Design Elements That Influence Buyer Psychology


Every business owner dreams of creating the perfect space for its clientele, whether it’s an attention-grabbing storefront or a tranquil office space. But it can be difficult to focus on design elements once you get swept up in the daily grind of operations, customer interactions, and processes.

It’s no secret that interior and outdoor designs can affect our moods and productivity. In fact, this connection has led Dr. Susan Lee Painter to develop a whole new field of study, known as “design psychology,” out of her research at UCLA. Take a look at these four ways our brains pull cues from environmental designs and influence our decisions.

1. Minimal noise

Visual noise can occur when your employees get sloppy with store fixtures or office equipment. Clutter can induce anxiety and panic, which might compel prospective customers to retreat out the door.

This is the last reaction you want to induce in potential customers. Train your staff to maintain visual standards around the workplace, even if it’s not customer-facing. Clean surfaces can reduce distractions and set people at ease.

If you’re struggling to maintain organization within retail spaces, create a visuals guide. Before you open the store in the morning, refer to a checklist and make sure everything is in the proper place.

Use cleaning supplies to rid your shelves of dust, wipe down metallic fixtures, and mop the floor. Before closing, remove trash and put away misplaced items.

This same philosophy can be extended to office spaces, even if you’re not expecting clients. Clutter and visual noise in back-of-house areas can still affect employees. Work with your leadership team to designate cleaning times or rotate the housekeeping duties among team members.

2. Textures

As you build your ideal retail or office environment, think about how textures fit with your company image. Is your logo sleek and modern, or rounded and lacking jagged corners? Then your furnishings should reflect the same design philosophy, employing smooth materials such as glass and metal to convey a brand image within your environment.

People should be able to glance at a characteristic workspace and recognize your company, without even seeing your sign and logo.

Textures give people a tactile connection to their shopping experience. For example, you might have rich wooden tables to display your merchandise in a store.

Customers will come to appreciate these textures in association with your product. Examine your current furnishings and pick out the appealing textures. Search for and remove problematic design elements, such as rough or uncomfortable seating and table surfaces.

3. Colorful environments

One of cornerstones of design psychology is how color influences our states of mind. Graphic designers are acutely aware of how color interplays with our emotions and compulsions.

A study released by Emerald Group Publishing revealed that 90% of impulsive product decisions involved color. This concept can play a role in just about everything, including your logo, products, and environment design. If you’re unsure about the psychological impacts of your company’s color palette, then run consumer trials to see which products (and colors) people gravitate toward.

4. Landscaping

What does a customer experience as he or she approaches your office or retail space? People tend to respond positively to natural environments, so get out your gardening shears.

Many restaurants have picked up on this design cue: they’ve filled outdoor patios with potted plants, grassy plots, and other natural elements. Think about how you can craft inviting exteriors that will set customers at ease.

Building the perfect storefront or office requires some major time and financial investments. It’s best not to jump into this endeavor empty-handed. You’ll want to work with marketing experts, landscaping experts, and designers to create the best atmosphere for your customers and employees.


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