Logo design psychology: Neurodesign by Ching

neuro design-by ching

Neurodesign

“The subtle merger between Neuroscience and Design theory”

“Your logo represents your only opportunity to guarantee that the very first impression is powerful and positively recognisable one.”

A logo design consists of a complete collection of contributing design elements. If just one element does not fit the others, the entire impression of your audience and the positive impact of your branding efforts will be compromised. Therefore, every little component — from the colours to the fonts, shapes, lines, composition and many many more details and their combination, will influence people who see that logo. That is why every design concept requires a more strategic approach. An approach, that is built on a psychological foundation – finding out what makes your audience click, what emotional response it can trigger, and how will people behave with regards to what they perceive. When it comes to taking a more strategic approach to designing logos, neuro design proved to be a great resource. Neurodesign is a blend of neuroscience and psychology. It introduces a set of principles that enables us to test the logo design against real human reactions.

In the article below, I will cover the essence of the topic of Neurodesign. This will be done by using a case study of logo design for one of my clients, the Infinity Yacht Brokers. I will bring in my personal perspective to demonstrate how I utilise the principles of Neurodesign during my creative work to design appealing logos.

COLOUR PSYCHOLOGY IN LOGO DESIGN

Nothing gives life to a logo like colour. It holds physical, psychological and emotional power. Colour communicates at the speed of light, and it is the first element processed by our brain when seeing a logo for the first time. The right colour selection for a logo is a complex process.

When deciding on the colour (if not specified by the client), I first recognize the overall feeling, mood, and image the brand aims to convey. Then, I tap into audiences' culture, demographics, gender, etc. Sometimes, to assist with the overall style and appeal, I consider ‘rules’ of colour psychology and colour scheme itself.

Infinity Yacht Brokers logo design primary colours consist of deep blue and white. This unique blue colour was personally hand-picked and labelled as ‘Infinity Blue’. It resembles the colour of the ocean. The role of the deep tone was to evoke feelings of open space and freedom while having a calming and harmonious connotation. Additionally, blue colour is known for conveying feelings of trust and authority as well as confidence, loyalty, and integrity.

The colour of the infinity symbol is white, expressing a sense of excitement, cleanliness, and simplicity. On the dark coloured background, it appears striking and is properly visible.

The colour range also includes a gradient of blue and a gradient of grey. The blue gently transforms from lighter to darker, indicating motion, and resembling the very movement of a yacht from shallow to deep waters. The gradient of grey resembles a silver/metal tone. Its role is to convey feelings of ‘something’ new, serious, and yet classic.  Grey colour also portrays practicality, stability, and security.

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This trinity of colours was inspired by a luxurious silver-toned Rolex Sky dweller Oyster Perpetual watch, product engaging with a similar audience as Infinity Yacht clients themselves. 

The simple and sophisticated colour combination of Infinity blue, white and steel grey creates the need to gently engage the target market, without pushing or persuasion, a key to branding to the high-end market

SHAPES PSYCHOLOGY IN LOGO DESIGN

The shapes employed in your logo design are of paramount importance. They are literally “shaping” the message that the audience receives about the nature of your business. Every shape whether horizontal or vertical, diagonal, curvy, triangular, etc., communicates different meaning. My role, as a designer, is to harness these meanings to send the right message to the right audience.

The selected Infinity symbol idea showed two directions. The first one was based on the Infinity symbol and its well-known association of eternity and connection. The symbol gave the brand a sense of motion and balance, resembling the nature of the ocean itself.

The second one was structured around the idea of the infinity resemblance of a sailor’s knot, aiming to add a nautical touch to the concept. Additionally, by looking closely, one can notice a subtle “Y” that was cleverly incorporated into the centre of the symbol. It represents the first letter of the word ‘Yacht’ further emphasizing the core message of the brand. This ‘wordplay’ is a creative technique allowing higher engagement and better memorability of this design.

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 Also, when unfolding the infinite symbol it forms into circles. According to recent studies, people have an innate preference for curves or tapered shapes rather than angular or spiky shapes. This is because angular shapes and sharp edges inherently remind us of objects that can hurt us. Curvy design, however, is more suitable as it suggests easiness and encourages interaction. Because Infinity Yacht logo encourages luxury and relaxation, making this symbol and its shape properties work perfectly.

