A hand-drawn sketch can be seen as rather imperfect. The finished image looks almost textured and layered in a way. You can see all the intricacies and details the artist was working on, and maybe even didn’t get a chance to complete. It also gives a more flighty, yet enjoyable look to the content in question.
An image of a laptop sitting next to coffee, for example, might go from looking like a stock photo meant to be used with a tech or gadget blog to something more colorful and open after being sketched out.
Perhaps, that’s why many designers have opted not to use hand-drawn graphics, sketches and art on their sites and portals. With the shift to more modern, minimal and attractive design strategies, it seems like the hand-drawn look has fallen by the wayside — or has it?
Here are some reasons why we think hand-drawn graphics should make a comeback. It’s a great aesthetic, and it can breathe new life into an otherwise bland and uninspired design.
1. Animation and Doodles for Engagement
More site designs are starting to rely on simple animation — especially scrolling animation techniques — to highlight various elements of a site. The beauty of hand-drawn content is that it can easily be doodled or animated on the screen, in real time. A black-and-white sketch, for instance, could begin filling up with color. The animation itself could start with a blank canvas and begin adding ink or paint-based lines, as if you’re watching the artist create right before your eyes.This creates a more interactive and engaging experience for the viewer and keeps them riveted to the content onscreen. Look at Higher Ground’s use of hand-drawn animation while its site is loading, for instance. It even filters through to the logo and brand signature.
2. It Can Be Used for Anything
When you first consider hand-drawn graphics, the first thing that comes to mind is a sketch or doodle. However, the hand-drawn aesthetic can actually be used to create just about anything, from typography to dividers to accents.
It’s a remarkably versatile visual style that can be applied exactly as you need it to be. Handwriting-like fonts are popular and stand out well with minimal and modern design techniques. Wavy lines or dividers drawn in ink look great when breaking up paragraphs of text, page sections or more. The best part is that you don’t even have to be incredibly talented to come up with something decent looking. Even just a few squiggly lines can look great if and when they are used properly.
3. Hand-Drawn Content Sets the Mood
Like we pointed out in the intro, hand-drawn visuals tend to carry a lighter, more playful tone, which permeates into the design and experience your visitors will have. If you’re looking to create a funky, whimsical portal, then hand-drawn may be the way to go. Signs for Science serves as a great example of the kind of fun, compelling hand-drawn visuals we’re talking about.
Interestingly, hand-drawn can also be used to show elegance and grace. Incredibly detailed sketches in black ink look fantastic when placed over a solid backdrop, or even lots of white space. The contrast between the elegance and playful nature of other sketches really portrays the freedom you have with the visual style. Because of this freedom, you can experiment with the style to give off a particular tone and set the mood.
They sure add a lot of tone and emotion to infographics too.
4. Hand-Drawn Is More Human, More Natural
Stylized text and graphics tend to be computer and digital-centric. Don’t get us wrong — some of them look absolutely fantastic — but they lack the feel of humanity. Consider a handwritten letter you receive in the mail compared to one typed and printed in ink. Both may be stating the same things, coming from the same person, but they elicit different emotions as you read them. There’s just something more down-to-earth and natural about the handwritten letter.In a way, you could argue the handwritten letter is more relatable to the reader or audience. It’s this same idea that translates to hand-drawn content on websites. Notice how LAI Video layered hand-drawn icons and content throughout its page. It relates to the company’s kid-centric campaign, but also gives the site a more caring and humane feel.
5. It Showcases Creativity
Hand-drawn visuals are excellent for personal portfolios or professional resume-style sites. They exude creativity, especially when the content itself is unique and engaging. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is more beneficial on an individual level, but in terms of business, it can also add a lot to a company website.
If, for instance, your firm or brand is focused on creativity — such as a group of talented designers or artists — showcasing hand-drawn content on your site is an amazing way to get the point across. It’s all about how you present the portal itself and the content you’re displaying.
Poke around Kevin Cornell’s professional portfolio for a bit, and you’ll get an idea of what we mean when we say it showcases creativity.
6. Hand Drawn Visuals Are Simple
In most cases, not to detract from the creativity and appeal, hand-drawn visuals are relatively simple to create or design. We don’t necessarily mean they aren’t beautiful or elegant, as they definitely can be. We’re talking about the amount of planning and work that goes into them.
It’s not the same as more conventional art, graphics, or imagery. It doesn’t matter if the content is symmetric, or if it matches every single element on the page. It doesn’t matter what resolution or size you use, so long as things don’t end up looking like a grainy mess. A lot of the logistics and specifications you need to concern yourself with using conventional graphics just aren’t there when it comes to hand-drawn.
Using hand-drawn images in your graphic design can really make your webpage stand out. They can call attention to the unique, creative attributes of your business. Draw on these reasons to breathe new life into your site.
*Cover image by Cuberto. Check out their portfolio here.