For many people, when they see or hear the term caricature, the first thing that comes to mind is a drawing that is to make fun of or present a joke. Sure, that is one of its forms and uses.

But this term encompasses much more than just single drawings, illustrations. It is found in graphic novels and comic books. Sometimes we tend to equate these two. But, a caricature is also found in all forms of literature, in ‘serious’ art, animations, films, videos… At the same time, the caricature has its place in business. Really? Yes, it is a form that we can find in ads, logos, and elsewhere. But, essentially, how can we define caricature?

According to Caricature Station, in illustration, a caricature is an exaggerated likeness of someone. The caricature will be recognizable as the subject, but features might be emphasized.”

Usually, when we talk about caricature were talking about a visual art form, but a caricature can be written or verbal as well.” We can add to that all its other uses in other art forms and daily life.

A verbal form is something most people are familiar with, but not by this name. This kind of caricature is better known as “doing an impression” of someone (above).

Based on historical records, a caricature is as old as those prehistoric cave drawings. “Exaggerated drawings of politicians have been found as graffiti on walls in ancient Rome. Its beginnings as an art form started in Italy in the late 1500s. Baroque painter Annibale Carracci and his brother Agostino, created exaggerated portraits to make fun of their own art lessons.” The Italian word ‘Carico’ means ‘to load’ or ‘to laden.’ The word ‘caricare’ meaning ‘to load’ or ‘to exaggerate.’ Hence, caricature.

Caricature in art

The source above also adds that it is impossible to separate caricature from humor entirely. “Caricature nowadays runs the gambit from acidic snarky political statements, to capturing once-in-a-lifetime events with sweetness and humor. Making caricature a great way to capture any moment.”

As far as literature is concerned, Writing Explained notes that “caricatures in literature allow for writers to overly exaggerate traits of a character in order to have an effect on the reader. Because characters often seem ridiculous due to the over exaggerations provided by the author, this usually creates a humorous mood for the reader.”

But creating a caricature is not an easy task. Learn-to-draw stresses that in drawing and illustration “the key difference between caricature and drawing a portrait of someone is the intentional distortion of the subject in caricature. This distortion is difficult because the features of the subject are what makes the subject recognizable. When you start fooling around with these features, then you run the risk of losing the likeness of the subject.”

A caricature is very often the feature of graphic novels, comic books, and cartoons (drawn or animated). And as the source above notes, To confuse the issue, a caricature doesn’t necessarily have to be a cartoon, it could be a painting, or a sculpture, or even a photograph. “A caricature is a caricature of the artist intends it to be a caricature regardless of how it was made.”

Discussing the subject, Vents Magazine says caricature artworks usually display satire and the human state. “A caricature artist may use his tools to create a caricature structure to make people smile or laugh.”

“When people see caricatures, they might laugh or experience an emotional response depending on the message to the audience.”

Uses in business and design

Seemingly, the use of caricature is limited to artistic purposes. People usually focus on them in visual art, literature, films, videos, even music. But, is there a solid possibility to use caricature in business and design?

Various design experts think so. The same source gives the example of company logos. Something that can often be handled by infographic designers.

Recent trends in using such a design for company logos have significant implications in attracting more and more customers to your business. Unique brand emblems play a crucial role in shaping a buyers’ mind. Creative caricature pictures in logos encourage potential clients to find out more about a company and its product and services.

Logo Design Team adds that “any business can use caricature logo design to create a lasting effect on their audience. With a cartoonish logo image, you can grab the attention of your target client more and compel them to learn more about your company and brand.”

Marketers have been increasingly planning the use of caricature design of their own or any other fictitious character to reach a broader section of the audience irrespective of age, culture, and language (above). But, in more general terms, why should businesses and designers consider using caricature?

The key lies in the fact that “present communication methods have been changing over time and of late visual communication methods have taken the front seat in the marketing world.” Symbols and imagery have been present in design all along. But, the advancement of technology, enabled different approaches in visual communication.

