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November 24, 2017

The Psychology of Design: What Business Owners Need to Understand

For some people, the color red represents energy, for others it depicts danger. Some people buy products with Calibri fonts, others find Baskerville as more persuasive. For entrepreneurs, understanding design and the psychology of design is a tedious process.

But if you don’t understand what customers are doing and why they are responding in a certain way, it will be difficult for you to sell your products or services online.  If you’re serious about creating an impact, you will need to understand the psychology of design.

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in psychology to leverage good design practices. You can apply these psychological principles when formulating your next logo, website design, print design, or any design project that you are starting.

Let us look at the five psychological models that can help you improve the effectiveness of the design you use to market your business.

The Mental Models

The next time you walk into a store with a swinging door, try to step back and look at the door. What type of door is it? How does it open? Is it a push or a pull door?

The system we use to figure out how to respond to certain situations is called mental model. Our brain takes thousands of notions each day and our mental models tell us what to take in and how to respond to certain events in our lives.

While you’re busy deciding what to do with the door, the sign at the door helps your mental model to decide what to do next.

Same psychology is repeated when someone visits your website. 

Thanks to dozens of website design agencies in the market, our mental models are smart enough to make split-second decisions on what to do next.

When a visitor drops by our websites, we only have five seconds to grab their attention. That is where mental models come in.

Mental models are basically design tools that figure out how things work. Our brains are designed to figure things out. If we don’t find the solution we need, we get frustrated and look for something else.

Your job as a business owner is to help people decide what they want to do when they land on your website. If they decide to make a purchase, you need to know how to make it easy for them.

The more you focus on the how of things, the less your visitors need to think what to do next on your website.

The Psychology of Shapes

Just like colors, shapes have the power to trigger our emotions. Our subconscious mind associates certain shapes with certain characteristics and these characteristics then help us decide what to do next.

Shapes help us to create the perception of our brand. When you design a logo, you need to consider certain shapes and how they affect the thinking pattern of customers.

Circles are often associated with collaboration, friendship, and idealistic visions. They imply positivity, a sense of unity, perfection and community.

Squares, on the other hand, give an impression of a company that is balanced, stable and well-structured.

Triangles represent energy, power and purpose. The sharp lines covey prestige and capitalize on consumers’ response to it.

The Psychology of Colors

We humans associate colors with specific feelings. Those feelings then help us make decisions while buying a product.

For instance, red demands attention. It gives users a message: to take more risks and try products that are different than ordinary.

Blue, on the other hand, lowers the blood pressure and makes us feel relaxed. It gives us a feeling of trust and reliability.

Orange is often associated with the business class. A vibrant color that appeals to a loud and strong class.

Associated with environmental beauty, green is the right choice when you’re going for organic and natural products.

Black is often associated with dignity and power. Brands that want to establish a more sophisticated presence can use black to associate soberness with the brand.

To wrap it all

To conclude, a memorable design is a thing of beauty. If you’re a small business that is starting out you need to use psychosocial triggers to make the best of your brand design. Study these and let us know which elements are most important to change the psychology of your users.


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Mohammad Ali is an experienced digital marketer and a search engine marketing specialist who is currently associated with Branex as senior digital marketer and brand strategist.

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