Illustrating the Future of Property Marketing

There’s a transformation underway across Australia, in terms of development and infrastructure, and we’ve noticed a trend emerging from within the property-marketing scene, namely, the use of illustration to enhance a campaign and deliver vibrancy and a sense of community – something that is now essential in this competitive (and possibly downward turning) market.

What’s changed?

In the current climate, smart developers are choosing to invest more heavily in creative strategy, answering the question, “Why should this place exist and who will care”? Gone are the formulaic days of delivering the same suite of materials, in the same way, in the same style. Hard quantitative and qualitative research on target markets is being done upfront, leading to more intelligent and considered projects, and buyers are demanding much more in the way of sophistication in communication.

Developers are investing in property marketing that extends beyond a logo and a glossy sales brochure – we are seeing campaigns that are playful, distinctive and specifically geared to engage the local community, just as much as potential buyers and investors. Under increasing pressure to make their projects stand out, they’re using illustration to rise above the clutter.

The branding of a site has a significant impact on how people perceive and react to it – new developments are often met with a negative or change resistant attitude and in some cases, resentment. But it’s becoming apparent that beautiful, illustrative campaigns are more readily welcomed. Having a place-making story matched with good branding and a device to tell that story i.e. illustration, seems to be bridging the gap between seller and buyer – calming and reassuring purchasers by better communicating the benefits.

When building an engaging and effective suite of visual assets to present a project, it’s important to demonstrate sensitivity to the concerns of neighbouring residents and business owners. The campaign strategy informs how a project ‘talks’ and, perhaps more importantly, ‘listens’ to its surroundings – visual ideas that demonstrate an understanding of buyers’ needs have a huge impact on the success of a project. What we have been particularly thrilled to observe of late is that developers and creative contributors alike seem to understand the importance of locating the soul of a development.

Finding the compelling story that sets a development apart is essential but that story also needs to be visually distinctive. Place-making focused campaigns have the opportunity to ask questions and steer the conversation in a specific direction. The use of illustration can help to create a unique campaign that not only informs, but illuminates.

Is illustration a ‘trend’ in property marketing?

If we were going to pick one trend this year – delightfully – it would be the use of illustration. The need to create an impression of what is coming before it actually exists is a challenge that can be easily overcome via this medium – you are literally only limited by your imagination.

Here are our top five favourite examples of great illustration used as part of a property marketing campaign:

1. Local Peoples – ‘Habitat’, Abbotsford (VIC)

Agency, Local Peoples, collaborated with local artist, Antra Švarcs, to bring their ‘Guide to Good Living’ brochure to life. The illustrative component of the project’s collateral showcased the lifestyle that buyers could enjoy at Habitat – Abbotsford. Purchasers were invited to be open, breathe deeply, eat local, make friends, feel refreshed, travel often and think smart with simple, brightly coloured, evocative scenes depicted in Antra’s blissfully playful and jolly style.

Melbourne-based illustrator, Antra Švarcs, sourced inspiration for her unique Habitat illustrations from the surrounding spaces and places. We feel the images she created truly evoke a sense of serenity and nostalgia. The colour palette has a distinctly home wares feel to it – a clever and fitting choice for the target buyer profile.


2. The National Grid (TNG) ‘Charlie Parker’, Harris Park (NSW)

Coronation Property’s boutique 111-residence development in Harris Park (on the corner of Charles and Parkes streets) went to market under wide acclaim and with strong take-up. The National Grid (TNG) delivered the branding, placemaking and marketing concepts for this project and attribute the success of the campaign to collaboration and the use of illustration.

There was some serious talent at this projects’ table – award-winning architects, FJMT, celebrity landscape designer, Jamie Durie from Durie Design, Shannon Vos from VOS Creative (former winner of Channel 9’s – The Block, Glass House), famous sculptor duo, Gillie & Marc, and street artists, Shannon Crees and Elliott ‘Numskull’ Routledge (organised by Authority Creative).

TNG collaborated with the architect, illustrators and sculptors appointed to bring the idea to life and Charlie Parker – half man, half elephant, and always depicted with his little bird mate – was born. The Charlie Parker identity and illustrated story was seamlessly weaved through every touch point of the campaign – from the guerrilla street posters and pavement decals to the digital and print advertising that created intrigue and mystery around who this Charlie Parker character was – right through to micro-detail touches like the subtle silhouette of Charlie seen peering out of the window in one of the exterior CGIs (Binyan Studios)…and Bunny Girl and Dog Man enjoying the luxurious pool! Read more here.

3. Frost Collective‘Amara’, Alexandria (NSW)

Frost Collective produced a beautiful property campaign for Amara Living’s, Amara in Alexandria. The brand idea – happiness from beauty – drove all brand and marketing communications and set this development apart by tapping into our love of curated, creative lifestyles.

Frost Collective commissioned Dutch illustrator, Bodil Jane, to create a series of lifestyle images and representations designed around the theme of happiness. These beautiful bespoke illustrations reflect the development’s essence and help to inject personality into the campaign. Bodil’s work was used across all brand executions.

4. Heavenly‘Fitzroy Place’, London (UK)


With an increase in off-the-plan property developments in Central London, each one claiming to be more central than the next, Heavenly were challenged to create a standout campaign and effectively champion the incredible location of this development in the heart of the West End.

The brand idea – the spirit of creativity – was inspired by Fitzrovia’s rich cultural history, with its list of former residents reading like a roll call of London’s creativity including Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and John Constable. The hand-illustrated area map showcasing London’s top attractions was accompanied by beautiful portraits of some of the area’s most famous former residents. In the display suite, an artist illustrated the building’s facade – live – directly on to glass with white Posca.

5. Studio Brave‘The Hugo’, Footscray (VIC)

The Hugo is a multi-residential development in the emerging suburb of Footscray. The marketing campaign positioned the development in a unique way by capturing the spirit behind the developer’s vision, and the rich culture and diversity of the area. They titled the project ‘Footscray Reimagined’ and commissioned local artist, Andy Murray (Gatsby), to illustrate visions of a vibrant Footscray lifestyle. The illustrations added great depth and a realness to the project’s marketing collateral. Gatsby’s depictions captured the beautifully honest side of the area – adding authenticity and charm to the campaign – that really helped see this project get noticed above all others.

How can we help?

Illustration is often thought of as a niche art form reserved for kid’s books and gig posters. The commercial applications are so often misunderstood, overlooked or under-utilised. The truth is – in this visually driven, hi-tech world – illustration is an extraordinarily powerful tool that can draw much wanted attention to a project and set it apart from its competition.

And we are here to help!