5 Ways Illustrations Make Your Brand Stand Out

5 Ways Illustrations Make Your Brand Stand Out

Wondering how to refresh your marketing and website with design that is uniquely you? An illustration is an image or design element that has been created from scratch; it includes cartoons, avatars, comics, infographics, charts, maps, video storyboarding and much more.  Illustrators are often fine artists and can create designs using digital tools or traditional mediums such as paint or pencils; sometimes multiple art forms are even combined in the one project. 

Check out these five reasons why illustrations will give your business a creative edge and oomph to your brand that your customers will love. 

1. Be Uniquely You 

As illustrations are designed from scratch, the sky really is the limit! 

A graphic designer is responsible for arranging visual elements including logos, imagery and text. In contrast, when you work with an illustrator, you can influence creative decisions such as the hair colour, facial expression and clothing design of an avatar or person. Need a map that shows directions to your business? An illustration can highlight a particular landmark in a clear and personalised way.

Similarly, your illustrator can create icons and infographics completely unique to your business and brand.

2. A PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS

It’s no secret that the human brain can process an image way faster than text – 60,000 times faster in fact! Illustrations can help your customers understand and connect with your brand and business quickly. Think about what elements on your website or marketing material could be communicated with an image instead of text. For example, could an idea, product or package be represented with a concise icon instead? 

3. Break Up Your Page Content

Websites and landing pages which use large paragraphs of text can be overwhelming to a customer and hard to digest. Diversify the way that you share information about your business by switching between sections of text and illustrations; show as well as tell.

Instead of listing the benefits of your business in a written list, add icons and imagery to demonstrate your offering. 

4. Share Data Clearly

We all know that sharing data or statistics in marketing can become dry and a little boring. The catch is, sharing stats on how you’ve helped your clients helps you to celebrate your wins and attract new clients. For example, if 55 KNOTS helped Sally’s freediving business grow by 150% since starting work with 55 KNOTs in 2019, we can explore the use of illustrations to express this great result.

It might be a bar chart or an illustrated drawing of Sally underwater in a snorkel and mask, smiling giving a turtle a high five with 150% written in bubbles etc. Share your wins and keep data interesting with the help of an illustrator! 

5. ADD CHARACTER QUICKLY

Communicating subtle mood, emotion and personality in your marketing is made easy with illustration. We know that using human faces in marketing and design creates an instant sense of warmth, connection and authenticity for your brand. Showcasing a clear positive mood or excited expression in character or avatar face, although small, can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your digital marketing.

Now that you know the benefits of using illustration in your marketing —  if you need any help putting together some avatars, maps or iconography for your business, jump onboard a 14-Day Free Trial of our unlimited design service!

Does Falling In Love Make You More Creative?

Does Falling In Love Make You More Creative?

True enough that love is an inevitable force, just like creativity, you cannot stop your mind from hitting rock bottom with ideas & crazy things out of your curiosity; Maybe more so than anything else. Get your mind out of the gutter for a second, though – we are talking about love itself, whether romantic or platonic; not about sex or being intimately inclined or involved. 

Passionate & wonderful effects that come to every person at one point or another are more than just weepy realizations of walking on clouds – it is a simple, straightforward method of improving your creativity & making you a better creator or an artist in your field by all means.

Love does not have to be the epicentre or focal point of creative output for it to inspire. It just has to exist on its own. Let that sink in, love exists, and that is enough. It is seamless to point out the mountains are great examples of love inspiring creativity, just like a passionate artist to its core. Not every expression of love will be like Romeo & Juliet most aspire to “roses are red” levels of comparison so to speak. People who are in love – or in love with the idea of being in love – tend to have a drastic change in their way of perception & critical thinking. 

They’re always looking forward to widening their comfort zones towards the future. When we are in love, we focus on a long-term outcome, which enhances our thinking for incorporating ideas & thereby, creative thoughts.

Anyone who hopes to make a living knows how hard it is to lift your gaze over the boundaries between the earth & sky. Yet in an instance, love removes us from our daily battles & encourages us to look for more, look further, and see deeper into the unknown. 

Creativity is just like love, it is a decision — Love is living in a fantasy world – and living in it gives you access to other parts of yourself & your potential to the extent at the same time. 

Set your sail, keep your head up high towards the cosmos & let your heart be open to accepting love to fuel your passion. That is how you make a difference; making real artistic bonds & lasting connections – Let your benevolence transpire your art & embrace your existence because that is where you will feel alive & loved

Colour Accessibility in Design & Marketing

Colour Accessibility in Design & Marketing

Did you know — 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment?

Have you considered how these statistics might affect your website & marketing?

What is colour accessibility?

