design psychology

4 Ways Design Affects What You Purchase

4 Ways Design Affects What You Purchase

Design is everywhere you look, and our culture is saturated with it. Design is more than just colors, shapes, and some fonts strategically put together. It’s an essential form of visual communication. It taps into the mind of the buyer, and plays off of deeply ingrained cultural values, and instinctual feelings. Here are some ways that design affects what you buy (whether or not you realize it).

1. Design and Shape Matters

Obviously, your brain prefers the look of an item that is more organic. But how do you know what looks “organic” in the first place? According to some studies done by Steve J. Westerman, and his team of researchers, they found out what that was. 

They showed customers pictures of product packaging in 2 different experiments. Different chocolate product packaging was the first experiment. The second experiment contained water and bleach bottle designs. The studies showed that people pretty much preferred rounded products over harsh, angled products. 

2. Design Gives Perceived Value

Have you ever walked through the aisle of a store, and had to decide between several brands of the same product? Generally, people tend to pick the best looking packaging. Whether it was more trendy looking or more brightly colored, that buyer experienced a term called “perceived value.”

Perceived value means that the customer determined that the product could satisfy their needs or wants. Another saying that comes to mind with perceived value is, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This statement becomes even more true when companies continue to push their value perception. 

When design is consistently used on particular products, given in association with a positive thought, it is slowly stored over time in the memory bank. 


3. Design Uses Color to Move You

Did you know that color has a distinct effect on your emotions and brain? For example, the color red speeds up your metabolism and it can also raise your heart rate. Yellow is a happy color, but it can make babies cry more often if a room is painted yellow. Blue is calming, and purple gives the feeling of luxury.

Design uses color to influence the decisions of potential buyers. Whether it’s the purple of Cadbury chocolate, or the green of a Monster Energy drink, color has a profound effect on the minds of viewers. Color is used to catch your eye, and when it's paired with contrast, it’s a match made in heaven. See if you can spot colors that automatically get your attention the next time you shop.


4. Design Sets Up Expectations

Finally, when you pick up a product with good design, you’ll develop some sort of expectation for that product. Design builds trust with a customer in several seconds. The customer knows what level of quality they may receive from the product, or how long it will last, just based on how the packaging looks. 

If the packaging feels cheap, with poor design, and looks like it hasn’t been updated in 30 years, it might get overlooked. But, if the packaging is well designed, with great material, and follows more recent design trends, people are probably more likely to buy it because it looks more trustworthy. 

Design is a powerful tool. There are a lot of factors that go into what people buy, and how fast they make decisions, and these are just a few of them. So, when you go to the store, pay attention to how certain product design affects you. Maybe, take a second to reflect why.

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