Applings and Zaplings

Here at Zapier, we use illustrations to delight and educate. Our illustrations can be broken down into two types: Applings and Zaplings.

Applings use a partner’s logo to talk about the relationship we have with them (like the Zapier example below).

Zaplings, on the other hand, are primarily UI elements (see below, folder) that either support Applings or educate our users on a subject—like two-factor authentication or reaching 1,000 Apps.

Principles

When thinking about when to use Applings, Zaplings, or other illustrations in your comp, keep these principles in mind:

Keep it friendly

Put the Applings or Zaplings in a funny situation, like climbing the mountain, or have the elements high-five each other. Adding illustrations to your project should be like adding a joke to your conversation—but like any good joke, it shouldn’t feel forced.

Stay abstract

The style is intended to be simple, so keep the arms and legs as simple lines, or make a complex subject, like a Zap, to it’s key elements.

Maintain a narrative

We use illustrations is to tell a story. Whether you’re describing a feature—or reinforcing the copy—make sure your illustration creates a scene and walks your reader through a concept.

Zaplings

Anatomy

Do’s and Don’ts