An illustration system for a calmer mind

Spring Health

Services

Design systems ❋ Iconography ❋ Illustration systems

Team

Henry Bayuzick ❋ Timo Kuilder

Project

As part of the expansion of the Spring Health brand and product experience, I developed and designed a suite of product icons as well as spot illustrations to be used in tandem with larger editorial illustrations.

Where I came in

The Spring Health team approached me about designing a set of product icons. They mentioned they were also looking for larger scale illustrations. After seeing their moodboards, I introduced them to Timo Kuilder who joined our project to create hero illustrations. I then got started on iconography and spot illustrations.

Creating options

They loved Timo's style of work, so we decided to use that as a jumping off point alongside all their brand guidelines. I built 3 different styles of iconography for them to choose from for the product side. Simultaneously, I drew a selection of spot illustrations to make sure I could create work that would seamlessly mesh with Timo's editorial illustrations.

Left: product iconography samples; Right: spot illustration tests

From there, we refined the style that Spring identified and went on to flesh out concepts for each of their icons. Some icons required many rounds of revision, some were simpler. This image below is one of the earlier rounds in the process.

Exploration of product icon concepts

Building a cohesive library

Once we made final decisions, we created a library in Figma which the design team at Spring could use to place iconography into their designs.

Final icon library

Once we finalized these, it was time to create the spot illustrations. It is important to me that when creating illustration systems, the metaphors are scaleable. For product icons which had a representation at the spot illustration size, we used the same metaphor, and simply "grew" the concept.

Left to right: "Struggle", "Medication", "Substance Abuse"

The full spot illustration library came together pretty quickly because we had already established our metaphors at the smallest scale. At this point, it became about expression, execution, and creating synergy with Timo's hero illustrations.

The black and white spot illustration set

At the same time I was building all this work, Timo was hard at work on hero illustrations. He had been exploring various color palettes as well as concepts.

Image credit to Timo Kuilder
The duotone spot illustration set

After seeing Timo's work with color, it inspired me to create a secondary library of spot illustrations in color that would allow the team to play with the palette and create more value from the same illustrations, with a low lift on my end. Adding color meant needing to create further guidelines about how to use color, since it is more complex than the black and white we had originally intended. This supplemented our guidance around metaphor, use of shape, and brand voice. For instance, if the subject matter for the icon is serious in tone, respect the tone by removing more playful elements, and instead rely on grounded subjects.

Selection from the style guide of guidelines for using color and metaphor
We also created guidelines for animation consideration

Success of the project

Efficiency

By working in Figma with highly flexible shapes, it is easier for designers to create their own color palettes, meaning they don't need an illustrator when experimenting with color.

Consistency

By working in close communication with Timo, we were able to create a system from product icon all the way to hero that feels like one cohesive brand experience.

Relief

By building a cohesive system with clear guidelines, the Spring team doesn't need to keep experimenting with new illustration styles. In fact, Spring are planning to rehire Bonnie Kate to help on some larger scale illustration work, despite it having started with Timo.

Overall

We made the Spring Health team's dream a reality. When they came to me, the team wasn't sure if they could get what they wanted because so many high profile illustrators are so expensive. By being able to offer my personal connection to Timo, and offering a package deal on iconography and spot illustrations together, they were able to get exactly what they wanted without breaking the bank.

It's been a pleasure working with BK – she's so creative, quick, and kind.

Henry Bayuzick, Product Design Manager