Psychology Principles to Use In Design

Psychology Principles to Use In Design

Did you know that psychology is everywhere in design, because psychology has helped us understand that red is the choice colour for restaurant logos and marketing—because it stimulates our appetite. There are psychology principles to use in design that can help your design reach your target audience quicker and easier.

Pyschology

You can’t ignore psychology since principles of the human mind influence how people react and interact with designs.

Have a read of the below psychology principles that can help you incorporate into your design practice.

The Von Restorff Effect

Ron Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff effect tells us that the more out there an element is, the more it will stand out and be remembered. In branding world we call it ‘differentiation’.

The theory was tested by Hedwig von Restorff around 1933. She made a bunch of subjects look at a list of similar items. If the item was isolated (i.e. highlighted) it was easier for the individual to remember the item over others.

This same principle can be applied to design. The obvious is that if you want to draw attention to something, you isolate it, such as through colour, size, spacing, etc.

Because people focus more on the isolated item, they remember less about the others. Keep the inverse in mind when considering whether or not to highlight an item. Do you want your customers to remember the one thing, and only that one thing? Don’t highlight that particular item if the other items are equally important and you want everything remembered.

Psychology in Color

Psychology Colors

A good designer should have a clear understanding of colour and how it relates to a design. Some new designers tend to ignore how colours affect the mind, instead choosing to design with colours they like themselves. Are you considering how your design influences your audience?

Colours can influence emotions. Adobe lists colours and their corresponding emotions, the positive ones as follows:

  • Black: sophistication and power
  • White: cleanliness, sophistication, virtue
  • Yellow: happiness, optimism,
  • Red: power, courage, strength; can also stimulate appetite
  • Green: sustainability growth, balance
  • Blue: calmness, peace, trust, safety
  • Yellow: optimism, happiness
  • Purple: luxury, royalty, spiritual awareness
  • Orange: friendliness, comfort and food
  • Pink: tranquility, femininity, sexuality

Emotions people associate with colour can change depending on cultural and/or religious backgrounds. The above list refers to our culture.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Did you study Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in high school or college? If not, here’s what it is:

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs Triangle

The pyramid was designed to show how one must take steps to reach self-actualisation. Before a person can feel loved they must have their physiological and safety needs met first.

How does this apply outside the psychology classroom? Marketers and graphic designers can use Hierarchy of Needs in advertising and public relations.

Try this, when designing any marketing material, use the theory when developing a buyers persona. Think about where your client’s target audience is in the above pyramid. How can your design motivate them to the next stage of the pyramid?

 

Hick’s Law

Hicks Law

Hick’s Law relates to how long it takes for someone to make a decision. If someone has more choices to choose, it takes them longer to decide. In many cases, it takes them so long that they’ll decide to make no decision because the burden of deciding has become too stressful and hard.

You can incorporate this concept into design also. For example, say you’re designing a website for a client, and you want to keep your top menu panel as simple as possible with just a few options to choose, you can group the pages into drop-down menus so it’s easier for a web visitor to categorise their options which in turn makes it a quicker decision.

This also is what we do with a ‘call-to-action’. When designing a poster, you don’t want to tell users to do many different things. You want a call to attention. For example, your poster may focus on collecting donations with a call-to-action of “Donate Now – Call This Number.” The secondary call-to-action could a QR code that leads to your client’s social media page.

Personalising It

Facial Recognition

Using faces into your design is one of the most effective techniques, it pulls someone right into your design. We are all drawn to faces—so much that we see faces where there aren’t any. Case studies show that when faces are added to websites, it boosts conversions.

This idea can be applied in many ways.

You can use faces to connect with your audience. Just put a face on your design, I bet you you’re more likely to catch a viewer’s eye.

You can also direct their attention based on which way your model’s face and eyes are facing. Eye-tracking studies show that people follow other people’s gazes much like they follow arrows.

You can use a face to convey lost of  emotion. There are a number of facial expressions:

  • Sadness
  • Happiness
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Disgust

Utilising this can immediately set the tone for your design, as well as communicate across language barriers.

Fitt’s Law

Fitts Law in Web Design

Fitt’s Law is a scientific law that’s used to describe computer-human interaction. It says that “the time required to move to a target is a function of the target size and distance to the target.”

You can use this same principle in web design. For example the larger a clickable area is, the more likely it is to get clicked on.

When you design a web page, you make the navigation menu items clickable. But what is the area of the clickable link? Will only the words link to the target URL, or will the tabs themselves be clickable?

