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Design Thoughts

New Illustration Trends, Tools and Design System Launches

Design Picks from our Design Team #3
New Illustration Trends, Tools and Design System Launches

This month’s post is a compilation of what our product designer at Marvel, Maxime, found inspiring this month in design.

3D: The new illustration trend for 2019?

2017 & 2018 were the years where 3D was more prominent than ever before. Pokemon Go reached 500 million downloads. We saw Apple releasing their new Animoji's and Memoji's. IKEA launched Place, an AR app to place furniture in your room. Google Cardboard allows you to view 3D VR scenes without spending hundreds of dollars on a VR setup. Apple released a full 3D animated holiday commercial, called Share Your Gifts. Tinder combined 3D characters with photo scenes in their commercial, called Invention of Together.

Most of these companies can afford to take the risk to experiment with big budgets on 3D, the above projects would have involved months of work. However, suddenly we're seeing websites popping up like pitch.com and interview.ueno.co.

They incorporate 3D characters which are simple, cute and have a shiny vinyl texture which makes them realistic. So I wondered, will 3D take over web illustrations soon by using simple characters with not too much detail?

I started reading the articles by UENO on Getting started with 3D and The Ueno 3D Interview: Behind the Scenes, soon after. This really helped me better understand their approach, it also explained how much work is involved in creating 3D illustrations. After keeping an eye on Anna Kajda andArek Kajda's Twitter, I figured out their artwork was as follows:

3D artwork (PITCH's WORKFLOW)

  1. Sketches
  2. ZBrush Modelling
  3. UV map the characters for colouring
  4. Rigging the characters
  5. Import the characters in Cinema 4D for creating a scene
  6. Add lightning
  7. Make a render, and cross your fingers your computer stays cool

As you can see, there are lots of steps involved in creating 3D artwork that many designers, like me, wouldn't have thought of. It shows that creating this type of artwork is extremely time consuming and expensive, so I understood immediately why 3D illustrations aren't so common in web design.

I think it's very likely we'll see more 3D in web design in 2019 but it will not take over from 2D artwork yet. 3D artwork are much harder to produce and far more expensive, so we might see 3D illustrations for bigger companies emerging but early stage startups will not be able afford this.


In 2018, Procreate was Apple's best selling iPad app. It also made it to Apple's best of 2018 lists. Procreate is a digital illustration app which comes comes with a massive toolset and provides an extremely satisfying fluid painting experience.

It gained so much popularity over the past few years, that even Adobe decided to announce it's own tool called Project Gemini. The rise of illustrations on the web and stickers in messaging apps might have contributed to this success.

Last week, I discovered the Instagram profile of Gal Shir, a very talented designer from Tel Aviv. On his channel he posts regular videos of him working on illustrations in Procreate. It's interesting to see how quickly he creates his artwork, without too much post processing needed.

Gal Shir doesn't only make beautiful illustrations, he's also behind ColorHunt, a color palette inspiration web app.

Go check out his work on Instagram

View this post on Instagram

Just a cactus ???? Made with #procreate on iPad Pro 12.9 inch - saying goodbye to this iPad because my new one is on the way ???? be ready for many more process videos! ???? Hope you enjoy watching! #art #design #creative #diy #ipadpro

A post shared by Gal Shir (@thegalshir) on

Designers Eye

“Move it one pixel to the left, now to the right. Now it's centred, beautiful!” It's likely you've heard something like this in a discussion between designer and developers.

Supremo an agency from Manchester (UK) made a fun, little game based on this called “Designers Eye”. The game presents you with 10 shapes where you have to guess if the dot inside the shape is centred.

Go try it out yourself!

Reading HEX codes

If you're a designer, you've probably used HEX codes a million times, however their values can often mean nothing.

Being a designer for almost 13 years, I know that #000000 equals black and #FFFFFF equals white. But that's where my knowledge stops. Luckily, David DeSandro gave a short presentation about this in Paris at the dotCSS conference. Even though I might not be able to use the values off the top of my head after watching it, I appreciate having a better understanding of them now.


This month, I stumbled upon the first book by Brosmind, “Why, how, what?”. Brosmind is an art studio founded in Barcelona, Spain in 2007 by two brothers. If you don't know their work, visit their website to get a taste of their clean but crazy design style. Every inch of this book is beautiful and fun. If you go ahead an order one, you might be shocked by delivery time. But trust me, it will be worth it!

Design Systems

Another month, another bundle of design systems discovered.

If you don't know what design systems are, go check out our blog post: What is a Design System Anyway?

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Designer and Developer @marvelapp. Belgian.

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