When following colour accessibility guidelines, you’re looking to maximize the contrast of content and backgrounds so that all text is legible for people with low vision and colour deficiencies.

What does your marketing score?

With the use of online tools, like www.contrast-ratio.com you can find out where your brand and marketing currently sit on the scale of accessibility.

There are equations provided by the WCAG that determine two values.

  • Score
  • Ratio

By using online WCAG colour testing tools, you can input your brand colour combination to get a ratio score from 0 to 21.

This number indicates the level of contrast between your colours – 0 being low contrast and 21 being high.

There are a variety of conformance scores when looking at your colour combinations, which have been created based on the restrain they put on design.

  • Score: FAIL No impact
  • Score: A Low impact
  • Score: AA Medium impact
  • Score: AAA Heavy impact

With more restraint comes higher legibility but comes at the cost of creative flexibility.

Let’s Look at an Example:

Let’s look at the following classic blue and white colour combination found on a client website, and input their colour values into the contrast ratio checker: They receive a AAA score!

What this score means is that the colour contrast is sharp enough that text is legible for both large and small text and that these colours meet the optimal standards for people with low vision and colour deficiencies.

Now if we look at the same colours again, but make the background slightly lighter, this drops the contrast to 5.98 or a AA (AAA Large Text) rating which is still an excellent combination of colours and will suit most users.

How to Improve Your Score

In most cases, brands only require a small tweak to their colour
combinations and its something that can be done gradually over time.

If your brand sits within a AA rating, then you’re doing an excellent job.


If you want to move from an A to AA to an optimal AAA rating, some quick
wins could be:

  • Increase your font size – a AA rating can quickly jump into a AAA rating by increasing the font size
  • Add some tint (lighten) or shade (darken) to your colours – adding some tinting or shading to your background colour o text colour until the contrast ratio is vast enough to move you into the next score

Most businesses should be aiming for a AA rating;

However, If all of your marketing sits in the FAIL or A rating, it’s might be time to consider how you tackle your brand and making necessary changes to overhaul your choice in colours to better serve your customers with low vision.

We thank you.

7 Ways Awesome Graphic Design Grows a Business

7 Ways Awesome Graphic Design Grows a Business

You know those out-dated, chaotic, mish-mashed websites? The ones you squint and cringe at, then instead of reading more about the business – you’re outta there!

Or what about those logos that look like they were made in…errr…Microsoft paint? It doesn’t really shout great service or trustworthy does it now?

For new customers all the way through to your regulars, the look and feel of your website and marketing are the building blocks of your brand identity. Great design has the power to shape the way customers see and experience your service – and whether they decide to give it a try!

The team at 55 KNOTS have put together the top ways they’ve seen awesome graphic design drive customer engagement, connection and success for a business.

1. Makes the first impression count

Whether a potential customer finds you via social media, display advertising or a good old Google search, you’ve got a small window to convince them to choose you. Have they connected instantly with your strong and clear brand logo? Are you using entertaining illustrations? Is the copywriting super clear and concise?

Design isn’t just about content creation, it’s also about enabling a seamless user experience. Ever been to a website and spent ages looking for contact information then gave up? Design helps you put your most important

information upfront first so your customers easily find what they need and have a great first connection with your brand and business.

2. Builds brand consistency

People trust brands they know, they like familiarity. If your business is popping up amongst social feeds in a kaleidoscope of colours, likely, you won’t get noticed for the right reasons. You’ll be remembered by your most unfortunate colour palette. Don’t be that person.

Think about some of the world’s leading brands like CocaCola, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Apple or eBay. You can likely visualise their logos without much trouble. Why do you think that is? It’s because they’re consistent. They stick to their core brand values. They ensure all company communications and customer touchpoints align with their brand’s style. Keep your design consistent to build customer trust and loyalty.

3. Improves User Experience

Effective website design allows your new and existing customers to easily find the information they need about your business. Whether it’s finding more about your services, looking at your portfolio or just grabbing your contact information, it is essential to design your site to be intuitive, clear and concise for customers. For copy on website headers and drop-down contents be sharp, short and user friendly with language – the fewer words, the better!

A website navigation design tip that is often missed is to position your brand logo at the top left hand corner of the site which will link back to your homepage. In a similar vein, having wide, large page footers are a great, intuitive place to link to your business’ social accounts as well as your help,

FAQ and contact information. These elements all fit under the umbrella of design.

Building a new website? For more tips and tricks, read our article 6 Essential Design Hacks to Create a Website Your Customers will Love

4. Differentiates You From Your Competitors

The decisions you make around the look, feel and design of your business will help you stand out from your competitors. Is your point of difference your incredible customer service? Do you want to represent trust and stability (blue) or focus on optimism (yellow)? The colours you choose, the icons, imagery and copy all have an impact on how customers see and respond to you.