You can also design with the opposite in mind. Links that you don’t want to be clicked on often such as delete or cancel buttons—should have small clickable areas.

Occam’s Razor

Occams Razor in Design

Occam’s Razor tells us that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Even though this is more of a philosophical idea than a law of design, it still can easily be applied to design. First time designers usually create complicated designs with elements that are unnecessary to show how creative they are. But you often find that these designs are not user-friendly.

This relates back to Hick’s law. If you’re trying to cram too much into a poster instead of going for the simplest solution, people will just not read it. The design becomes overwhelming and people will quickly abandon it.

In Summary

As you can see psychology can play a huge role in how we go about our day-to-day lives, and if you’re a designer, it’s important to pay extra attention to those psychology principles to help create artwork that translates to your audience, which converts for your clients.

 

How To Sell Your Design To Skeptical Clients

You know that nervous feeling just before your’e about to sell your design ideas to your clients?

It’s because you know they’re going to ask why, and you’re going to have to think up some sort of explanation. And you’re going to stutter through it with meaningless phrases: “It works because of balance” “I think this is the way to go.”

Why not instead enter the meeting with a solid argument in your back hand. To truly convince a client, nothing beats a lucid, coherent argument based on actual evidence. You may be a designer, but when it comes to pitching an idea, you have to act like a salesman.

Here are four techniques for making a good convincing sale.

1. LISTEN AND REPEAT THEIR WORDS BACK TO THEM

Sometimes, your client is trying to tell you things they don’t know how to express themselves. Your role as a designer is to pick through the subtle ties and pull out the truths they’re not being explicit about. Before you can make a valid case for any kind of solution, you need to know what the problem is. And that means listening.

Listening helps you determine what the constraints of a project really is, what the client’s concerns are. It helps you see whether or not you’ve already got the right argument in hand or if it needs looking at again.

It also helps put your client into a mindset. Repeating what you’ve heard back to the client you’re listening to is the No. 1 way to make a client feel they are being heard to the ideas you’re about to show. It shows that your forthcoming recommendations will be tightly relevant to the client’s needs.

2. ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS CONTINIOUSLY

A good designer should ask questions—about the business, they’re concerns, they’re needs, they’re prior decisions, they’re team and goals. A great designer wants to see the whole picture.

They ask questions because they’re really curious. They ask questions because the answers can help them see what they’re getting into. They ask questions because they want to work toward a vision they can use to make good design decision. Asking questions lets them do that.

Asking questions lets a designer form a coherent debate. Asking is as important as listening. It’s actually part of listening. Asking means dragging more information out into the spotlight.

Next time you walk into an interview, ask questions. Next time you need to make an informed decision ask questions. Next time you need to fend off a bad idea, someone’s bias, your own bias, ask questions.

3. PATIENTLY EXPLAIN YOUR REASONING

A client asked me to add “click here” to a link. They were worried users wouldn’t know what I meant for them to click—the link was a question like “Forgot password?” I explained the reasons for not including “Click here.”

We all know it takes time to explain things like this. That email took 15 minutes to write.

But it’s worth it. It buys you respect, and it shows your client respect. What they hear is that you care enough to explain your rationale. It also demonstrates that you have a rationale for everything you do. It can build trust.

Educating your clients and co-workers and stakeholders with every recommendation you make has effective effects:

  • It guarantees you have a reason for your recommendation.
  • It gives everyone a good reason for the recommendation.
  • It has a long-term effect: It teaches clients to think about design. To think like a designer. To think like a consumer. It teaches them that every decision has an impact on a user’s experience and therefore should be considered. Do this well, and over time you won’t need to form an argument for your reasoning.

4. PRESENT YOUR RATIONALE LIKE AN ESSAY

If you can present your case and do it at the start, you won’t need to argue. Your narrative will address every concern before it comes up.

It helps to apply an essay-style structure to your presentation. When you’re presenting design work to someone, that essay can be helpful. It’s a template. Its tells a story.

Here’s one tip for how to keep an audience captive while you’re making your rationale.

A lot of times, your audience, especially smaller ones will want to ask questions during the presentation. This is fine if it’s a minor question with a quick answer. There is no quicker way to derail your argument than to let something like this distract you and leave everyone forgetting what you were hoping to achieve.

The tip is simple: Ask your customers to hold their questions until the end of the presentation.

In many examples, especially if you’ve anticipated their concerns, you’ll have already answered most of the big questions. This doesn’t mean you’re done. It’s practically a guarantee that someone will ask you something you haven’t yet thought of. This is why the questions are at the end.

