By: Maggie Call

Why Design Matters: The Psychology of Design

September 20, 2017 5 minutes

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We make daily decisions on what brands we choose to engage with, what brands have earned our trust, and what brands compel us to spend money. How do we make those decisions?

Psychology studies have shown that our feelings and instincts cause us to behave. It is said that emotions drive 80% of the choice we make. So the first visual impression a customer receives from your brand is crucial to a positive customer experience, or a customer experience at all.

Good design is more than just good looks, it’s the catalyst to trust and loyalty towards any brand or company.

Good design builds trust.

Design is emotional. It evokes moods, attitudes, and personality. Together, these emotions create “gut feelings” and stir thoughts in our mind. And before even being exposed to actual content, visual queues have already shown us how to feel towards a brand. So when we’re browsing the web and come across a ‘spammy’ looking website, the visual queues are telling us it’s untrustworthy. When junk emails pop up, poor design makes us question the legitimacy of the content. When we find a good deal on the web, but the checkout page to fill out credit card information looks sketchy, we back out. As a result, we don’t engage with the brand, we don’t subscribe to the service, and we don’t buy anything at all. And it all comes from gut feelings created by bad design.

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Good design makes customers believe in you and your product/service.

There’s a reason for the old adage don’t judge a book by it’s cover. It’s because we do! As consumers, we expect the quality of products/services to match their appearance. We don’t have time to be convinced that a certain brand/product/service is good, we should already be able to see that it is (or isn’t). A brand with good design is more convincing than a brand with bad design because we assume appearance reflects quality. Have you ever found yourself wanting to purchase the organic or brand name cereal rather than the generic brand? We expect good packaging design to be the shell of a good product. Have you ever spent more money on a product just because it looks better than the cheaper version? By sole appearances, we assume more credibility with one brand than another, and we take one brand more seriously than another.

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Good design shows how relevant you and your products/services are.

Brands with an up-to-date design make us feel like their product/service is as well. Some brands stand out as cutting edge in their industry simply because they look the part. We’d be less likely to purchase a product from a website designed in the 90s, because we associate the outdated web design to the product/service. It’s as if we think, how can a product/service with a website from the 90s, serve the needs I have in 2017? There’s got to be another brand who is more current and fresh. With no progression in any aspect of design, it’s easy to assume there hasn’t been progression with the product/service either. A brand’s entire look and feel should show that it is leading the industry. Brands who look the part, convince their audience that they actually are.

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Design isn’t just how your brand looks, it’s how it feels. Feelings and instincts from good design cause positive behaviors. And the same goes for bad design causing negative behaviors. Simply put, design dictates the user experience. So, take a second look at your brand. Does the design reflect the quality of your service/product? Is the design of your logo, website, flyer or whatever visual medium you’re using to communicate with your audience look like you’re a superior, dependable brand? Or do your visual mediums make viewers hesitate?

Written by Maggie Call on September 20, 2017

Maggie is a Senior Designer at 97th Floor, developing content for print and web by creating infographics, websites, and interactives.

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