• Branding and Visual Identity
  • 7 min read

Use Illustrated Profile Photos To Kick Up Your Branding

  • Author
  • Ian Bower
  • Published
  • Dec 21, 2020
7 min read

Use Illustrated Profile Photos To Kick Up Your Branding

Gone are the days of employees being faceless names behind an organization. Whether your business is home to just 5 or 150 team members, you can bet that clients, potential customers, or job candidates want to be able to put a face to each and every name.

This is why businesses are turning more and more to showcasing profile photos of their employees, including on their website, social media, marketing materials, and more. But rather than jumping on the bandwagon, how can you embrace this benefit-driven trend while allowing your brand to stand out from the crowd?

The solution is easy: utilize illustrated employee portraits, instead of the all-too-common headshot. Illustrated portraits aren’t just incredibly fun, but also offer a whole host of advantages over their traditional (and dare we say, just a tad boring) photographic counterparts. Keep reading, because we’re going to explore the various ways you can use illustrated employee profile images, as well as how you can quickly and easily get a designer to whip them up for you.


Why use illustrated employee profile photos?

Your employees are an extension of your brand, so it only makes sense to include images of them across your online presence and marketing materials as a way of strengthening your brand identity, fostering personal connections, and showing that there are indeed humans on the other side of your business.

It seems like a no-brainer, but why would you use illustrated employee portraits over the tried-and-tested photograph? Let’s take a look at the advantages.

Sets you apart from your competitors

We often fall into the trap of doing something just because everyone else around us is doing it, but when it comes to operating a business, this will certainly stop you from ever reaching the top. Instead, think outside of the box with your employee portraits and turn them into eye-catching illustrated versions instead.

In a widely competitive world, every point of difference counts, so why not make this one of them?

Puts your brand at the forefront of unique, edgy branding

Illustrated employee portraits currently aren’t the norm; in fact, they’re a fun surprise, and will instantly give your branding a unique and edgy aesthetic. The traditional corporate headshot can be interpreted as “business as usual”, and even though some may experiment with colorful and quirky profile photos, it’s an illustrated portrait that takes this engagement to a whole new level. It showcases a light-hearted side of your business, which is something all consumers can relate to. 

Wired Magazine Staff

Can put employees at ease

Here’s the thing about employee profile photos: not everyone loves having their photo taken, nor are they over-the-moon about it being displayed on a website for all to see. An illustration of the employee gives it a degree of separation, however, as we find it much easier to distance ourselves from the final result and avoid pouring over it to analyze any personal imperfections. It’s just a representation, after all.

Provides easy to obtain branding assets

Let’s say your business’ website contains a portrait photo of each staff member, along with one group photo of the entire team together. What happens every time you hire an additional staff member? It can be time-consuming and costly to call out the same photographer each and every time you need an additional photo.

When your employee portraits are illustrated, however, there’s no need to get everyone together in the same place at the same time, nor does anyone have to visit you on-site just to snap a picture. Instead, a graphic designer can create the employee illustration based on a photo you email through, with the entire process taking place online. And as for that team group photo? It’s a lot easier for a graphic designer to simply edit their original design to include an extra person or two.

Loraine Yow

More versatile

Did you know a graphic designer can provide multiple versions of each employee for you to use in different contexts? For example, one employee illustration might feature just a close-up of their face, while another could feature their full body and showcase them performing their role (i.e. talking on the phone, typing on a computer, or performing a presentation).

As for those different contexts we mentioned, we’ll talk more about the specifics of where you might want to use employee illustrations in the next section.


How to use illustrated employee profile photos

Now that you know the numerous advantages of illustrated employee portraits, let’s look at the various ways these graphics can be used in your marketing and branding.

Team page

We’ve talked about this one previously, as your team page is the most common place to see employee portraits – whether as illustrations or photos. The Team page is the perfect destination for housing all of your employee portraits, however, as it’s the place visitors will go to to learn more about your business and individual team members, as well as to gain a sense of who does what.

Remote learning platform, Yarno, has a Team page that’s filled with illustrated employee portraits, for example.

Yarno Team Page

Individual bio

You may even take your Team page a step further and include separate bio pages for each staff member. When a visitor clicks on an employee to learn more about them, it can be beneficial to showcase a different illustration of the employee – perhaps representing what role they have within the business or highlighting a fun hobby they enjoy in their spare time (such as surfing or cooking, for example).

Take a look at this portrait of Jane Lee, the Senior Content Manager at Epic Reads, designed by Delaney Gibbons, for example.

Delaney Gibbons


You can also spice-up the aesthetic of your blog by including illustrations of your employees, particularly with the blog posts they write or which are focused on an aspect of the business that they’re in control of. Yarno provides another great example of this, as they have fun with their blog post cover images by including illustrations of their employees in different scenarios, whether sitting at their desk, standing on a remote island, or gazing into a crystal ball.

Similarly, you can also utilize your employee’s illustrated portraits as their blog post author image, as Yarno also does here.

Yarno Blog

Social media

When you use illustrated employee portraits across your blog or website, then you can also easily share this type of content on your social media platforms to further enhance brand identity and cohesivity. If you’ve recently won a small business prize, why not share an illustration of the company CEO holding a trophy? Or perhaps you’ve welcomed a new team member and can introduce them in an eye-catching illustration, along with an interesting caption about them? Consumers love brands that aren’t afraid to get creative.


Whether it’s in an email signature, account profile photo, or both – having each employee use their illustrated portrait in this manner further boosts your brand identity and helps your company stand out amongst a crowded inbox.

 If you have any additional questions about illustrated employee portraits or want to request your own images be created, then please reach out to our team of professional graphic designers. We’d love to help! 

The Daily Design Business or Enterprise Plan will allow for you to create the illustrated employee photos of your dreams. Click HERE to get started!

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  • Ian Bower
  • Ian is the owner of Graphic Rhythm as well as other businesses that revolve around design, copywriting and Amazon marketplace selling. He's an expert in communicating persuasively and loves helping business owners and digital agencies breathe life into their projects and ideas.

    He values generosity and attention to detail and strives to make sure these values are apparent in the services he provides and the businesses he owns.

    When Ian isn't working, you can find him outside hiking, camping and spending time with his wife and children

  • Ian is the owner of Graphic Rhythm as well as other businesses that revolve around design, copywriting and Amazon marketplace selling. He's an expert in communicating persuasively and loves helping business owners and digital agencies breathe life into their projects and ideas.

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