Have you ever seen a “happy” color or a “scary” font? Do rounded edges make you feel more at ease? If so, you’re reacting to the very real effects that shape, colour, and image can have on our emotions.

Pale colours can make us feel light and airy, while darker tones evoke a sense of depth and groundedness. Furthermore, harsh lines and shapes can communicate danger or draw our attention to something important.

Here are some of the aspects of design that can affect the way your followers and customers behave online.

How Colour Can Affect Emotion

Colour theory is perhaps one of the most widely studied and applied aspects of psychology used in marketing. Colours can attract customers to certain aspects of your website while detracting them from others.

“Strategic design directs prospects’ eyes, subtly telling them where to look and what to focus on. Colour perception is instrumental in this process.” – Convince & Convert

Red is an example of deeply emotional color. Red is used in marketing to communicate a sense of urgency and the need to take immediate action. This is why most “flash sale” signs use red as a way to get customers to “act now”.

If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve probably noticed that most sites have a brightly coloured, green, orange or blue “add to cart” button. This can vary depending on a website’s individual theme. However, the goal to make the checkout process easy and “attractive” is always the same!

How Fonts Can Affect Emotion  

Different fonts communicate different things. Bold, round text can be friendly and inviting, while regal or cursive fonts might elicit an air of exclusivity.

Check out this infographic from Crazy Egg about the psychology behind different font choices.

Think about this when choosing fonts to pair with your images online. The right text can stop a user right in their tracks, while one that is illegible or faint might have them scroll right by without a second thought.

Original image from crazyegg.com

How Shape Can Affect Emotion  

Design shapes also have a massive impact on consumer behavior.

“People prefer rounded corners over sharp edges. Got a lot of sharp edges in your store? You may want to rethink your design because it looks like curved or rounded edges have a bigger appeal to consumers.” – Vend Limited

Rounded edges make customers feel calmer. The more relaxed a customer is, the more likely they are to feel comfortable making a purchase or engage with your content.

Need proof of this? Look no further than the shape of your iPhone or its applications. Rounded products and call to action (CTA) buttons are an example of how Apple gets users to feel more at ease through shape design.

How Images Can Affect Emotion

Images are one of the most powerful storytelling tools marketers have. Stories are emotional and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves.

“Stories share important information about our past, bring us together and appeal to our deepest humanity. Without a good story, your audience has little to latch onto.” – Like A Voss Blog

Being able to tell a story with a single image is essential on social media. Everything from posts to ads, to choosing the right thumbnail requires that you select images with the most impact.

“There are many reasons that explain why we think images are attractive. For example, visual information is very convenient. Instead of reading a lot of text, which takes time and effort, we rather quickly scan an image or a graph.” – Usabilla