Work with a design team to build your Brand Style Guide. This document sets the visual tone, brand elements and rules that will keep your marketing materials and messaging in-line. It incorporates things like a brief outline of your company, colour palette, approved fonts (along with how to use them and where), i.e. headlines, copywriting guidelines, image styles and any other information relevant to your brand style.

5. Cuts Through On Social Media

As people spend more and more time on their smartphones and the volume of social content continues to grow, it’s essential to capture the attention of the right customers quickly! Does interactive content like a quiz cut through for your brand? Would an eBook addressing a customer pain point be the hook you need? Beautiful imagery with your logo? Video content about your services?…and the list goes on. Social content design

can’t just be attractive, it has to be designed to speak to your potential customers to either inform, entertain or inspire.

Tip: make sure you refer to your Brand Guideline when designing social content and be super clear on your unique selling points.

6. Keeps Your Focused On Your Audience

At 55 KNOTS we know that great design starts with a focus and understanding on your audience. When designing content for a brand you’ve got to get inside the minds of potential customers, appreciate the things they love and empathise with their problems. Building your brand identity and marketing collateral with the customer in mind will give your creative and online presence a whole new edge! Is your customer most concerned about price, or do they want to save time? Do they just want a brand they can trust? Designing with this information is essential to building relationships with your customers.

7. Saves You Hours

When business owners spend hours of their time trying to design content for their brand, they are losing precious time that should be spent on growing their business. You do what you do best, so you can let your graphic design team craft beautiful, engaging and compelling visuals that make a creative impact in your industry.


Our 55 Knots Graphic Design Subscription Plans are here to navigate your creative work while you captain your ship.

Need help with your website design? For affordable and consistent design your customers will love, check out the 55 KNOTS Website Packages

6 Essential Design Hacks to Create a Website Your Customers will Love

6 Essential Design Hacks to Create a Website Your Customers will Love

Need a new website to drive engagement and growth for your business but not sure where to start? Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, our design team has put together their top website design hacks to save you loads of time, money and unnecessary churn. 

So sit back, take some deep breaths and get ready to smile some big cheesy

If you’re building a new website or want to supercharge your existing one, follow our tips that will firmly anchor your brand in the minds of your customers. 

All aboard our 6-step journey to create a winning website without the headache. 

1. Align your website to your brand guidelines

You will save yourself loads of churn if you lay out and follow your brand guidelines from the get-go. A brand guideline document sets the visual tone, brand elements and rules that will keep your website, marketing materials and messaging in-line. It incorporates things like a brief outline of your company, colour palette, approved fonts (along with how to use them and where), i.e. headlines, copywriting guidelines, image styles and any other information relevant to your brand style. 

Want some tips on building your brand style guide? Read our post on Why Design Consistency Matters – A Lot.

2. Design your website for easy navigation

Effective website navigation design allows your new and existing customers to easily find the information they need about your business. Whether it’s finding more about your services, looking at your portfolio or just grabbing your contact information, it is essential to design your site to be intuitive, clear and concise for customers. For copy on website headers and drop-down contents be sharp, short and user friendly with language – the fewer words, the better! 

A basic navigation tip that is often missed is to position your brand logo at the top left hand corner of the site which will link back to your homepage. In a similar vein, having wide, large page footers are a great, intuitive place to link to your business’ social accounts as well as your help, FAQ and contact information. 

3. Use space intentionally on your website

Mindfully using space on your website will help your customers easily navigate and find the information they need as well as make for a visually clear and appealing design – to make your brand standout! We all know that there is nothing worse than a busy, messy website with text heavy, mis-matched imagery and too much content! 

For example, leaving whitespace around a product is an effective way to let the item standout without a busy background. Leaving space between images and information allows a browsing customer to stop and easily digest information without feeling overwhelmed. 

A ‘hamburger menu’ is a clever compact menu navigation invention that frees up screen space for you to prioritise more relevant content about your business. When planning your website, make intentional decisions on which images you use, how much text you need and how these elements marry up to include space. 

4. Optimise images for website speed

You might have a great service and a great website but if it takes more than a few seconds to load you might just lose the interest of a large majority of your potential customers.  It’s important to find the perfect video and image file sizes which allow for quality content without the site burden of huge files.  According to HTTP Archive, as of November 2018, videos are about 60% of a total webpage’s weight and images are on average 21% of the total. 

There are loads of great file size editing and compressing tools available such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, JPEG Mini and more. Let us know if you have any questions about optimising videos and images for your website!

