I am currently working for a retail company that has a successful in-store branding that is 99% illustration. But there has been many discussions over bringing such a strong illustration style to the websites hero content (such as the carousel images).

So I was searching to find out if there is any tests where the hero content is either a lifestyle photo (not stock), and illustration or a composition of both. Would anyone have any good insight into this to help decide what would be better from a UX perspective rather than a brand preference?

  • this is really broad, we have no idea what the product, target or market is, which kind of illustration, if your photographer is good, bad or excellent at communicating a message (some excellent photographers are horrible at "selling", specially the "arty" ones), the style of your site and so on. I don't think there's a possible correct answer to your question
    – Devin
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 16:33
  • Good point Devin, this customer is more focused to health foods, with a market that range from 60+ (for vitamins and supplements) to the 20-30s (for dietry fads & sports nutrition). So you could say I am looking at a general, food based e-commerce site. The photography could be good if they was allowed to do more than just product shots, but they get to do only that while the creative comp it onto illustrations. Hope that clears things a bit Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


I believe there are stats to show that real imagery converts better than illustration. I don't think illustration would be much issue if you are targeting existing customers who frequent your brick and mortar store. However new customers who have never heard of your store would be a little confuse with the product that you are selling.

Unless yours is an established brand, then using a little illustration to differentiate yourself from competitors wouldn't hurt. Brands like Hermes and Chica-Loca (popular in Korea).

As for you carousel, you might want to rotate between a set of real images and illustrations if your branding depends on these illustrations.

  • Thanks for the comment. Starting to think there really isnt hard enough evidence of a clear winner and that stakeholder opinions has influenced a familiar experience of photos/lifestyles over the years. Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 15:10

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