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How to Make Illustration Project: Example of Project Brief with Essential Free and Paid Tools.


Commercial illustrations are used to sell products or promote a brand, while nonprofit illustrations are used to raise awareness and educate the public about a cause. Both types of illustrations are important for communicating information and influencing public opinion, but have different goals. Commercial illustrations aim to persuade people to buy something, while nonprofit illustrations aim to inform and educate. Both types of illustrations require the ability to create visually appealing images that effectively convey a message.

Before starting to design any illustration, an illustrator should have a clear understanding of the following information from the customer:

  • The purpose of the illustration: What message or idea is the illustration meant to convey? How will it be used (e.g. print, digital, packaging)?
  • The target audience: Who is the illustration intended for? What are their demographics, interests, and preferences?
  • The style and tone of the illustration: What type of illustration is the customer looking for? (e.g. vector, raster, hand-drawn, 3D, etc.) What is the desired mood or tone of the illustration (e.g. serious, playful, whimsical, etc.)
  • The design direction: Does the customer have any specific design elements or concepts in mind? Are there any examples of existing illustrations that they like or dislike?
  • The color scheme and composition: what are the main colors that the customer wants the illustration to have, and how the composition should be.
  • The format and size: what format and size the illustration should be.
  • The deadline: When does the customer need the illustration completed? Are there any specific milestones that need to be met along the way?
  • The usage rights: How will the illustration be used, and for how long, who will own the rights of the illustration, and what are the terms of the contract.
  • The budget: What is the budget for the illustration and what are the terms of payment.
This information helps the illustrator create an illustration that meets the customer's needs and expectations.

There are many types of illustrations that can be found on the internet, including:

  1. Vector illustrations - created using software such as Adobe Illustrator, these illustrations use mathematical equations to create scalable graphics.
  2. Raster illustrations - created using software such as Adobe Photoshop, these illustrations use pixels to create images.
  3. Hand-drawn illustrations - created using traditional mediums such as pencils and paint, these illustrations can be scanned and uploaded to the internet.
  4. 3D illustrations - created using software such as Autodesk Maya or Blender, these illustrations use mathematical models to create three-dimensional graphics.

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Example of Project Brief for Illustration Project

This template provides a structured format for creating a project brief for an illustration project. It includes essential sections such as Overview, Objectives, Target Audience, Style and Tone, Design Direction, Color Scheme and Composition, Format and Size, Deadline, Usage Rights, and Budget. Each section allows you to input specific details related to the illustration project, ensuring clarity and alignment between the client and the illustrator. This template helps streamline communication and provides a clear roadmap for the successful completion of the illustration project.

Project Title Illustrating [Insert Project Title]
Overview The illustration project aims to [briefly describe the purpose and scope of the project]. It will involve creating visually appealing images to convey specific messages or ideas effectively.
  1. Communicate complex ideas and messages in a simple and engaging way.
  2. Capture the audience's attention and make the content more interesting and memorable.
  3. Clarify complex concepts and ideas by providing visual representations.
Target Audience [Describe the target audience for the illustrations, including demographics, interests, etc.]
Style and Tone [Describe the desired style and tone of the illustrations, e.g., playful, serious, whimsical, etc.]
Design Direction [Include any specific design elements, concepts, or examples provided by the client]
Color Scheme and Composition [Describe the preferred color scheme and composition for the illustrations]
Format and Size [Specify the required format and size for the illustrations]
Deadline [Provide the deadline for completing the illustrations and any milestones]
Usage Rights [Detail how the illustrations will be used, who owns the rights, and the terms of the contract]
Budget [Specify the budget for the project and the payment terms]

Goals and Objectives

Graphic designers utilize illustration, a powerful tool, to communicate ideas and messages. Illustrations can be created using various techniques such as drawing, painting, or digital media. They find applications in diverse design projects such as posters, book covers, infographics , and advertisements .

In the context of graphic design, an illustration serves as a visual representation of an idea or concept. It can be employed to create visual metaphors, explain abstract concepts, or inject humor into a design.

