Only now do I notice the common approach to product illustration
It seems like while there are differences, doesn't it feel like the product illustration/mograph style is relatively new? I know it's not, but it seems like yesterday that everyone started using 'joysticks n sliders' or 'rubber hose' for their work. Illustration is more prevalent in design right now because of motion design? That's what I gather. So, we could be at the beginning of something(or end) that's due to change styles and re-shape very soon. There are already studios out there doing just that and I imagine we'll see the desire for something different picked up by one of these huge companies, and that'll effect all the illustration work once again.
My sense is that this is so prevalent because art directors for tech companies are often looking to reaffirm current trends, while editorial art directors are specifically going to an illustrator for their specific style.
I guess the larger question is how to introduce new styles into UX/Product design in the early stages of a company.
Living in SF and working with tons of small tech companies made me realize how little of an emphasis on intentional art direction there is in the beginning. It’s all about the usability and making something mildly pretty and “we’ll worry about branding later”. Then the "later" happens and the branding is SO cemented that introducing new styles is almost impossible.
Hopefully, in the future, there can be more of an emphasis on intentional art direction early on, but I think usually that’s a long shot.
Eight of those illustrations in the product illustration examples are for Oscar by Robin Davey, four are for Google trips, another three are by Alice Lee, another three look like they are for box, and two are for something called Winnie.
So even beyond the point of subject matter, a lot of those look the same because they are by the same artists and for the same brands. Consistency is one of the things we try to go for when designing for a client. With editorial illustration that's not usually a consideration, since the art is supposed to illustrate the story, and is less a part of branding the publication.
It is very different, but I don't believe those products illustrations were done in-house (maybe some were downloaded from stock sites), app designers don't just "illustrate while they're at it"