You know it when you see it. Great design. Effortless, eye-catching design reaches out to us. It’s appealing. But what is it about good design that attracts our eye?
You might not know it, but our brains are programmed to be attracted to certain visual queues. In fact, the same factors that cause us to find certain people innately attractive can also apply to design. Certain features, characteristics and aesthetic values cause us to be attracted to something without us even knowing. Understanding these elements can help us design websites that are pleasing to our eye – and our brains.
So what do we find attractive?
Sexiness of Symmetry
The human eye likes symmetry. Studies judging attractiveness of human faces found that viewers preferred faces that were symmetrical (with features that mirror each other on the left and right sides). Why is symmetry deemed beautiful? Scientists believe that symmetry is a direct result of a strong immune system, which can indicate robust genes. Give your web site some strong genes by designing around a central point or axis. A website with pleasing design will have a sense of balance and unity.
The psychology of colour is not new to design. Humans react strongly to colour and product designers have long been using the properties of certain colours to elicit certain emotions. Knowing colours and their associations is important when designing a website. For example, you wouldn’t want to choose red for a yoga studio as red is a powerful colour that evokes emotions like fear, anger, and passion. Blue is a colour often associated with loyalty and trustworthiness – which is why it is such a popular choice for businesses.
Psychology of Shape
Cubbies, drawers, containers, boxes. Squares give us a sense of logic, order and security. Circles evoke feelings of comfort, warmth, family, and love, while triangles represent balance, strength, and energy. Geometric shapes are easy to recognize and suggest efficiency while organic shapes suggest spontaneity. Be sure to determine the nature of your company before choosing the shapes in your website.
What do we find unattractive?
Clashing colours make us want to look away. High contrast colours or opposites fight for attention and don’t seem to sit well next to each other. Think of red beside green or yellow beside orange. When they are too close together, clashing colours seem to vibrate and overwhelm the viewer.