13. Realistic vs Illustration

In this post, I will talk about the similar functions between the photoshopped advertisement that I’ve collected and how it is different from illustrated version.

Photoshop base is more into realistic style.
Those are few of the photoshopped advertisements that attract me.I’m more into these advertisement that show awareness than fashion advertisement, it is quite straight forward in visual aspect but do let me think twice about the issue. I already shown some in my previous posts but here are some others that I personally like it.
17-aging-anti-smoking-ad (1)1-stop-smoking-ad-by-ayalmeir  maxam 4-quit-smoking-ads-posters4d9ea6f5e28191c7ef5be1577d27f837lifebuoydog
Semiotics Terminology can be seen in the photos above.
All of the photos above are going for surreal style because to show awareness, is better to relate the image objects with the reality but in a twisted way so that it can let the audience understand easily on what that certain object represent and think twice of what that certain object mean when it being place in this way or combine with other elements.

One of the example from the first photo, we know that ‘secondhand smoke’  means non-smoker who breath in toxic-chemical from cigarette. The photo show that the kid’s ‘second hand’ holding a cigarette, which telling the audience that kids literally still smoke if you smoke because they are inhaling the toxic chemical that released by your cigarette.

The third photo is quite interesting too, indexical sign can be seen in here, it send the message to the audience in a tricky but interesting way. It shows the detail of a place and people inside the tooth, at first I was distracted by the beauty of it’s visual and did not think about the message it want the audience to receive but the words on the bottom right bring me back to track. It says “Don’t let them stay” and the word stay in here means decayed (the sound of ‘stay’ and decayed’ in Chinese are similar) which is telling the audience to avoid tooth decay. In here, a small sentence also plays a big role in sending the message (ads by a toothpaste company).

Same goes to the last photo of that pug that looks like bread, it wrote “You eat what you touch” which means that if you eat after you touch a certain thing without washing your hand properly, you are literally eating that thing (ads by a soap company).

As you can see, each of them contain an object’s image that act as signifier (any material thing that signifies – words,images or expression) which also signified the audience with their concepts (awareness of…) so I really like this kind of advertisement , it shows a creative way to tell the audience , it’s fun and interesting to see and think.

So,what about graphical illustrated advertisement?
When I browse through Google for awareness ads in graphical illustrate base , the results were all still in Photoshop base , illustrate ads can be seen mostly in products advertising because the style is more into colorful and abstract style which is not suitable to show serious awareness.
Based on some research by Mike Vito and Louis Perrotta, bright colors and creative shapes are most likely to gain more attention since people tend to see visual first (Mike,V and Louis,P ,2006).

1232441253513395 1244091253296169  lake_0

I find the third image quite interesting, the style is like what we can see in children’s book since it is about an ad about safe guarding children from websites to prevent ‘things’ in internet to ruin them (notice on the left, there’s a soldier going to shoot a guy). For me, this image kind of a combination of photoshop and illustration , everything is colorful and imaginary graphics and then there’s a realistic humans which stands out from the image.


This is still consider as fantasy to me since it is based on a Marvel comic. Compare to other breast cancer ads, I prefer this idea, the graphic is simple but it does convey a message clearly in an interesting way- “even super woman can get breast cancer”. The downside is, people who doesn’t know about this comic, wouldn’t understand it.

After observing all the photos above, I feel like normally this kind of illustration ads hardly convey a message clearly compare to Photoshop.
As for Photoshop base, the visual is hard to gain any attention if put as poster aside with illustration base but it is more ‘clean’ and realistic for the audience to understand the concept/message.

For “realistic” visuals, people can “relate” to realistic depictions better than to abstract ones, which is in turn probably a function of their imagery value regardless of their specific content. (John R.R , 1982)

Webneel(n.d.). 30 Brilliant Anti Smoking Advertisements for your inspiration – Best Posters and Campaigns. Available at: http://webneel.com/30-brilliant-anti-smoking-advertisements-your-inspiration-best-print-ads-and-posters [Accessed on 24th June 2015]

John R.R , (1982), VISUAL IMAGERY: APPLICATIONS TO ADVERTISING, Association for consumer research. Available at: http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=5909 %5BAccessed on 20th June 2015]

The University of Vermont(n.d.), Semiotic Terminology. Available at: http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/semiotics_and_ads/terminology.html %5BAccessed on 24th June 2015]

Dr.Brian(2012),Visuals in Advertising, WordPress.Available at: https://smartamarketing.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/visuals-in-advertising/ %5BAccessed on 24th June 2015]

Mike,V. and Louis,P. (2006),Attention In Advertising, Berkeley EECS. Available at: http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~stellayu/artvis/project/ad/index.html %5BAccessed on 24th June 2015]


One thought on “13. Realistic vs Illustration

  1. Good in-depth entries. Great that you visited other blogs.

    Photoshop in Advertising seems to be an angle for you to consider more on.

    Draft an outline on what an essay on this topic would be.

    Consider how the semiotic meanings of these ads attracts you. I-Lann’s work is more poetic and less straight forward. It’s like the difference between a cartoon and graphic novel. Ads are simple and straightforward, art is more subtle. Collect your favorite photoshopped ads together and consider how their imagery function semiotically.

    Do consider how photoshopping a surreal or fantastic ad is different from an illustrated version. Any examples of illustrated ads that are similar in style or technique to ones you highlighted?


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