Concept illustrations dictate whether or not your product idea gets a fair trial during both internal and external evaluation.
This is because a concept illustration works as a vehicle for communicating your concept to your audience. If your illustration is flawed, your product idea is at risk of being wrongly judged or simply not judged at all, since your audience's focus will be inadvertently diverted.
Over the course of Knack's lifetime, we've created and interacted with hundreds of concept illustrations, which has provided us the opportunity to observe common elements that make or break an effective concept illustration.
It's a bummer to see a concept illustration become more of a roadblock than a vehicle, so I'm hoping our observations will help you in crafting more effective illustrations.
Let's have a look at 5 common concept illustration mistakes:
1. Not Naming the Concept
To ignore the importance of your concept's name is to miss a huge opportunity for communicating with your audience. Take advantage of the power of not just visuals, but also words to give your audience another dimension of understanding.
Sure, you've probably titled your illustration page "Concept One" or simply "1." But this is not a name that gives your audience any additional information about what your concept is and why they should care.
A good name is descriptive of the concept, telling of what makes this concept different from the others, and memorable.
2. Not illustrating for your Audience
Often, concept illustrations are sketched in the same style and fidelity regardless of the project- regardless of who the concept illustration is intended to communicate with.
To avoid an unfair evaluation of your concept, your illustration must be intentionally formatted in a way that your specific audience will be able to clearly understand.
First, you must know who your audience is. Second, you must know what their visual language is.
Do they better understand 3D visuals? 2D visuals? Do they require high-fidelity visuals or can they understand low-fidelity easily?
For example, there is a big difference between what you should illustrate if you are trying to receive feedback on your concept from a child versus an adult.
A good illustration communicates directly to your audience by being constructed in a style and fidelity that they are able to digest in order to clearly understand and then evaluate your concept.
3. Showing Too much Detail
You have the best intentions with this one. You want to make sure no stone is left unturned and that every key feature of your concept is shared with your audience.
The problem is, details invite attention and if those details aren't essential to the areas you are looking for feedback on, they are going to divert your audience's focus.
A good illustration is focused solely on the big idea behind your concept. Once you form your big idea, your illustration should include only what information is necessary to communicate what it is and why your audience should care.
No more. No less.
4. Not Making The Big Idea Clear
"What is it?"
A good illustration will answer this question for your audience.
If your audience can't answer this question for themselves by looking at your illustration, they will be unable to fairly evaluate your product idea because they don't truly understand what it is.
Above all else, give enough description, context, and information through your illustration views to communicate what your big idea is.