Silhouettes & Icons
Over the last few years the application of silhouette icons in design and advertising has gained more and more popularity to the point where it has now become a bona fida trend. And like any good design trend it has evolved, morphed and mutated into something completely new.
The latest posters for Vinopolis at London Bridge
Here is another wine glass themed design spotted at Green Park Underground station
Graphic icons as a typeface - in the latest campaign by Aviva, showcased at the Jubilee Line/Waterloo station interchange
CBS having running this campaign (in many incarnations) to sell their space
Ludlow Thompson adorn their beetle's with that much used London Panorama...but with some added wit...always the key to a good design
I first noticed the use of silhouettes as icons and their attraction was obvious - they were ready made off the shelf alternatives to much hard graft spent creating your own from scratch. And you can modify and customise them with ease. For while, a generous stock library even gave free clipping paths for lo-res images, provided you added "path" to your search criteria.
Zipvan keep it nice and simple with their livery
But as any icon dabbling designer will testify, it's not just any old photo that will make a good silhouette. To be really effective a good silhouette has to be custom drawn. Sure, packages of silhouette icons have existed for years, but their subject matter was often restricted to the usual suspects of pineapples, basketball player and butterflies - not great if you needed 100 for a corporate identity and fast. That said stock libraries soon soon reacted to this trend and a huge variety of them began appearing in all manner styles for the pret a porter end of the market.
Buxton went for another London themed design for their Jubilee advertising
Now like any good design trend, it may well have run it's course. Over the last year Silhouette icons in one form or another could be spotted everywhere be they upmarket, downmarket, budget or bespoke. Because they are so versatile you can do practically anything with them, as illustrated by the further examples below:
Sainsbury's at Whitechapel went back to basics on the Crossrail hordings
John Lewis have taken it to a whole new level with their recent advertising
...also with this Olympic themed poster