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30 Representational Art

Depictions of reality can be delivered straight up, as in the case of a tightly rendered illustration or a photograph.

Reality-based visuals can also be presented through stylized imagery. This is probably the widest (and most varied) category in which visuals can be placed—a category that includes contemporary modes of illustration and photography, impressionistic fine-art paintings, and era-based graphic depictions (think: flowing art nouveau designs from the 1930s, bold Soviet poster imagery from the 1950s, psychedelic album covers from the 1960s, and so on).

Depictions of reality can also be altered in ways that ensure the delivery of conveyances like surrealism, fantasy, humor, horror, or mystery.

Digital photography and image-altering software has made it easier than ever to create visuals of genres like these using the computer, though some artists still prefer to create their conveyances of altered reality using old-school media like paints, pencils, and inks (or the digital equivalents of these traditional tools).

Are you rendering a particular subject for the logo or layout you’re working on? If so, don’t settle on a specific approach until you have considered your options. Look through illustration and design annuals for ideas. Look through art history books, too. Even the best illustrators regularly survey material outside their own portfolio for ideas and inspiration.

Do you possess the skills necessary to illustrate your subject as you see fit? If yes, then go for it. If maybe, then how about taking a stab at it and possibly spending some time off-the-clock teaching yourself the required skills? If no, then start looking for an illustrator who can pull it off for you—budget permitting.

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