When creating an illustration, it's crucial to consider the target audience and the message that needs to be conveyed. The style, color, and composition of the illustration should be chosen carefully to ensure resonance with the audience and effective communication of the intended message.

The objectives and goals of an illustration depend on the context in which it is used. For example, in web design and video design:

  • Web Design: Illustrations in web design may focus on enhancing the visual appeal of a website, making it more engaging for visitors.
  • Video Design: In video design, illustrations, including storyboards and character design, play a crucial role in storytelling by adding visual interest and complementing the overall narrative.

Specifically, the objectives of an illustration are to:

  • Communicate: Illustrations help to communicate complex ideas and messages in a simple and engaging way.
  • Engage: Illustrations can capture the attention of the audience and make the content more interesting and memorable.
  • Clarify: Illustrations can help to clarify complex concepts and ideas by providing visual representations.

Best tools for setting objectives and goals

Measurable Result

When writing a creative brief for an illustration project, it is important to establish measurable results that align with the project's triple constraint of scope, time, and cost. These results should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Examples of measurable results for an illustration project include:

  • Increasing website traffic by x% within a certain period of time through the use of the illustration on the website, while adhering to the budget and project deadline
  • Achieving a certain number of social media shares or engagement within a specific period of time through the use of the illustration on social media, while meeting the project's scope and budget
  • Improving brand awareness by x% as measured by a survey before and after the introduction of the illustration, within the time frame and budget of the project
  • Increasing sales by x% within a certain period of time through the use of the illustration on packaging or in advertising, while staying within the project's scope, time and budget constraints
  • Improving customer satisfaction as measured by a survey before and after the introduction of the illustration, while adhering to the project's scope, time and budget limits

By including measurable results in the creative brief that align with the project's triple constraint of scope, time, and cost, the illustrator and the customer can have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the illustration project, and the success of the illustration can be evaluated based on these results.

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When crafting a creative brief for an illustration project, it's essential to provide references for the illustrator to use as inspiration and guidance. These references can include examples of existing illustrations, artwork, or visual styles that align with the desired look and feel of the project. Providing references allows the illustrator to gain a deeper understanding of the customer's vision and expectations for the project, and can help to ensure that the final product meets those expectations. It's also important to note that all new ideas are often built on the foundation of existing ones, or by combining and modifying existing concepts. By providing references, the illustrator can better understand the customer's desired direction and create an illustration that aligns with that vision.

The closer the customer's and illustrator's ideas for the project match, the greater the chance that the project will be completed successfully. By providing clear and relevant references in the creative brief, the customer can help the illustrator to understand their vision and create an illustration that exceeds expectations.

Best websites with illustration references


Setting up a budget early on will help you truly manage your money and direct your decision-making. Make sure to record precise figures and, when possible, include expenditures. It will be beneficial to conduct some brief research beforehand. Are there any strategies to reduce your expenses? You'll keep your boss happy if you allow yourself some time to fiddle with the figures before you even start the work!

There are two main ways to form a budget for an illustration project: using a fixed price or an hourly rate.

Fixed Price: In this method, the customer and illustrator agree on a set price for the entire project before work begins. This method works best when the scope of the project is well-defined and the customer has a clear idea of what they want the illustration to look like. A fixed price budget can be beneficial for the customer as it allows them to have a clear understanding of the total cost of the project, and the illustrator can plan their workload and resources accordingly.
Hourly Rate: In this method, the customer and illustrator agree on an hourly rate for the illustrator's services. The total cost of the project is determined by the number of hours worked on the project. This method works best when the scope of the project is not well-defined or when the customer wants to leave room for revisions and changes. An hourly rate budget can be beneficial for the illustrator as it allows them to charge for any additional hours they may spend on the project.

It's important to note that both methods have their pros and cons, and the choice of which one to use will depend on the specific project and the needs and preferences of the customer and the illustrator. It's also important to have a clear communication and agreement on the terms of the budget before the project starts.

