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Republic / Design / Icons and Illustrations

Icons and illustrations have much in common but are still different things. An icon represents something, such as an application or a function in an interface. An illustration, on the other hand, often complements something, such as an article or a concept.


An impor­tant part of the work with graph­ic inter­faces is icon design. Well-designed icons facil­i­tate under­stand­ing, cre­ate a sim­pler and clean­er inter­face and enhance the user expe­ri­ence. A vec­tor illus­tra­tion is scal­able and very use­ful, but if you have to make real­ly small icons and main­tain qual­i­ty and clar­i­ty you have to draw them pix­el by pix­el.

Here is an exam­ple of an icon project we recent­ly completed:

Case Study: Icons for NovaCura

NovaCu­ra is an expert in busi­ness sys­tems and process improve­ment. Their busi­ness areas are main­ly pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­b­u­tion, and service/​maintenance as well as finance.

They need­ed help to cre­ate mod­ern and appeal­ing icons for their var­i­ous appli­ca­tions, which will visu­al­ize and match the tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced solu­tions. In addi­tion to appli­ca­tion icons, a set of con­sis­tent icons were also need­ed to be used in their process tools Flow.

Read more about the project under Case Studies »


Some­times the cus­tomer wants some­thing that real­ly high­lights and points out the mes­sage. In many cas­es, the pho­tog­ra­phy works well. At oth­er times, the illus­tra­tion is bet­ter suit­ed.

Illus­tra­tions are usu­al­ly made up of vec­tor graph­ics. This means that you can change the size with­out loss of qual­i­ty, from busi­ness cards to bill­boards. There­fore, illus­tra­tion is a real­ly good way to build a cor­po­rate iden­ti­ty and can be used with an advan­tage on the web, in print, and pre­sen­ta­tions. Among oth­er things, we have made illus­tra­tions into a book on bank secu­ri­ty, a pic­ture bank for com­pa­ny pre­sen­ta­tions, and cat­e­go­ry pic­tures for stu­dent dis­counts.

Some­times it is bet­ter to present mate­r­i­al in the form of mov­ing graph­ics and video, for exam­ple, to clar­i­fy process­es or cap­ture the vis­i­tor’s atten­tion. We make Flash ani­ma­tions that lift all mate­r­i­al. Illus­tra­tions and ani­ma­tions also real­ly fit togeth­er when it comes to rein­forc­ing messages.

Infographics for Novacura
Illustrations for Novacura and GTC
Illustrations for Gemalto och a private project

How the drawings for this site were made

Here we show how the illustrations around the site were created. There is also a video showing the whole process from start to finish and some tips and tricks for anyone interested.