 

ROLE OF GEOMETRY IN LOGO DESIGN

Shapes and symmetry are innate to our understanding of the world around us. During my design work, I consider the use of geometric patterns (grid design), symmetry, and regular proportions (golden ratio) to be a great tool to develop simple yet captivating logos that appeal to our most basic instincts.

The entire design concept was created using a logo grid system and, where applicable, the golden ratio principle. This approach enabled placing all the elements of the logo in the right position. This resulted in geometric harmony and maintained visual consistency, thereby giving an undeniable aesthetic appeal.

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 Though utilising grid system or golden ratio may not be immediately obvious, evidence from eye-tracking studies suggests that people can non-consciously sense hidden geometry in design. Thus, incorporating those principles in this concept made it more effective at piquing our brains’ curiosity and increasing the Infinity Yacht brand's memorability.

FONT PSYCHOLOGY IN LOGO DESIGN

Typography is a crucial part of the design concept. It has the power to immediately elicit an emotional response. When it comes to a question of typography in logos, my ultimate focus lies on selecting the right font (btw. there are thousands out there;) and arranging all typographic elements accordingly. This involves looking at fonts size, contrast, whitespace and visual hierarchy on both micro and macro level. The right choice of typography in the logo assures consistency with the personality of your whole brand identity.

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The primary typeface for Infinity Yacht is Nexa, from the Sans Serif fonts group. It was chosen to convey a message of straightforward, simple and no-nonsense attitude. This font appears clean, modern and engaging, penetrating straight to the high-end target market of the client. Together with the colour scheme and the infinity symbol, this typography evokes a sense of honesty and sensibility. Beauty lies in its simplicity, where there are no decorative elements distracting the eye or clouding the message. Airily spaced letters gave the extra clean and approachable touch, completing the whole typography experience. 

 

VISUAL SALIENCY PRINCIPLE IN LOGO DESIGN

Our world is in an abundance of visual stimuli, and, as a result, our brains have become highly accustomed to recognise visual elements that stand out from their surroundings – a quality defined as visual saliency. Throughout the designing process, I aim to incorporate these elements into my work by improving the use of colour, contrast, brightness, and patterns. Utilising the power of visual saliency principle in a logo design process can then yield a stand out effect.

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The increase of the level of visual saliency of the Infinity Yacht logo was achieved by creating a strong contrast between the dark tones of the infinity blue and white color. As a result, design elements ‘jumped out’ more strongly, making the logo more recognizable and memorable. 

PROCESSING FLUENCY PRINCIPLE IN LOGO DESIGN

In recent years, minimalistic logo design remains to be a popular and highly effective trend. One of the reasons behind this trend is ‘processing fluency’ of our brain, or, in other words, how easy can our brain processes image such as a logo.  With the continuous increase of data load, human brains have evolved to minimize energy consumption by preferring designs that are minimalistic and easy to decode. Thus, the simpler the logo, the more clarity and efficiency it can achieve and the more appealing it is to the audience.

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Infinity Yacht Brokers logo was designed in the theme “less is more”. Its aim was to be instantly recognizable, easily interpretable and timeless. This was achieved by removing all the details that could distract from the logo’s message and keeping the concept clean and to the point. Although designs such as this one might appear easy at first, minimalism is difficult to practice. It takes many years of experience to be able to create a concept using a few elements in a clever way.

 

PROPOSITIONAL DENSITY PRINCIPLE IN LOGO DESIGN

For a logo to be more interesting and memorable, it needs to be not only simplistic but also rich in meaning at the same time. This can be achieved by an increase of propositional density, meaning, the number of ideas divided by the number of elements. In a logo, every element - the line, shape, color, text, etc. - all carry a specific sense, and all are communicating something to your audience. A combination of elements conveys additional information in the way the components interact with each other.

The high level of propositional density of Infinity Yacht logo concept was accomplished by 'packing' many meanings into a very few design elements:

The infinity symbol incorporated simultaneously the eternity and the nautical symbolism. The clever wordplay of the letter ‘Y’ outlined the 'Yacht' message of the logo.

The color scheme, inspired by a luxurious tricolor watch, carries multiple meanings of cleanliness and simplicity as well as trust and authority.

Visual saliency was enhanced by the contrasting oceanic blue and white, allowing visibility and clarity.

Utilising grid/ golden ratio design principles brought a sense of balance and harmony.

'“Finally, straightforward, modern and engaging typography with airily spaced letters also contributed to the creation of a minimalist and timeless logo design concept. “ 

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