There was a time when industry was defined by a select few companies making a select few products.
This was great for the companies, of course, who had little competition, but not as great for consumers, who only had access to … those select few products. Luckily for the companies, those consumers didn’t know any better. Today, though, consumers are savvier than ever before, and the tables have turned.
There’s an oversaturation of commercialism, and to separate themselves, companies must think about their stories as soon as they decide to start a business. Without a story, your product doesn’t stand a chance.
In “The Art of Visual Storytelling in Business,” I asserted that using strong art in content that people can share will translate into more powerful search and social traffic for your website and better branding for your product.
Hiring an illustrator is the first step. Illustrators can get excited about the pieces they’re creating. They can share the stages of development on their own social feeds and websites. All the while, they can tag your business and cite the creative freedom you’ve given them. This is a part of the story. This is a story that you want for your business, and you want it all of the time.
When you buy stock photography or stock illustration, you’re taking a shortcut that you feel is worth it in regard to the goal of producing lots of content quickly. This might be an attractive option, but let’s take a step back and remember the vision you had for your business. You wanted to create a business that was great, that had something unique to offer the world. You wanted to change the world.
Do you really want the art on your site to be populated with ideas that were generated without your specific business and brand in mind? The images on stock sites were created to serve many different purposes; none of the artists knew about you and your product personally. When you hire someone, you’re inviting them into the story of your business. They’re able to get to know you. They’re become a part of your team and reflect your vision in their artwork.
Why is hiring an illustrator smarter than using stock images? For one, you’ll feel better about the content you’re creating.
The feeling of producing something original and putting it out into the world is magnificent. When you envisioned starting your business, that’s exactly what you wanted to do with your product. Blog content campaigns, SEO, graphic design, and illustration are all a part of your vision becoming a reality.
Yes, hiring someone local does mean you’ll put more hours into your projects. It means you’ll forego the quickness that a stock photography/illustration purchase affords you. But, if you hire someone you like working with, it also means that you’ll have an experience working on something that you might never forget. Hiring the right creative personnel always means you’re prioritizing the investment.
Hiring an illustrator will inject creativity into your team.
“The new vision of the universe, it must be kept alive. The only people who can keep it alive are artists. His function is the mythologization of the environment and the world.” – Joseph Campbell
You hired sales leaders, and people who are very competent in the area of of your specific commercial interest. What you might be missing is a full-time artist.
Imagine having strategy meetings from now on with a full-time artist in the mix. Imagine what they might add to the conversation about the work you’re doing. You probably won’t always agree with them, but they’ll push your team to think in new ways, because the artists are themselves divergent thinkers.
Hiring an artist to be on your team may be the most important financial decision you make when it comes to pushing your company’s content into the future.
Interested in reading more about the role of the artist in industry? I highly recommend the book Orbiting The Giant Hairball: A Fool’s Guide to Surviving With Grace by Gordon MacKenzie. MacKenzie chronicles his decades long stint at Hallmark cards, where he eventually was promoted to the role of “Creative Paradox” – his official title!
Hiring an illustrator can cost less than you might think.
It’s not my favorite part of the current economy, but the truth is that the market is currently flooded with aspiring artists looking for work. These artists are visionaries, and colleges are pumping them out each year. With the high supply of art, there seems to be a low starting point on bids for custom work. In truth, this might have always been the case: History has shown artists as a breed of folks who dot the landscape and are paid very little. While this might be a sad fact for people like me who have chosen the profession, it’s good tidings for you while exploring this new branch of your company.
You can reach out to local artists through friends, employees, and social media. Look at places like DeviantArt.com, MakingComics.com, or Behance to find up and coming talent. Contact them and give them a shot at doing a single piece that might turn into more work.
Another avenue is to contact local art schools and offer senior classes the chance at an internship or one-off project work. Students are dying to do paid art work. Give them a shot!
As you build your brand by telling a story, different threads will come together to create your company’s identity. Original content is a crucial plot point, and hiring an illustrator is a big part of that. Besides, everybody like stories with pictures better!
Give us a call if you’re looking for a collaborator.