“Marketing reports state that caricatures are 8 times more likely to get noticed and 17 times more likely to be remembered. Why? The reason being caricatures have the potentiality of acting as a magnetic force to attract more potential clients and increase ROI of the company.”


Why should businesses consider using caricatures?

The above source gives a list of reasons why it is wise to consider the use of caricatures:

  • caricature design reflects symbolism;
  • emblems bearing caricatures goos brand image;
  • labeling can benefit from caricatures;
  • caricature can present an analogy;
  • caricatures can be both playful and professional.

Let us look at this list in more detail.

By using caricatures as icons, designers can portray certain symbolism. “Cartoon designers can represent a broader concept of their brand with these icons. The symbols mainly stand for representing larger concepts or ideas. Caricature can be the best method to make the target audience think deeply about the offered products and services.”

A logo in a form of a caricature can increase the importance of an essential feature of a brand. “Through cartoon representation of facial and physical characteristics of people, a company can show the significance of that feature in the company. Brands dealing in clothing products or any services that are of human interest use caricature to emphasize the products and services.”

Labeling is something that has an immediate effect on potential customers. Visually distinct labels make any company stand out among competitors. “When a company uses these business labels on their products, packages and even emails they build a consistent branded presence in the society.”

“Companies can use caricatures to present an analogy. It stands for comparison between two things with similar characteristics. Companies can use cartoons to compare their products with that of their competitors to show how different they are from their peers in the industry.”

Caricature designs enable you to present a company image in a formal yet playful setting. This will allow the audience to delve into the company products and services more profoundly without spoiling the sincere appeal of the brand.

The benefits

Logo Design Team also notes that viewers can recognize caricatures more accurately than the original images. According to designers, such style reflects similar effects with photographic quality images. Marketers claim that this type of design has an advantage over photographic items because they are based on certain theoretical norms of face recognition and exemplar-based methods of face recognition. With all the distortions caricatures create emphasis on the logo image that people are sure to remember throughout their lifetime.”

As another Logo expert notes, “caricature logos are unique in advertising because they can lend a very personal element to the design.” Also, many people have them designed for social occasions. Choosing one for social occasions help set the tone for the event, and provide a unifying theme to printed materials.

Logo with such a design “conveys a more lighthearted, friendly business style, making it ideal for family-centered businesses like restaurants and party planners. They also work well for local pubs and grills, when the business wants to convey a neighborhood atmosphere. Businesses for children, like pediatric dentists and daycare centers, are also good choices for this type of branding.”

Caricatures and animated visuals

On the other hand, Franchising. com list five reasons why it is wise to use (caricature) cartoon animation in advertising:

  • Quickly deliver messages. Animations, like many other multimedia tools, replace the boring, heavy text with powerful images and emotional audio. It’s obvious – even reading this short summary – that audiences are more inclined to engage with multimedia than to read.
  • When marketers use animation today, they can sidestep the heaviness of life, the cumbersome aspects of many decisions, and simply tap into their audiences’ more basic, innocent understanding.
  • Animations are easy to consume and present a shareable element, particularly through social media.
  • While animations won’t necessarily replace the critical thinking of a decision-maker, they have the impact of lowering their guard, of serving as icebreakers that can warm up audiences with humor.
  • “How much more accessible is it to watch an animation than swallow documents crammed with statistics, charts, technical considerations?” While animations won’t necessarily replace the critical thinking of a decision-maker, they have the impact of lowering their guard, of serving as icebreakers that can warm up audiences with humor.
  • Cost-effectiveness. “Simple animations are one of the most cost-effective forms of communication for a marketer. The costs of creating animations are currently dropping. This makes the start much easier. Just consider the costs of a traditional video, such as set design, location shoots, production costs, and paying models or spokespersons.”

So, we can use caricature for much more than just showing the humorous side of life. Obviously, businesses can find and reap benefits from using this form in their daily operations. Very often, for creating their logos and advertising campaigns they use freelance experts in the field. You can find many freelance professionals that can help with this here at BunnyStudio.