5. Optimise website design for mobile

Whether you’ve been shopping online, browsing your social accounts or Googling to find a ‘lawyer near me’, according to statcounter data from April 2020, 45% of Australia’s website visits take place on a mobile device. We see so many businesses only focused on their website’s desktop design experience leaving a sub par mobile website and losing engagement of almost half of potential new customers. 

Mobile optimised websites, compared to just mobile-user friendly or responsive sites provide a better customer experience and unsurprisingly as a result drive high conversion rates. Designing a unique mobile version for your website doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming and it will certainly save you money in the long run!

6. Get the support of a professional designer

If you’ve had a crack at DIY website design but would like some creative tips and digital marketing expertise, getting a professional designer can save you hours. Professional designers are basically visual communication gurus. They are trained to translate your business and marketing goals into beautiful design. 

When it comes to uncovering that design ‘chest of treasure’, sometimes it’s easiest (and more fun) to get a crew of creative scallywags on your side!

Need help with your website design? For affordable and consistent design your customers will love, check out the 55 KNOTS Website Packages. 

20 Productive Business Ideas To Work On During Social Distancing

20 Productive Business Ideas To Work On During Social Distancing

Whether we like it or not, businesses across the country need to look at how they operate. Some companies are taking the slower pace to work on their business and others are being savvy and finding ways to pivot their services. 

Whatever the case might be if your business has slowed and you’re unsure what to work on during this time, we’ve compiled a list of 20 productive business ideas to see you through the next few months.

And in no particular order:

  1. Write That eBook – Finally, write and publish that eBook that’s been on your to-do list for months. Now is a great time to share your expertise with the world and build a following
  2. Get Online – if your business isn’t online already nows the time to be seen. Whether you hire a local company or DIY, it’s imperative now more than ever
  3. Optimise Your Website for SEO – Is your website ranking for the keywords you want in your industry? Perhaps your website needs some tweaking. Hire an expert or learn some SEO basics and start implementing strategies today
  4. Reinvent Your Brand – Have you been dreaming of a new logo or brand? Get a new look for your post-isolation identity.
  5. Start an Industry Podcast 
  6. Up Your Social Game – if you’re not already posting on social media now is the time to develop a social calendar
  7. Try a New Social Platform – TikTok and Snapchat might not seem like your first go-to’s for growing your business, but they are on the rise (just don’t get lost in TikTok for hours! ;))
  8. Create Video Content – Whether it’s educational or direct response, a video has proven time and time again to be a cost-effective way to been seen. Whether you use a professional camera or your iPhone, the most crucial element to your video is your content – make it genuine and full of value
  9. Provide Online Training – Are you an expert in your field; could you develop an online workshop or 1-on-1 mentoring? 
  10. Keep Advertising – Businesses potentially have the opportunity to get more bang for their advertising buck. With fewer businesses wanting to spend on advertising, resulting in less competition, which can result in a better return on your advertising spend
  11. Learn a New Skill –  With so many online short courses available from creative workshops to copywriting, pick up new skills to implement in your business or to provide some unique services
  12. Nurture Your Clients – Keep in contact with your clients and nurture the relationships you have, are any on the rocks or in the risk of churning, can you offer them more value during this time?
  13. Build a New Email Template – have you forgotten about your email list? Perhaps its time to give your email template a makeover and create some engaging email content
  14. Build an Opt-In Form – Whether you entice warm leads with a free giveaway, or build a pop-up into your website. If you haven’t got an opt-in email form on your website, you could be losing out on potential future customers
  15. Ask for Reviews –  Reviews create credibility, which helps new customers develop trust, reach out to your top clients and ask for reviews & recommendations for Google and Facebook
  16. Create a Brand Guide – Do you consider your brand to be just your logo? Take this time to create a guide – things you can include are brand fonts, colours, tone-of-voice, photography, iconography and cultural values. What impact do you want your business to have on the world?
  17. Get Behind a Cause – If you haven’t got financial worries, can you or your business donate time, resources or services to a charitable cause?
  18. Work With Other Businesses –  Now’s a great time to form partnerships, look through your contacts for potential opportunities and complementary businesses to partner with to provide essential products, services or unique offers
  19. Refresh Your Print Materials –  Whether you need to produce some new takeaway menus, A4 flyers or stationary, it might be time to give your print materials zhooshing
  20. Be Mindful – During these times, its imperative more than ever to look after your primary asset. Yourself. Take time to be grateful for what you can, pause and reflect – it’s a tough time and okay to be stressed.

I hope you found these 20 tips to be useful, and if you need any help, please get in touch, or if you want to have a virtual coffee, I’d love to have a chat.

Stay safe and keep savvy. 

Benjamin Williams – www.55knots.com.au