially stock art.


The article carefully examines the advantages of using illustration as opposed to photography, noting that “not every brand [or web design] is suited to illustration.” Art directors, creative directors and graphic designers responsible for ordering images for their employers or clients face image choices every working day. Unfortunately, they too often choose photography or stock art over illustration for all the wrong reasons. Most make the decisions to use visuals are based solely on budget considerations and ease of availability versus the value a carefully chosen and custom image can bring to the branding of the products and services of their employer or client. A project’s success, or failure, depends directly on the image choice that is made early on in the production process.