Let's find out the science behind "Keep it simple stupid" and how it can help in creating effective brand designs for all your digital marketing efforts.
According to research conducted by Google in 2012, users consistently rated websites with simple visuals as more aesthetically pleasing, than the more complex counterparts.
Additionally, highly prototypical sites (those with more visual associations with sites of its category) with simple designs were rated to be most aesthetically pleasing. You may be wondering, what does Google’s research on website designs have to do with brand designs? Well, it provides us with an understanding of aesthetic judgments and how we process visual information and gives credibility to the phrase “Keep It Simple Stupid”.
Visual Information Processing: Simple Designs
We all know different people have different preferences and tastes. However, the concept of simplicity is more aesthetically pleasing over visual complexity has been found to be universal. The reason behind this is because simplicity is scientifically easier to process.
We process visual information by converting the images seen through our eyes (retina) into electrical impulses, which is then sent to our brain. So, the more complex the image is, whether it’s colors or objects, the more information your eyes and brain will have to process.
Combine this with the fact that most people consume their content on their mobile phones making the visual plane very small. Complex designs become difficult to process quickly and are therefore passed over by viewers. On the contrary, being boring and simple will also yield a result of your brand being not memorable. It comes down to designing that simple, elegant, and yet eye-catching design that proves to be a challenging task for many brands and marketers.
Prototypicality: Relatable Designs
If you were to see a picture of a pink room, most of you would think “a girls room.” If I showed you a picture of a person with heavy black makeup, black lipstick, with piercings and ask you, “what kind of music?” Most of you would answer, rock or heavy metal.
Prototypicality is essentially a mental image your brain categorizes and associates with the things you interact with. These associations can be created through a person's experience and social norms. Our brain does this to lessen the cognitive processes of daily interactions.
So when your target demographic come across your brand's marketing ad or any brand asset that is in contrast with their mental associations, they will reject the information on conscious and subconscious levels. That being said, you will have to be careful not to be too generic and lack originality. The main point is to keep the content aligned with the user's mental image while being creative, and not triggering heavy brain process.
Cognitive Fluency: Memorable Designs
The two concepts discussed above relate to cognitive fluency. A simple explanation of cognitive fluency is that the brain prefers to focus on things that are easy to think about. That is why the brain creates these prototypes to make things easier to process. Therefore, the more the brain is exposed to something, the more you prefer it. This is because the more you are exposed to something; the less the brain needs to process it.
If your brand design assets are simple and/or have ‘prototypical factors’, the more effective your branding will be due to the low cognitive process, resulting in a ‘memorable’ brand. In contrast, if the designs are too complex and go against prototypical factors, it is likely the viewers will reject the information.
Although there will be anomalies where a complex image with abnormal prototypes will go viral on the web, the majority of likable Brand designs will fall under these concepts. It’s fair to assume that less is more and it’s best to keep it simple. Ready to get creative on your Brand Designs? Create beautiful Logos, Packaging, and websites with Hydensiq Digital.