Insight

How to Commission an Illustrator: from finding inspiration to the final design

We’ve enjoyed commissioning and working with a host of talented illustrators over the years. We’ve created beautiful books and print, striking hoardings to promote new restaurants, as well as punchy campaigns and brand identities. Below are just a few of our favourite collaborations.


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We’ve worked with illustrator Lorna Scobie to make breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime more fun with these playful colouring sheets for Bill’s.

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Georgina Luck
teamed up with Studio Noel and the Bill’s team to create these rich autumnal designs to promote a special Bonfire Night offer.

 

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We commissioned nature-loving Clover Robin to illustrate Filbert Press’ Botanical Brain Balms as we loved her creative process (read our interview with her here) as much as her designs.

 

Look here, there, and everywhere
So how do you find the perfect illustrator to bring your project to life in the first place? There is a great deal of agencies representing illustrators. Central Illustration AgencyHandsome Frank, and Folio are just a few examples of where you can start your search. Pinterest and Instagram offer endless illustrator portfolios to scroll through, and blogs like It’s Nice That are another great resource for inspiring your next collaboration. If you’re on the lookout for the freshest upcoming talent, attending graduate exhibitions can also be a fantastic way to snap up and commission new and exciting illustrators.

 

In brief, communication is key
Approach the partnership with a solid grasp on your concept. While a great collaboration allows space for creativity to run free, miscommunication can be expensive. To avoid confusion and designs that don’t hit the spot, setting clear parameters early on helps keep projects running smoothly, budgets on track, and creativity flowing.

Provide the illustrator a brief that specifies any imagery you need and the style you’re looking for. Showing examples of the illustrator’s own work that inspired you, along with rough sketches, reference materials, and mock layouts really helps you to communicate the vision you’re after to the illustrator.

Now with your visual plan laid out, be clear on your timelines. Allow space for looking over mock-ups and making revisions. And, although it’s easy to overlook in the excitement of starting a new project, be sure to specify all the essential file specifications like size, resolution, the number of colours, and any space you need for typography.

 

Pennies for thoughts bring big rewards
Whether you prefer a scribble of arrows or a queue of bullet points, navigating the feedback stages can be a challenge. Providing detailed feedback on the first rough sketch is important and can iron out any wrinkles early on, and the final design will reap the rewards from spending time on these finicky steps of the commission.

 

Now the ink is dry
When the final illustration is ready, it’s time to apply it across your final piece! Whether that’s a book cover, a newspaper advert, a hoarding or a series of flyers, collaborating with an illustrator you love and guiding the project from commission to fruition is a truly inspiring experience.

If you need help with a project or commissioning an illustrator please get in touch.

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