A brand's design choices have a huge effect on how people connect with them. Elements such as colors, visuals and messaging tap into our basic human motivations. These choices shape how we feel and think. Here's the factors that'll drive perceptions, and get results for your business.
Colors Shape Perception
Colors are deeply tied to our emotions and memory. The choice a brand makes defines their personality. When done well, it will also build recognition over time. For example, electric blue feels energetic, whilst forest green feels more stable.
Take a trusted fintech brand. They'd be likely to use a conservative blue color scheme. At a deeper level, it conveys stability and security. But a kids' confectionery brand may want to reflect totally different values. Vibrant colors like red, yellow and pink capture the youthful energy and fun they’re looking for.
Using colors that reflect your brand's personality builds familiarity over time. We all know the colors of IKEA, or Starbucks. But for a small business, choosing the right ones is part of the puzzle. Tools like HTML Color Codes are an easy place to start. You can save time by generating color palettes that you’re confident will work together.
Visual Hierarchy Guides Your Audience
The order in which we see things is important. Visual hierarchy does exactly this. It refers to the way we arrange elements to guide the viewer's eyes through a design. An organized visual hierarchy highlights what's important and makes information easy to follow. The cost of getting this wrong is confusion around your message. This lack of clarity almost always leads to people moving onto something else.
Size, color, spacing, and alignment all work together to achieve an intended flow. That flow aims to lead customers from awareness, to interest, and eventually to a decision.
A well-designed visual hierarchy takes people on the desired journey through your messaging. But it also has the added benefit of giving your business visual consistency.
Nike has always done visual hierarchy well. Their marketing materials and website lead with emotive imagery. They then use size and color for focus. With these parts of the puzzle complete, all other elements are easy to understand.
Getting this right takes a lot of work, followed by plenty of split testing to optimize results. But you can always look to established brands to inspire your business' designs. Tools like Mobbin, Magic Brief and Landbook are a goldmine for solid visual hierarchy. And if you like design, it's a very satisfying research project.
Persuasive Design Inspires Engagement
Persuasive design is all about inspiring your audience to act. There's plenty of techniques which small businesses can use to do this ethically. Persuasive design appeals to different psychological reactions. You can build excitement, create fear of missing out and more. Techniques like social proof, scarcity, and loss aversion are super common.
Social Proof: Ratings on Amazon, Trip Advisor or Airbnb are absolute dealbreakers for consumers. But you don't have to be a huge business. You can take full advantage of great feedback you already have. People are hard wired to go with a trustworthy option. That's why social proof is so effective. Place reviews and testimonials front and centre, on your website and your socials. Services like Testimonial and Shoutout help to build your social proof in seconds.
Scarcity: When things are abundant, we're not always so desperate for them. But what happens when you want something and you learn that there's only a few left? It creates an urgency for us to buy. The hospitality and retail sectors have this technique locked down. But it's also interesting to see how people use it in Kickstarter campaigns, by offering limited tiers. Using scarcity builds a sense of exclusivity.
Loss Aversion: This technique is all about appealing to our peace of mind. It's the domain of insurers, security and finance companies. But used correctly and ethically, small businesses can create a sense of reassurance to build loyalty. Cancel most services and you'll often find this technique in use. A subtle reminder of all the benefits we'll miss can make us think twice.
Familiarity Breeds Loyalty
The elements we’ve talked about in this article all influence consumer behavior. Considering these factors will also help you to create a cohesive brand style.
This makes your brand more memorable across various touchpoints. But it also makes your messaging more confident and convincing. The opposite is true for design that doesn't consider human behavior. And the effects can be jarring. It can leave people confused about who you are as a business and what you stand for. Choices around color, visuals, and messaging all affect how a small business is perceived. This affects our interest in a brand and, ultimately, our loyalty to it.
Understanding design psychology is essential for building an authentic brand. Solid branding brings new people along your journey. But it also leads to stronger, more enduring relationships with your customers.
Want a deeper insight into how leading brands achieve this? Check out Episode One of Design Goodies, where we explore the branding of Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E.