Bringing concepts to life with illustration

Bringing concepts to life with illustration

23 June 2015 |
Posted in Branding | Illustration

Finding appropriate imagery for a fertility magazine can be a challenge when trying to bring concepts and emotions to life. Here we explain how illustration helped us with the visual design of Ova magazine, produced for our client, the JD Healthcare Group.

Now in it’s fifth edition, Ova represents five companies that come under the JD Healthcare Group umbrella - the London Women’s Clinic, the Bridge Centre, the London Sperm Bank, the London Egg Bank, and the London Ultrasound Centre.

As a long-term client, we’d already worked on many branding projects across the Group and had developed a look and feel for each. Some of these projects included commissioning illustrations to help define the brand of each company.

“With these illustrations already in use across the marketing materials, it made sense to apply them to the appropriate articles within the magazine, as they were reinforcing what had already been done in terms of brand identity,” explains, Andrea Gosling, designer at Silk Pearce.


Allan Drummond’s open illustrative style is used for the Bridge Centre. The soft and flowing designs create a gentle and approachable identity.


Sarah Coleman’s work, commissioned for the London Egg Bank, demonstrates that illustrations are more than just pictures. The handwritten text denotes a personal, feminine and sensitive approach.


Harriet Russell’s hand drawn work is used for the London Women’s Clinic's egg-sharing programme ( The concept of fertility sharing is the subject behind her illustrations for this sector. Here we overlaid Harriet's botantical illustration onto a textured background.


The bold graphic illustrations for the London Sperm Bank were designed by Andrew Sharman, at Silk Pearce. The designs are much more direct than the other illustrations commissioned for the Group as they are aimed at sperm donors rather than those seeking fertility treatment. Their playfulness and sense of humour sits well with the target market.

Apart from these already commissioned illustrations, the magazine also includes a mix of photographs featuring staff and medical procedures. There are also lots of photos of families that have received treatment at the clinics, with their new little bundles of life!

But despite all of these lovely images, there was still a gap, "We were also looking for an exciting visual way to bring other stories to life that dealt with concepts," explains Andrea. "After looking for an illustrator whose style would encapsulate what we wanted, we invited Jessie Ford to fulfil the brief.”

“Jessie’s illustrative style was chosen because we liked the softness of her images,” says Jack Pearce, Creative Head at Silk Pearce. “We’re particularly drawn to how she combines drawing, painting and print texture and the way that her shapes sometimes go behind and beyond the image and sometimes include words or symbols.”

Jessie was asked to create several illustrations dealing with single motherhood, the Same Sex Marriage Act and the fertility journey, including the emotions involved with the highs and lows of treatment. For the fertility journey illustration we sent Jessie an example of one of her previous visuals that we particularly liked.


We loved how Jessie put together a collage of ideas within the ‘Transport for London’ illustration. The final visual (right) tells the story of the fertility journey that features in Ova.

But what process does Jessie follow when creating an illustration? At first she makes a rough sketch with her initial idea and then finalises the drawing and prints it out. "I use this template to hand cut paper into the shapes from the illustration and then I scan the different elements into Photoshop," Jessie explains. "I'm able to achieve the texture and handcrafted feel to my work, because each part of the image started off as a hand cut piece of paper or a hand drawn line." At the final stage she assembles the layers and plays with the colours using Photoshop.


Jessie’s initial sketches to illustrate a story about the Same Sex Marriage Act (left). The shapes of the birds have been adjusted within the final illustrations.


Jessie was given a copy of each article page layout, including a placeholder image, where the illustration would be positioned (left). From this Jessie was able to progress with her initial sketches.


Jessie’s final illustrations that encapsulate single motherhood.

If you'd like to know more about these illustrations please send us an email.

Or, why not take a better look at our branding work for The Bridge, London Sperm Bank and The London Women's Clinic