Before we understand psychology within the design we must first under what psychology is and why it’s important to understand the way the mind works.

Psychology In Graphic Design


Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and the conscious or unconscious mind. The study explores such mental behaviors as emotions,intelligence,personality,mental functioning,perception and human interaction. The study of psychology such as Gestalt principles can start to build a certain type of persons mindset, how one thinks and allow one to understand what is need to connect with that person on a mental level.


A design must convey a message and connect with the intended audience. When designing you must dive into one’s mind, connect with their inner thoughts and plant a seed. Designers need to understand the psychology with design, how it effects thoughts and emotions with their intended audience. All aspects of a design can convey a message such as color, font, shapes and layout.


Gestalt Principles were developed by German psychologists at the Berlin School of experimental psychology in the 1920s which states when THE HUMAN MIND forms a percept the whole is independent of the parts. There are 5 basic principles that apply to the psychology of logo design:

Unilever Logo






Proximity refers to objects places close together being perceived as a group as showcased in the Unilever logo

Girl Scout Logo






Shared characteristics automatically create relationships as shown in the girl scout logo above where it depicts multiple girl figures within the one object.

Centurion Golf Logo






Continuity dictates that once the eye begins to follow something, it will continue traveling in that direction until it encounters another object.

WWF Logo






Closure is related to continuity in that it asks the eye to complete a path

Pittsburgh Zoo logo







Figure-ground principle is based upon the relationships between an object and the surrounding space.


Graphic design is an important marking tool, it is import to understand the psychology of color in marketing and design.  The color within color theory wheel provokes certain feelings within the mind and if used properly can help to convey a message to your audience. To be a successful designer you must be familiar with color meaning and how it effects THE HUMAN MIND.


Color can affect our emotions and moods. It has an affect on our everyday lives and is used in design to influence our feeling. Colors can be a strong tool when communicating a specific message and can be used to persuade an action and produce a certain mood. Let’s explore the psychological effects of color in graphic design and how the brain my perceive it.

The color blue is a calming color that depicts creativity and wisdom. The color provokes feeling of unity, peace, trust, honesty, security, loyalty, stability and protection.

The color green is a color that gives a feel of nature and health. It provokes feelings of money, nature, fertility, safety and growth. It is know to have a relaxing property and can be very please to the eyes.

The color red is a very intense color, a color normally used on signs to signal caution or warning do to how noticeable it is to the eyes.  It is a warm color the relays the feeling of passion, lust, sex, blood and war. It is more commonly used with the word stop and can take attention from other colors.

The color yellow is know to represent sunshine, happiness, fun, youth and also know to be a sign of caution.  It is the brightest color the eyes can see, it is a cheerful electrifying color but can also have some bad effects such as being hard to see as well as unpleasant.

The color orange is bright warm color which represents fire, the sun, and tropical. The color can increase the flow of oxygen in the brain and stimulate brain activity. Orange can bring about an appetite and represent healthy foods.

The color purple has always been associated with royalty and prestige. It can symbolize magic,luxury, power and when combined with gold it portrays wealth.

The color brown gives a sense of stability, structure and support. Brown can depict a sense of duty and responsibility.

The color white is a color of purity and peace. It repesents innocence, cleanliness and humility.

The color gray represents reliability, dignity, maturity, intellect and safety. It is more commonly used in security and military logos along site blue. The color has no emotion, its neutral and indecisive.

The color black is sophisticated, has a sense of power, elegant, mysterious, evil, unhappy, depth, anger and technical. The color is more associated with death and can become depressing.


Beyond color our minds also respond to different shapes in design and different shapes send completely different messages. Circular designs (Elipses, rings, oval and circles) tend to project innovation, endurance, stability, partnership and friendship.

Linear shapes (angled, vertical and horizontal lines) give a sense of balance, exhilaration and action. Vertical lines are associated by our minds as strength and aggression where as horizontal lines convey community and tranquility. Angled lines suggest energy and movement.

Angular designs (squares, rectangles, and triangles) portray a message of stability, efficiency and professionalism.Triangles gives a sense of power and reliability. Square and rectangles are know to show power and strength.


Psychology plays a big role in graphic design and can make or break sales.  Every color, font, shape or layout can communicate a subconscious message and if done incorrectly can leave a bad lasting effect on one’s consciousness. It is important to get to know your clients business, write down all the messages or values they want their business to convey and start to design using the psychology principles above. Connect with your target audience, design your visuals to speak words to the mind and plant your seed.

Have any questions or have something important to add to this topic as always please leave it in the comments below. Logos & Simplicity is a community that strives on learning from your peers. You never stop learning, education continues thought life, I look forward to learning from others and value your input.

September 18, 2016 Salvatore Jenkins Jr. Uncategorized 6 Comments


  1. Steve

    October 3, 2016

    Hey Sjenkinsjr

    Great review post! You have a very unique site and a very thorough post with a lot of informative information. You really seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to psychology in graphic design, and logos, the way you can break them down and categorize them is awesome!

    Your website is very well laid out and I really like the social media share bar that you have on your site! When reading your post, I related most when I got to the color section. On my Nikon site, on the top of every post I use red lettering, but I do it like I’m a band starting a show and I’m hyping up the crowd.

    It’s weird how we think of these things sub-consciously. I also chose the color because it matches my theme colors, and any other color looks funny, so I keep it uniform. Keep up the great work though!

    • Salvatore Jenkins Jr. author

      October 4, 2016

      Thank you for the comment…It is amazing how the mind perceives color and how it can convey a certain message to our psyche!

  2. Anh Nguyen

    October 3, 2016

    Thanks so much for this comprehensive guide on the basics on logo design. I am an artist myself although logo design isn’t my thing, I really enjoyed how it’s related to psychology in how a person was able to perceive simple shape and forms into something more complex.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Salvatore Jenkins Jr. author

      October 4, 2016

      I’m glad you enjoyed the psychology behind logo design / graphic design and I believe psychology plays a role in all arts forms. Psychology is all around us and is used to convey messages everywhere we look into today’s society!

  3. SanShar

    December 20, 2016

    I didn’t realize logos and colors where that involved.

    I guess we really don’t think about things like that, hence the subconscious aspect of it all.

    I remember seeing a documentary about subconscious influences. There was a segment that suggested companies like Coke and Pepsi use subliminal messages in their commercials to get people to buy their products.

    When you thing about it, that is a very interesting concept. I guess we would be surprised at the number of purchases we make due to subconscious influences. Hey, that’s Marketing for You!

    • Salvatore Jenkins Jr. author

      December 21, 2016

      That is exactly what marketing is and understanding the way it works is a tool for success. Thanks for the comment and I glad I could shed some light on the power of colors in logo design!

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