A big part of what I share here at the Big Brand System is to help people to learn to see things they’re not accustomed to noticing.
Unless you were born with vision problems, you don’t need to learn to register images. You opened your eyes a few moments after you were born and started taking in the world around you.
But designers — and people who want to learn to apply design principles to their marketing materials — need to go beyond just registering images. We need to interpret them.
It takes practice, but if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll start seeing the concepts outlined here everywhere you look.
Want to harness the power of design in your marketing materials this year? Learn to notice the visual techniques in this post. Once you’ve understood them, you can apply them to your website and all your printed marketing material for a more effective, attractive and professional brand.
Babies’ eyes are attuned to high-contrast shapes, which is why toy stores are full of baby toys adorned with black and white geometric forms.
Adult eyes gravitate toward high contrast, too. Use high contrast in your marketing materials by making sure there’s an obvious difference between the color of your foreground items and that of your background.
Another way to draw attention to something is through size. When an item is disproportionately larger or smaller than everything else around it, the viewer’s eyes go directly to it.
You can use this to your advantage by making what you want your viewer to notice first larger than everything else around it.
See the examples below for how you can use size to your advantage, and keep your eyes open for examples of how marketing materials use size difference to make their messages stand out.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I recommend you pick two main colors to represent your business.
These two colors become associated with your brand. They become “your” colors over time.
But there’s a third color you can use, and if you train your eyes to look for it, you’ll notice many well-designed marketing materials implement it. It’s the accent color.
The accent color stands apart from your two main colors. It’s different for a reason: it’s the color you should use when you want to draw attention to the most important information on your page.
When you use contrast, size and color together, you’ll structure your information to be grasped quickly and digested with ease. You’ll start using visual hierarchy to your advantage. Visual hierarchy creates web and print pages that just “look right.”
Now that you understand these four concepts, practice noticing them in the marketing materials you see every day.
If you find a good example of one of the concepts, share a link in the comments. Questions? Ask away!