If you let these things throw you off track in the middle of a presentation, you may never answer the other important questions. If your meeting is an hour, leave 5-10 minutes at the end for questions.

Whatever the case, leave some time. Questions are the only way you’ll know what you’ve missed.

In Summary: It can always be a tough sell to convince your’e client your reasons for why you design a project the way you do. Steve Jobs put it so well “The customer is always right was told by the customer”. People don’t know what they want, you need to show them. Believe in what you do and why you do it. Remember customers come to you because they can’t do it themselves.

Selling Your Design Value

Design-Value-DesignLab=Adelaide

 

As design agencies face more and more competition in selling their design services, they are now looking to areas where they can add design value for clients (and get paid for that added value).

For years now advertising / marketing gurus speak about something called USP (unique selling proposition). This has based on assumptions that an area of a product / service could have a unique resonance with a particular market demographic.

Value proposition – what is it?

Value proposition is the promise of a value to be delivered to a client. True value proposition works when the receiver of the value (client) has acknowledged that they have received value from the product or service.

A value proposition can apply to an any organisation, products or services.

Preparing value proposition is part of a business strategy.  Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.

Design value proposition – what is it?

A design value proposition is written from a working analysis of your client and your competitors. From these you can identify what value design can add to your clients’ business. Value that you know your competitor don’t offer.

The design value proposition has three important key statements.

  1. The areas that a client values.
  2. How a designer can offer services to enhance and communicate the value to customers
  3. Example of success that the designer has had in project with a peer.

Design value proposition – how to use it?

The design value proposition is not a statement you put on your website, however it does guide your submission and pitches to clients. Its structure is the structure you use in pitches. You begin by showing the client you understand what it is they value. Then you outline a strategy for your services to communicate the value to customers. You may also show a strategy to enhance the value through design. The submission would finish with a budget and projected return on investment based on a similar project.

Value pricing

In any resignation, price your service on the value they generate for your client, not the number of hours it will take.
Your design value proposition needs to show the value of your service that can return for the client and now you’re asking for a part of that increased value.

It does requires trust and confidence

As stated above in the value proposition definition it has to require the client to acknowledge the added value. This is only possible if the client respects and trusts the designer…i.e. you!

Graphic and web design trends for 2014

With 2014 well on its way we thought it was a great time to look at this year’s graphic and web design trends to help you work towards achieving your competitive edge.

iStock Photo by Getty Images asked creatives around the globe to weigh in on what’s hot and what’s not for 2014. The resounding response was that simplicity is king, even as we’re introduced to more and more complex devices, platforms and channels than ever before. From flat design to reigned-in parallax scrolling to 5-second social media videos, think of simple design as the yin to technology’s yang.

10 Graphic and web design trends for 2014

1. Simplicity

Simplicity will undoubtedly be the most powerful tool for expressing the highest level of sophistication.

2. Flat Design

Hopefully we see better ‘flatness’ than we did this year. Many screen and app designs have applied flat shapes and solid colours with such fervor that they created layout, rhythm and usability issues. The many screens and wearable tech gizmos will require us to design clever and connected experiences.

3. Improving Parallax Scrolling

Over the past few years parallax scrolling has become a very popular tool enlivening the delivery of content on the web. More and more we will see this used in a restrained way — with more of a ‘light touch.’

4. 5-7 Second Storytelling

The biggest social media trend will be 5-7 second storytelling — clickable videos, Vine, and animated Gifs all use small pieces of moving media to tell a story quickly.

5. Logos With Depth

The increasing simplification in logo (re-) design is overused. In many cases this leads to a loss of brand sovereignty.

6. Real Models

I believe there is a trend in portraying reality more. We know models are meant to help to sell products…but the imagery of normal, real people also sells and can enhance public affinity with the brand.

 7. Digital Innovation

The Brazilian advertising industry is becoming more and more mature, focusing on what is really relevant to consumers, not just on what wins awards. Advertising needs to change to adapt to a market that has already changed.

8. 3D Printing

New forms, designs and patterns by 3D printer will be gain more popularity in 2014.

9. Creative Inspiration

We need to invest in knowledge about ourselves, about the world we live in, about the role of creativity on this planet. This knowledge will help us transform reality into something closer to what we dream of.

10. Trend Lists

I don’t believe in design trends being overused. The issue is around timing; if you’re using an aesthetic, design or idea that people are sick of, you’re not doing your job. However, I think creatives get jaded with new design styles way before the general population, so I’d say feel free to overuse more. People like consistency.

To download the full infographic visit iStock.