Brain Design

The Psychology Of Design

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18/O4/2O22

A survey conducted in the early 2000’s by Sponsorship Research International found that 88 percent of participants could instantly identify the McDonalds Golden Arches logo, whilst only 54 percent could name the Christian cross. An 81 year old American fast food franchise is more recognisable in 2021 than the largest and most influential social phenomenon in human history, such is the power of design.

To utilise this power and its effect on human behaviour, we must first understand a few key principles. Design and Art are separate and distinct concepts. Whilst the Artist strives to capture beauty, the designer aims to capture attention and subtly influence human behaviour to a desired end. The origins of this influence can be traced back to the need for early humans to be able to detect information as quickly as possible, such as distinguishing friend from predator. 

Donald A. Norman in his book “The Design of Everyday Things” defines design as an act of communication, which requires a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating, hence the emphasis marketers often put on target audience research, the more data that goes into a design the more it can be tailored to a specific need. A simple example of this would be using pink when designing a product targeted towards a young girl. 

However, it’s not always as simple as Blue for boys and Pink for Girls. Oftentimes ‘exception’ can be utilised. The Von Retorff Effect dictates that in any given number of items to be learned, an item that is notably different from the rest in size, colour, or other basic characteristics will be more readily recalled than the others.

Monzo was just a startup when they attempted to infiltrate one of the most rooted, regulated and established industries in history, namely banking. In a world of HSBC’s, RBS’s and Lloyds TSB’s, Monzo stuck out like a sore thumb. Their brand image projected that of a quirky silicon valley startup, not a British domestic current account provider. Whilst their services were not groundbreaking, the novelty of a digital only bank, combined with contemporary design, a hot pink card and a thorough understanding of their target audience, Monzo quickly became the nations most recommended current account provider and has grown to over 5 million active users. Simply by being different.

Looks really do matter. The Brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does text. This means that all of your potential customers have already processed and created an impression of you, your product or your business before they have even heard or read the first line of your pitch. Thus having a cohesive, appealing brand image, translated correctly through your Signage, employee uniforms, logo, anything customer facing, will give you an instant edge over your competitors regardless of product or service quality. 

It cannot be stressed enough, the importance of design. 

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