Video bloggers know better

The issue of fixed price and the hourly rate
always has hot discusses on the internet

Freelancer services have a lot of workers with different skills and cost per hour for close estimation market cost:

Target Audience

Who are the final customers? Actually, this is crucial. Whom does this example need to communicate with and make sense to? Who will view and utilize it? And what should it convey to that person when they view it? My memo stated "Students studying to become teachers of children between the ages of 6 and 15 make up the captive market. Parents of children in this age group as well as pre-service teachers ought to find the image to be very appealing. The intention is for them to voluntarily choose to pick up and purchase the book."

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Messaging and Tone

Is the client upscale, supportive, amiable, tech-savvy, or down to earth? Do they want to come across as brash and powerful or approachable?
Learn more about: What shades does the customer prefer or dislike? Maybe they want to stand out from the competition, who may utilize blue and green. It's a good idea to be aware of this information beforehand because the CEO can also detest the color purple. You could wish to find out which fonts they prefer.
Think about using various serif, san serif, and script fonts. Does the customer like formal fonts that convey seriousness? Or do they like scripty, handwritten ones that convey playfulness and friendliness? Is the photography they're utilizing artistic or professional? This will assist you in determining the tone of the
Learn more about: What shades does the customer prefer or dislike? Maybe they want to stand out from the competition, who may utilize blue and green. It's a good idea to be aware of this information beforehand because the CEO can also detest the color purple. You could wish to find out which fonts they prefer.
Making a mood board is the proper approach. Although Pinterest makes it incredibly simple, you may also design a mood board on a cork or bulletin board. Grab magazine cutouts, paint store color samples, and anything else that inspires you, including scraps of cloth or postcards. Typefaces or other type treatments should be added after a color. Look for images that depict the ideal customer. Just like styling a place or putting together an outfit.


In the modern world, illustration has become a key means of expression and conveying ideas. With a variety of approaches, from using artificial intelligence to freelancing and collaboration with professionals, artists face the choice between autonomous creativity and expert intervention. Let's explore the pros and cons of different methods of creating illustrations, examining how modern technologies impact artistic creativity.

Using Artificial Intelligence, Templates, Free Tools:

1.1 Pros:

  • Efficiency and Speed: AI and templates enable quick illustration creation.
  • Accessibility: Free tools and a wide range of templates are available to everyone.

1.2 Cons:

  • Lack of Uniqueness: Mass use of templates may deprive illustrations of individuality.
  • Limited Creative Possibilities: AI may restrict the realization of complex ideas.

Freelance Platforms and Agencies:

2.1 Pros:

  • Diversity of Styles: Freelancers and agencies offer various approaches and styles.
  • Individual Approach: Professionals can create unique illustrations tailored to client requirements.

2.2 Cons:

  • Financial Costs: Collaboration with professionals may be costly.
  • Time Constraints: Working with professionals may take more time.

Working with Professionals and Using Artificial Intelligence:

3.1 Pros:

  • Expert Mastery: Professionals possess experience, creating outstanding works.
  • AI in Experienced Hands: Professionals using AI achieve higher-level results.

3.2 Cons:

  • High Costs: Professional services may be expensive.
  • Time Constraints: Working with professionals may require additional time.

If you're looking to delve deeper into specific areas of work such as graphic design, video production, audio engineering, programming, copywriting, or marketing, you should check out the Project Briefs Categories on this website.

By exploring these categories, you'll find comprehensive briefs that provide detailed insights on approaching each type of work. They offer valuable information on recommended tools, techniques, and practical tips to excel in your chosen field. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a beginner, these briefs serve as a valuable resource, helping you enhance your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.

Nicolene Louw

llustrator and graphic recorder

I studied graphic design at the University of Pretoria and later completed my Master’s degree in illustration at the University of Stellenbosch. I am currently based in Cape Town where I work as a freelance illustrator and graphic facilitator.
I showcase my corporate and business illustrations on my website. My personal website ( is dedicated to my editorial and more traditional illustration work.

Download illustration project brief template

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