How to create beautiful visual designs for unforgotable first impression

People make snap judgments. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. Visual designs are no different.

By: Hugo Maja

First Impression Fact

Users form design opinions in 17 ms.

Website is a perfect example of how we demonstrate a visual design. Visual design focuses on the design aesthetics and its related materials by strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other visual elements.

In the first research, google says that viewers takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms, suggesting that you have about 50 ms to make a good first impression with your website.

A few years ago, Google confirmed the 50 ms number in their own research. In fact, according to their study, some opinions develop within 17 ms, though the effect was less pronounced on some design factors. The key findings from their study were that websites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality (how representative a design looks for a certain category of websites) were perceived as highly appealing.

This first impression of a website depends on many factors: structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and shape.  It takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression. Researchers monitored user’s eye movements as they scanned web pages. They analyzed the eye tracking data to determine how long it took to focus on specific sections of a page such as the menu, logo, images, and social media icons before they moved on to another section. 

They discovered that the better the first impression, the the longer the participants stayed on the page.

Visual Design Principles

The 6 Most Important Visual Branding Assets

A successful visual design effectively brings visual elements together into a brand. Your visual branding consists of all the graphic elements that will characterize your brand and make it recognizable by your customers. Think about Apple for a second. The bitten apple, the thin typography, and the grey tones make us think of Apple products. Those characteristics are brand assets.

Your brand assets are the design elements that define how people perceive your brand. Everything from your logo, your website, your social media graphics, and your business card will define how people connect or not to your brand identity.

Your brand assets are the foundation on which your brand is built. If you want people to appreciate and eventually, associate with your brand you need a strong foundation. Here are the 6 most important brand assets that you need to set up and establish your brand identity:

1. Logo

Making a good first impression with your logo will make it easier to absorb bumps in the road with customers as you get up to speed. Of course the reverse is true. A bad or generic logo design will sour that first impression and have you walking on eggshells, competing on price, and having to overcome more objections from the start.

The impact of a first impression can last for years. A study published in Administrative Science Quarterly showed that NBA players with a low draft position were given more playing time after their 5th year in the league, even when performance did not warrant such. The powerful first impression they made in college and through the draft influenced their coach’s lineup decisions 5 years later!

Illustration by OrangeCrush

The goal of a logo is to perfectly represent your brand to an audience, while also differentiating you from others out there. When someone looks at your logo at first time they should be able to determine two things: if they desire the product and if they want to buy it from your company. 

Learning how to design a logo can seem overwhelming. Where do you begin

2. Color

Color is one of the most obvious elements of design, for both the user and the designer. It can stand alone, as a background, or be applied to other elements, like lines, shapes, textures or typography. Color creates a mood within the piece and tells a story about the brand. Every color says something different, and combinations can alter that impression further.

People have psychological ties to different colors schemes. Using the right color combinations can have a big impact on how customers react to your brand. The success of your branding relies on your customers’ emotional reactions. Make sure you use colors strategically in your branding. Select a homogeneous color palette that effectively depicts your brand identity and voice. And remember that your color palette will affect all your other graphic material. Think about how your t-shirts will look in that neon yellow before you make it your principal color.

3. Typography

Typography is the set of fonts you use. You don’t have to use one font throughout all your visual material, but you need to stick to one font family. A font family is a set of fonts that look good next to each other.

Surprisingly, typography is also highly emotional. People have different sentimental reactions to different fonts. And different fronts generate different feels and reactions. Make sure to use no more than 3 fonts. You’ll have one primary font that you’ll use almost everywhere. And two others for specific purposes.

4. Imagery

When it comes to Imagery, there are endless styles, approaches, and genres. The most important is that you choose one and stick to it.

Depending on your business, Imagery can be as photography and illustration. Imagery is a great way to tell stories in a unique, fun and recognizable way. With Imagery, companies are able to communicate complex messages and explain abstract concepts. Plus they’re visually pleasant and entertaining.

It’s hard for people to communicate their brand character and vibe. Imagery can do that. Through Imagery, you can make your brand look and feel the way you want. In addition to messages, Imagery can convey your brand culture and spirit.

5. Iconography

Just like fonts, icons come in families. Icons from the same family have the same style and look good together. Icons are subtle and most people don’t even notice them. However, they are powerful little tools that convey messages. We unintentionally associate certain meaning to icons and unconsciously interpret them.

It’s important for your brand to have a set of versatile icons ready. Icons can be used in all different visual elements. Although icons are discrete, an incompatible set of icons can easily be spotted. Make sure your icons embellish your design rather than complicate it.

6. Pattern

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about patterns? Ugly wallpaper or your grand-aunt’s curtains might pop into your head. But patterns are so much more than that—and they’re so on-trend right now that you just can’t escape them.

Packaging by .g.

Patterns can be found all over corporate design, web design and packaging. And for good reason: they’re an amazing way to build and strengthen brand identity and style. Trust me, there’s a pattern out there for everyone.

We all have brands that we pick among others with our eyes closed. Those brands we associate and have a strong connection with. If you look closely, you’ll see how those brands managed to align their brand identity with your identity. Your brand should do the same. Branding is what differentiates successful companies from the others. Creating and establishing a brand identity makes your brand relatable and engaging to your audience. Emotional bonds and strong relationships are what drives customers to come back time after time.

In branding, knowing what your brand stands for is not enough. You need to communicate it the right way with your audiences. That starts with creating your brand assets. Keep in mind that people won’t remember your logo or colors from the first time. Branding is a long-term process that requires constant reminders and most importantly, consistency.