Does Our Design Reflect Who We (Really) Are?

There are many different designs that are used in the business world. As you walk down the road, you may notice a lot of signs, colors and images that might catch your eye. Great design is usually made great because of the psychology behind it. People, who go through school for advertising, design and other areas that deal with behavior and the mind, require the study of the mind to take it up another level. For example, one area that is becoming more popular and studied is neuroaesthetics. It is an area that looks into the effect that art and imagery have through differences in color, contrast or grading and the way they work on a neurological level. These can all produce different emotions and/or qualities to different people. People usually will identify with different elements in an image, according to the colors used.


Shapes and Lettering

Circles: There are different shapes that are incorporated into a company’s logo. There are also different emotional responses that are elicited from the shapes alone. Shapes that project a more positive emotional message are those that are circular: ellipses, ovals and of course, circles. They suggest a feeling of community, love, friendship, relationship and bonding units. As they also resemble rings, they can show a feeling of stability and endurance. However, these shapes are also generally considered to be feminine in nature.

Squares and Triangles: These shapes suggest stability and balance. They are precise, which can also be viewed as professional and efficient. Those using these shapes need to be more careful when combined with colors. When the shapes are used with cooler colors, such as blue or gray, they can be deemed all-together uninviting. However, used with exciting and dynamic colors, they can be very interesting to look at. Triangles, specifically, are viewed as more masculine.

Lettering and Typeface: Vertical lines are viewed as representing strength, aggression and masculinity. Horizontal lines are more for suggesting calm, community and tranquility. Jagged lines and angular typefaces are more aggressive, while those that are more round and soft are considered youthful. Women tend to be more drawn to curved and cursive scripts. Men tend to be drawn to lettering that is bold and strong.

Signs and Assumptions

How do all of these ideas work together for those starting a business? Most consumers are going to have an impression about your company before stepping a foot inside the door. Everyone is going to make certain assumptions about your store from the sign or banner that you use. People between the ages of 18 and 24 are going to make most of their assumptions of the quality of a store based on its sign alone. When asked, 29% of consumers said they tried out a new store because of their appeal to a sign. Another study found that over 1/3 of the consumers asked said that they based assumptions about a business solely on the clear and attractive signage. This puts a lot of pressure on a design team.

One of the assumptions people will make is on the quality of the products being sold inside the store. This may not all lie in the design, but also in the quality of the materials used. If the store uses a temporary type of sign, with prices hand-written in marker on sheets of paper, it may give an impression of cheap prices, but also cheap quality. It may also be drawing customers who are looking for those types of products, or feel that they are more comfortable in that atmosphere. The stores that are more expensive are found to have more tasteful signs and use more muted colors. Their fonts used are formal as well. Using quality vinyl is another thing that gives a more expensive feel and/or nicer appeal to consumers. Each of these things seems to look more professional and trustworthy and factor in drawing a more expensive crowd.

Next time you are out shopping, pay attention to the way different aspects of a sign work to draw you in or push you away. There are many different interesting aspects of psychology and advertising that many people don’t even notice. While the consumer may be generally unaware, advertisers are not.

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