Pencil Sketches are Superior to Stock Photos and Screenshots

When I formed Frame Concepts in 2010, it was largely due to a reaction to the fact that in my 20+ years on the client side for B2B Marketing efforts, the content types were limited mostly to stock photos and product screenshots. The solutions were typically complex and nuanced and stock photos and product screenshots simply did not explain the point or distinctive value of the offering. A custom pencil sketch created by a professional illustrator and information design did, however.

The Underwhelming Stock Photo

So What are the Three Most Effective Visual Content Types?

For the past 13 years, I have noticed a pattern in how our B2B Tech clients – some Fortune 500 and some startups – are combining and leveraging our custom visual solutions. It turns out there are three major types of visual solutions that our clients almost always use in combination. I thought I would share this experience-based insight with the wider B2B tech community.

Animation Sample

The Mighty Solution Pictogram

The core starting point is usually a solution pictogram. Here on one page, a custom illustration shows (not tells) how the solution works within a recognizable use case and also highlights the unique value it offers traditional approaches.

A Sample Pictogram Pencil Sketch

How do Enterprises Effectively Apply Solution Pictograms?

The Solution Pictogram has multiple uses:


Website – Typically it is placed or rather, integrated into the solution section of the website. It can also be featured with a “Learn More” button on the home page to drive traffic and increase site stickiness.

A Sample of Pictogram Integrated into Website

Presentation and Webinars – The Solution Pictogram can also be storyboarded and edited to go across a PowerPoint presentation for sales presentations or webinars. The presenter benefits from the lush explanatory visuals and instead of taking time to explain the point of the solution, now can place emphasis on the audience’s known concerns. The audience in turn can leverage the visuals to dive in and ask specific questions about their environment.

An Onboarding Pictogram Integrated into Slide Deck

Proposals for Strategic Pursuits – The Solution Pictogram can also be leveraged as a boilerplate for important Proposals supporting a strategic pursuit. Not only does it enable the reader to quickly understand the compelling differentiation, it also demonstrates your organization’s care and support in taking the time to ideate and fully explain visually your solution to your audience.

A Sample Strategic Pursuit Visual for Proposal Purposes – This is at the Sketch Stage

Strategic Positioning Tool – The Solution Pictogram should also be an important part of your core positioning. The sheer amount of intellect and creativity expressed through the series of pencil sketch iterations should be harnessed and your entire company should be able to speak to the positioning of your Enterprise by leveraging the simplicity of the pictogram.

Sketch and Render Pictogram Reflecting Four-Pronged Positioning Statements

Product Development – The Product Road Map can benefit from the pencil sketching exercises of the Solution Pictogram. Quite a few of our clients will involve Frame Concepts at the early tentative stages of developing new Product Features. The iterative sketching process is the same as with our Marketing audiences but the sketch outputs themselves are valuable communication tools for management to decide whether to green-light the new feature or not. If it is greenlighted, then final pencil sketches become the blueprint for customer-facing branded assets.

A New Product Idea at Ideation and Sketching Storyboard Phase


Events – Tradeshow events can leverage the Solution Pictogram in large poster format. Instead of forcing tradeshow participants to watch screen demos or slideshows, the exhibitor and participant can simply step to the large wall mural and take them through the key steps of the solutions and the key benefits while gesturing to the pictogram. And again the participants can reference the pictogram when they asked refined questions. The learning experience becomes immersive.

A Large Wall Mural for Trade Show Event

Sandwiching the Pictogram for Maximum Effect

As visual as the pictogram is – sometimes in the early stage of the buying process – the audience needs more prodding to engage with your offering. The custom pencil-sketch-generated animation is the best tool to start engagement. And sometimes at the end part of the buying process, the prospect wants to go a bit deeper on specifics and the visual pencil-sketch generated eBook (White Paper) is the relevant vehicle for that purpose. In Part 2 of this series, we will do a deeper dive into the Animation format and end the series on the Visual e-Book.

Illustrative Sample of How One Client Uses Tabs to Integrate Pictogram, Animation and eBook Assets


Your Visual Go-to-Market Needs

If you would like to learn more about leveraging custom pencil-sketch-generated visuals for your B2B go-to-market efforts, click here and we will be happy to ideate with you over live samples. Lets talk.