In 1979, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky proved their idea that “losses loom larger than corresponding gains,” propped up on the back of the prospect theory. What this means for designers and general marketing professionals is that highlighting how a product helps the user avoid a negative experience will be more impactful than showcasing how it helps them gain a new benefit. Instead of saying “Save $20 by signing up today,” you’d have better results if you wrote, “Avoid a $20 surcharge by signing up today.”
The best example lies in the landing page design that clinched the victory for 99designs creator smashing bug, “Never forget where you go” has a much more of the special leads powerful effect than “remember where you go”—the customer would rather avoid a negative experience (forgetting) than gain a positive one (remembering). Of all people, designers know that words aren’t the only way to communicate. But, just like with verbal communication, what You Say With Visuals Depends on How Well You Speak. what you say with visuals depends on how well you speak the language.
A good designer knows the deeper meaning behind visual elements like color, shapes, placement, etc. Rounding out a corner or shifting a piece a millimeter to the left can potentially change the entire meaning of the image. The meaning of such visual elements is deeply rooted in psychology. For example, again going back to our evolution, the color red is often associated with blood, lending it further associations with emergency, warning, and alertness. Whether or not you’ve studied the “hidden” meaning of visuals, your human instincts should subconsciously pick up on what images communicate, even if your waking mind is oblivious.