Since time immortal, designers have been using a set of rules and regulations mixed with a little intuition to create logo design that really bowled people over. Many of the designers that create successful and catchy logos know how to work their magic. They know what works and what doesn’t. What they may not know is the “Why” of it. But thanks to the advancements in neuroscience and psychology, we have found out a lot about how the brain works, how it reacts to different kinds of designs, and how to make our designs better and more appealing.
WHAT IS NEURO DESIGN
So what is this neuro designing, really? Very simply, it is the art of designing logos that the brain can register and understand more comfortably and efficiently. It is a fairly new field that takes the findings from neuroscience and psychology and applies them to the field of design and visual creation.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE SEE A LOGO
Any time we see a logo or any design, for that matter, our brain activity spikes up. A lot of things start happening and not all of them at the same time. Our brains can generate not only emotional responses but also behavioral changes, and that in less than a second. All of this happens when our brain ‘sees’ a logo or a design that it recognizes as familiar or out of the ordinary. In fact, studies have shown that some images elicit responses in those areas of our brains that are only activated when we interact with people who we have relations with. So, if you love your Nikes, seeing the Nike whoosh will actually make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, just like you feel when you meet a long lost friend.
THE STEPS OUR BRAINS TAKE TO SEE THE LOGO
Our brains usually process designs and logos in four different steps. What’s incredible is that our brains take only 400 milliseconds to perform all these four actions.
- The second you set your sights on a logo, it sends a signal to your primary visual cortex. The first thing that it registers is the colors used in the logo, then it identifies the shape of the logo and its form.
- Once the brain has identified all the elements of the logo, it then groups them together in the secondary visual cortex. This gives the objects a basic identity.
- Next your brain searches our memory for any previous experiences that we might have had with these objects.
- The final part of this process is that our brain takes the emotions that we had previously attributed to our experiences with these objects and attaches them to the visual in front of us.
These are the basic steps that our brain takes each and every time it sees a design or a visual. Now that we have a basic understanding of it, let’s see how neuro design can help us to develop logos that are more effective in bringing these emotions to life and attaching them to the brand.
VISUAL STIMULI THAT STAND OUT
A stimulus is anything that creates a perceptible change in our physical or chemical structure. Our environments are heavy with visual stimuli. With such a heavy burden on our brains, they have developed a tendency to focus only on the things that stand out from the others. In neuroscience this ability of our brains is called “Visual Saliency”.
Our brain is so fast and so self-sufficient that it starts working even before we are aware that something is going on. Neuro design uses this innate ability of our brains to get it to focus on the logo and not on anything else around.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR LOGO’S VISUAL SALIENCY
If you want to increase the visual saliency of your logo then you need to design it by using colors, contrast, depth or different patterns to set it apart. Do something that will make it stand out from the crowd.
COLORS AND CONTRAST
Using contrasting colors is a very effective way to make your logo stand out. Recognizing colors is the first step in design recognition. So if you use contrasting colors, then the brain will take it as aesthetically pleasing and your logo will have a stronger appeal.
Another way of making sure that your logo jumps out at the viewer is using depth as the striking feature. Good examples of using depth in a logo are the Dropbox and the PlayStation logos. One more way of making the logo stand out is to make it look out of place. A good example of this is the Apple logo. You don’t expect a fruit to appear on items that are related to computers and technology.
A way to instinctively get our attention is movement. Movement is another good example of things appearing out of place. We don’t expect to see movement in the logos that we see. There are two ways for you to integrate movement into your design. One way is to use implied motion. It refers to logos that create a feeling of movement through italicized text and leaning shapes. The other way is to use animation. Animated logos have grown exponentially in the recent times.
EASY TO DIGEST
There are various studies that state that our brains are generally inclined towards things that are easy to comprehend. Every little detail that our brains processes requires a huge amount of energy. Now our brains are smart (pun intended) so they have come up with different ways to minimize the usage of energy. One of the ways our brains do that is to look for things that are easy to understand and decode. This is what neurologists call “Processing Fluency”. According to this concept, the easier to understand and less complicated our logos are, the more our brains will gravitate towards them.
Our brains encounter millions if not billions of images and most of them are repeated. What our brains have done to deal with this huge amount of data is to create shortcuts. Our brains love it when these shortcuts are used and patterns elicit these shortcuts. So whenever our brains encounter a pattern, it automatically leans towards that pattern.
With more and more information fighting for our brain’s response everyday, designers need to understand these concepts to come up with better ways to create the best logo designs that we (our brains) have ever seen to make their brands memorable for us.