As consumers, we understand that business can be defined by two simple rules: providing a quality product or service, and ensuring that product or service priced within the boundaries of affordability.
Specifically regarding the design industry, most people see designers as purely artistic. That we create things based on intuition and god-given skills, then use polished art as a support system that changes the world through perception. And while that may be partially true, a good designer knows that in order to get the results their client needs, the only path to walk is one guided by research, understanding the psychology behind human behavior and capitalizing on ever-changing trends.
Today, we are going to give you an inside look at some of the design and psychology principles LovelyPixels uses throughout every project development, unifying form and function of design.
Simply put: how your eye perceives objects when placed together, and how your eye moves naturally from one object to another.
Gestalt principles focus on how you interpret elements within an environment as a unified whole.
A few of these principles (in relation to design) break down into:
- Similarity : the basic concept of defining and matching shape, color, size and texture between different elements
- Continuation : controlling how your eye naturally moves from one object to the next
- Proximity : how your eye perceives objects as groups versus individual objects
- Layers : how the eye separates information or objects between the foreground and background
What does this mean for designers? In understanding that our brains tend to trick us with visual perception, understanding how these principles guide the creation process allows creatives to exclude the possibility of presenting misunderstandings.
Simply put: making an emotional impact or instant connection with your audience that sets the tone for how they perceive your company.
Have you ever visited a website or stumbled across a brand on instagram, and instantly fell in love with them? Or maybe you’ve downloaded a trial run of new software, and upon opening it decided instantly that it wasn’t what you were looking for – simply based on the user interface?
This is a visceral reaction. It is rooted in our DNA and is responsible for our instincts. And this “old brain” response reacts much faster than our consciousness does!
What does this mean for designers? By creating aesthetics that are in line with the target audience, you’re crafting positive brand impressions that have the power to persuade. This is done with polished images, quality graphics, dramatic textures, product placement and understanding the psychology of color. Yes, color has its OWN set of rules.
Simply put: what each color means and how we typically react to it.
Color is complex, and we won’t be able to do it justice in just a few paragraphs, but in a nutshell, color has the power to set the entire tone of your brand or message. So be super selective and thoughtful when choosing your color palettes. You’re not only looking at what visceral reaction each color has, but what reaction is created when it is combined with support colors.
Some basic breakdowns of color associations include:
- Red – Urgency, passion or strength.
- Orange – Energy, warmth or excitement.
- Yellow – Happiness, joy or summer.
- Green – Nature, calm or renewing.
- Blue – Corporate, medical or sad.
- Purple – Mystery, magic or royalty.
What does this mean for designers? EVERYTHING (yes, it’s that serious). While we can not take into account personal preferences, cultural differences and individual experiences when talking about emotional connections to color, we can make practical decisions based on research and data.
Simply put: using patterns to build brand recognition across multiple platforms, or solely using digital and print media to establish trust. So, maybe not so simply put…
If we look at a website for a bakery, odds are there are some common elements we are going to find on their site that are expected to be associated with baked goods. Users who are visiting the site would possibly be turned off if they arrived on a homepage that used textures and styles befitting of a local mechanics shop (unless, maybe this specific bakery is catering to local mechanics who don’t rotate tires until they’ve had their sugary baked goodness).
What does this mean for designers? Sometimes clients want to stand out in a big way, and that means going against the grain. Maybe the bakery mentioned above doesn’t want to use pastel colors, soft fonts and hyper-emotional photography with puffs of powdered sugar. All of which is fine, but tread carefully!
Users become accustomed to certain industry design elements, and if there is no balance, absence of those elements can quickly make users feel uncomfortable. Find ways to be unique without ignoring your intuition.
The next time you’re interviewing for a designer, remember to ask them about their research and development process. Ensure that they are not simply crafting you something that looks nice, but an intelligent design put forward with purpose to bolster your brand.