5 Psychology Principles in Design

5 Psychology Principles in Design

Psychology plays a vital role in stimulating the important aspects of design in the minds of the spectators. The reason behind understanding colors and or logos is psychology.  For instance, we perceive that red is a choice color for restaurant logos because it stimulates appetite. The designer should start by reviewing below mentioned 5 psychology principles in Design that they can incorporate into practice to get desirable results.

Let’s get started.


  1. The Von Restorff Effect

    5 Psychology Principles in Design

    Source : Dribble

The Von Restorff effect states that – “The more absurd an element is, the more it will stand out and be remembered”.

This theory was tested by Hedwig von Restorff in 1933. She had subjects look at a list of similar items. If an item was isolated, such as if it was highlighted, it was much easier for the individual to recall the item over others on the list.

This principle can be applied to design in several ways. The obvious is that if you want to draw attention to one item, you isolate it, such as through color, size, spacing, etc. This was the first effect in our 5 psychology principles in Design list.

  1. Psychology of Color

    5 Psychology Principles in Design

    Source : Vandelay

Designers will have a firm understanding of color and how it relates to design. Colors are a vital and crucial part of a design. You can also read our article on Color Theory to understand the color game effectively. Adobe lists colors and their corresponding emotions, the positive ones as follows:

  • Black: sophistication and power (example site)
  • White: cleanliness, sophistication, virtue
  • Red: courage, power, strength; can also stimulate appetite
  • Blue: calmness, peace, trust, safety (example site)
  • Yellow: optimism, happiness
  • Green: balance, sustainability growth
  • Purple: royalty, spiritual awareness, luxury
  • Orange: friendliness, comfort, and food
  • Pink: tranquility, femininity, sexuality

The above list refers to Western Culture perceptions. This is a great example of how psychology affects design in 5 psychology principles in Design.

  1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

5 Psychology Principles in Design

Source : Wespire

You studied Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in high school or college. In case you didn’t, here’s what it looks like:

The pyramid is designed to show the steps one must take to reach self-actualization. Before someone can feel loved, for example, they must have their physiological and safety needs met.

Marketers and designers can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in advertising and public relations.

When designing marketing material, use this theory when developing a buyer persona. Think about where your client’s target audience is in the pyramid. How can your design motivate them to the next stage of the pyramid?

  1. Hick’s Law

    5 Psychology Principles in Design

    Source : Street Survival LinkediIn

Hick’s Law relates to how long it takes someone to make a decision. If people have more choices to choose from, it will take them longer to decide. In some cases, it will take them so long that they’ll opt to make no decision at all because the burden of deciding has become too large.

You can incorporate this idea into a design as well. For example, if you’re designing a website, you want to keep your navigation panel as clean as possible with just a few options to choose from. If you have to, group pages into drop-down menus so it’s easier for web visitors to categorize their options and make a quicker decision.

  1. Facial Recognition

    5 Psychology Principles in Design

    Source : Apple


Incorporating faces into your design is one of the most effective design techniques that pull someone into your poster, web page, or book cover. People are inherently drawn to faces so much that we see faces where there aren’t any, like on the surface of the moon or on Mars. What’s more, case studies show that when faces are added to websites, it boosts conversions and is a great step in the 5 psychology principles in Design.

You can also use faces to convey emotion. There are six universally recognized facial expressions:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Disgust
  • Anger

Utilizing this principle, you can immediately set the tone for your design as well as communicate across language boundaries.

Psychology plays a huge role in how we go about our day-to-day lives, but if you’re a designer, it’s important to pay extra attention to psychology principles to create artwork that speaks to your audience and converts for your clients. Hope you had a great time knowing 5 psychology principles in Design. Happy designing!

Leave a Comment