I know custom illustration can be expensive. It's expensive because it takes time to create and it takes time to research what illustration style is best for that client.
I see a lot of businesses that choose stock photo or stock illustration over hiring local talent to create a custom look. Even though these options are cheap - the problem with them is that they are not used exclusively for your company. The business down the road could buy the same illustration to promote a totally different product.
This creates a visual confusion to your brand and your message. People will quickly learn the style of illustration that is linked to your brand, if they start to see it promoting a different business, you will lose that unique style that you tried to create. In the end - neither business will profit from a diluted brand.
Custom illustration is so flexible - the options of style are limitless, illustration can add a warm human element to cold hard facts or create a compelling visual for an idea.
For example: Carmel Bible College came to El Designo with a unique problem. They needed to refresh their brand, attract young adults to their Bible College - but wanted to stay away from the cliche images that have been used to represent Bible Colleges in the past. To address these issues, El Designo first decided to tackle how faith would be shown in a graphic sense. We chose to represent faith as coloured translucent ovals that are attached to each student with a tether. We then showed how faith can be helpful. From clothing the poor to climbing a mountain - your faith is always there to lend a helping hand. We used a mix of traditional and vector illustration to represent the students and their faith. This project would have been impossible to replicate using stock photography or stock illustration.
To me, custom illustration allows me freedom to explore any and all ideas and pitch them to a client without worrying if we'll be able to find the images we need. I'm in complete control of the visual process, the client benefits from the concepts that are not restricted by what images we can find, and they also benefit by having a unique look to their brand - one the business down the road will not be able to purchase online.