Diversity and Disability in Illustrations: Part 2

Diversity and Disability illustrations by other companies

This insight series helps us understand how Diversity and Disability can be represented authentically in illustrations. The aim of this series is to help you understand why representation matters through insights, tips and research related to inclusive illustration.

In Part One we addressed how our mindset effects diversity and disability representation in illustrations and gave tips on how to choose or draw more inclusive art.

In Part Two we will examine how different companies around the world represent Diversity and Disability through illustrations.

What are different companies doing to represent Diversity and Disability?

Atlassian

Atlassian Meeples

Atlassian’s Meeples have expanded beyond the limited range of a few personas and have made a series of characters which represents a diverse range of their audiences. Atlassian chose to diversify their imagery so they can help people of different genders, abilities, ages and identities find themselves in their branding.

A close up of a logo

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Atlassian full bodied artwork.

For images of full-bodied characters, Atlassian chooses to give their Meeples fewer facial details, and instead they focus more on the interactions between each character. Having a focus on full-bodied characters has enabled Atlassian to show a more realistic range of body sizes, abilities and proportions. They aim for all characters in the images to contribute equally.

Airbnb

Before and after illustrations
Development of AirBnB illustration style

Airbnb adapted their own illustration style by moving away from caricature and bubbly illustration styles to a minimal and more excitable art style. Airbnb’s new illustration style was developed by referencing real photos of people who represent every day life, such as AirBnB customers, friends, family members and co-workers. Thus, AirBnB celebrates the diverse identities that make up the everyday world around us.

Sketches of facial details
A set of different facial feature types from AirBnB.

Airbnb conducted a study where they observed the differences of facial features in different people. By doing this, they showed authenticity in the representation of diversity. Airbnb also emphasises the inclusion of people whose identities intersect with disabilities, age, gender, race, nationality and sexuality. “Normal is Diverse”.

Host communicates with guests through Airbnb app

Facebook

In 2019, Facebook undertook a project that helped develop an inclusive and diverse brand illustration language. Facebook identified that when illustrations have multiple people, power dynamics and relationships are defined between them.

Facebook placed the woman in a position of power as to challenge the ‘default’ that the woman is being taught.

Thank you for reading our second insight into Diversity and Disability Illustrations. Diversity and Disability illustrations are becoming more popular and normalized today because of the efforts of these companies.

Please stay tuned for our final instalment, Part Three, in which we research into how does Australia and other countries around the world address Diversity and Disability through illustrations, and where we reflect on how authentic representation of Diversity and Disability still has a long way to go.