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Using Psychology in Graphic Design

Using Psychology in Graphic Design

Using psychology in graphic design is a no-brainer. Just as people ascribe meanings to words and images, images and words convey such meanings. Color theory is a big part of this. Additionally, font size, shapes, and other elements of even a single logo can give all the necessary information people need to know about your company. Knowing basic psychology is helpful for a marketer—especially a digital marketer. For instance, Psychology can be beneficial in email marketing.

“Psychology behind graphic design is basically about capturing the minds of potential customers. Designers need to understand the psychological parameters of design because every single color, typeface, shape and structure communicates a subconscious message to the viewers. Also, the way it has been incorporated in design evokes certain kind of emotions,” says Zillion Designs.

The idea is, how can all the elements of the design help the industry? How can one logo alone show people what the business has to offer?

using, graphic design

Why Care about Graphic Design?

Founding Principal of User Interface Engineering Jared Spool, writer and expert on usability, stated: “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.”

People can see whether or not you’re a brand that’s worth their time in 50 milliseconds. You can’t achieve popularity with consumers if all you have is a block of text, which is why great branding is so crucial for a company.

With the advent of social media, you can get buried under the mountain of other businesses with their unique branding or get put on blast for branding and design that’s so bad it’s funny. How do you avoid these situations? Use psychology in graphic design.

Elements to Incorporate into Branding

There are many types of graphic design. When creating, for example, a logo, the graphic designer must take several things into account. The main factor is: What is the nature of the business? Know thy client before you start designing. Otherwise, you could spend so much time and effort on a design that doesn’t comply with your client’s sensibilities.

Generally, a company should send in their preferences for designs. However, if the company already has preexisting branding, graphic designers should emulate the branding, as it is their identity. Not only that, a company must have a consistent identity. A graphic designer breaks away from the current branding if the company is looking to rebrand or start an entirely new venture.

Elements such as colors and font are the most noticeable parts of branding, and therefore the most important.

The point of creating a logo is so that people can understand your company and its nature at a glance. But, of course, if your branding is too offensive to the eyes, you fail.

Yet, if your logo or other graphics force people to stare too long so they can decipher it, then you’ve also failed. Why? Your logo supposedly communicates important information in a snap, having people stall and take precious time out of their day is a disservice to them and may open you up to ridicule. And it’s not the kind that draws you more customers.

Then, the graphic designer must consult a color chart.

graphic design, color theory

Source: The Logo Company.

Graphic Design and Color theory 

99designs defines color theory as “both the science and art of using color. It explains how humans perceive color; and the visual effects of how colors mix, match or contrast with each other. Color theory also involves the messages colors communicate; and the methods used to replicate color.”

Instead, when creating a design for a particular business, one should consider the kind of business. 

Colors for business

There are many ways to apply color theory in graphic design for marketing. For example, for a food chain business, yellow and red are the go-to. As proven by several restaurant logos, such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, the combination induces hunger. Adding red (the color of vigor and passion) will subconsciously spike people’s appetite.

Black, gold, and purple signify luxury, so businesses dealing in high-end goods or services generally use them.

For healthcare, the industry tends to have light blue and light green. This is because they’re both easy colors for your eyes to digest, just like hospital food.

Very rarely do fast food companies use blue get as a primary color. If it is, it is in concert with colors such as yellow, red, and brown. Blue is not a very common color for food unless it’s specifically bubblegum-like flavor.

Of course, colors are also subject to cultural attitudes. Take red, for example. It’s considered the color of danger, yet in India, brides wear red for weddings due to its cultural association with purity. This contrasts with some Eastern European countries, where red associates with communism.

Blue has very few negative connotations, that’s why police forces and banks use it. Yet, mourning could also be associated with the color.

Now, green is a good color. It reminds one of the healthy leaves on a strong tree, and in some countries where it is applicable, the color of money. Yet, in Indonesia, it has negative connotations involving infidelity.

What colors can one use for a car dealership? What about a trucking company? Or a digital business?

graphic design, color theory

How to find a graphic designer that’s perfect for your team

Incorporate psychology in graphic design. Knowing basic psychology is arguably just as valuable as having talent. After all, meanings are in people, and your job is to reach a broader audience. 

We’ve already covered facts about graphic designers, but here is a checklist for finding a good graphic designer for your business.

A good graphic designer should:

  • Avoid borrowing photos, vectors, and other images for the finished product.
  • Follow the client’s vision or design parameters to a T.
  • Understand the demographic they’re designing for.
  • Adapt to any style assigned to them.
  • Communicate effectively with clients and gets the right amount of information to create the design.
  • Explain clearly why some designs may not work out and instead proposes alternatives.
  • Have an exciting portfolio.

Graphic Design Moves People—Into Doing What You Want

The use of psychology in graphic design can work wonders for marketing. Not everyone has the time to read through a block of text about your company. Having eye-catching branding will save them time and give them vital information.

Good graphic design is hardly something noticeable, only when it is bad that it becomes obvious. To avoid ridicule, make your colors, text, font size, and other elements work together.

Also, cultural attitudes are attached to the meanings of colors, so keep them in mind when crafting graphics for business, especially if your company caters to more than one area or country. So, you’ve got to know your audience and how they think to create a good design. It is just as important as being skilled in creating graphics.

Filipino graphic designer tends to be skilled in graphic design and utilizes the basic idea of color theory.

Axel May Rivera


Axel is an avid fan of many dramas and songs. She is always eager to explore and discover more when it comes to movies and entertainment, especially in Korean and Filipino culture. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing badminton.

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