Your mind has more perceptive about design than you think. Even the untrained brain is always evaluating and interpreting pieces of information, initiating positive or negative feelings about what you see in front of you. All aspects of design are chosen to play with the predisposed interpretation of a consumers’ perspective.
Designers can control the way a brand is perceived by focusing on the core elements of design. Color, line, shape, texture, space, and form. By manipulating these elements, designers can invoke different responses.
Good brands aren’t made by chance. Every angle, point, color, hue, negative space, curve… it’s all calculated to be interpreted in a specific way, and to evoke a specific emotion. It’s our job (as designers) to understand the psychology behind applying the elements of design, allowing your brain to do the rest of the work.
Design isn’t just art. It’s intentional, calculated construction that looks good (and works well). Here’s some simple ways that you can start explicitly defining how your brain interprets brands:
- Warm vs. Cool: Warm colors tend to be welcoming and inviting and casual, while cooler colors are sophisticated, natural, and calming.
- Light vs. Dark: Light colors carry a lot of energy and movement; dark colors convey moodiness, emotion, & depth.
- Vibrant vs. Desaturated: Vibrant colors are eye-catching. The closer the color is to it’s highest chroma, the more it reflects the psychology of color theory. Desaturated or muted colors reflect neutrality, soberness, & professionalism.
- Direction: The direction of the line can invoke “moving forward” or progressiveness, stability, innovation, etc.
- Thick vs Thin: Thicker lines invoke dominance and stability while thinner lines reflect eliteness and quality.
- Uniform vs Varied Width: Uniform lines show consistency, strength, and structure, while varied width lines tend to represent a creative, hand-crafted aesthetic.
- Rounded vs. Angled: Smooth shapes bring a sense of calmness and peace, and angled shapes reflect structure and perfection.
- Filled vs. Outlined: Filled shapes tend to be heavier looking, showing sturdiness and depth, while outlined shapes feel lighter and more flexible.
- Smooth vs. Rough: Smooth texture tends to represent an elevated mark, while rough textures are more edgy and outside-of-the-box.
- Positive space vs. negative space: Intense positive space invokes presence and security, while negative space represents an uncluttered mindset, focused on intentionality
When these elements of design are combined, or emphasis is put heavily on a specific element, we as designers can harbor the psychology behind them, and convey specific core aspects of a client’s brand, ensuring everything is intentional and purposeful.