Have you ever found yourself drawn to certain products that leave a lasting impression, yet struggle to pinpoint the exact reason why?
Visual identity holds the key, with its core components: Colours, Materials, Form and Finishes - serving as the backbone of a physical product's distinctive appeal.
Are you struggling to develop a physical product that truly distinguishes itself in a crowded marketplace? The answer might lie in honing your focus on visual identity, transforming it into a unique selling point. People don't just buy products; they buy into the experience of transformation. The look and feel of a product can be your most significant differentiator. In a world where many products appear strikingly similar, breaking free from trends and establishing a distinctive brand style and personality can set you apart. A key to this lies in delving deep into the look and feel of your product.
The Significance of Colour
Colour is more than just aesthetics; it's a language that communicates emotions and purpose. Understanding colour theory can help you harness its power effectively. Here are some compelling reasons why colour matters in product design:
Emotional Connection: Colours evoke emotions. Using colour psychology, you can engineer the perception of a product to feel a specific way. By choosing the right colours, you can elicit specific emotional responses from your customers. Each use case will differ e.g. orange used in certain products will look expressive, exciting and bold but if it is used incorrectly it may draw too much attention where it's not needed.
Functional Signifiers: Colours can be used to identify functions or touchpoints in your product. For example, a red button may signify a stop or emergency function, while a green may indicate a start or safe zone. This simplifies user interaction and enhances usability.
Brand Cohesion: Consistency in colour across your product line, apps and other business design systems fosters a cohesive and recognisable brand identity. It reinforces your brand's personality and helps customers easily associate your products with your company.
Pantone and RAL colour reference guides have emerged as the dominant global standards for colour matching, serving as the go-to resources for designers and manufacturers worldwide.
The Importance of Materials
Materials play a pivotal role in product development. Beyond their functional attributes, materials contribute to the overall user experience. How a product feels to touch is an important consideration when building an identity and materials are all about that. Here's why materials matter:
Functionality: Different materials possess unique properties that can be tailored to specific use cases. For example, selecting materials with precise mechanical properties can lead to smoother and more satisfying functions, such as snap-fit components that emit a reassuring click.
Cost Optimisation: Choosing the right materials can result in cost savings. Opt for materials that balance functionality, aesthetics and cost-effectiveness without compromising quality. Products can use specific materials to increase perceived value so you can sell a product with larger profit margins.
Texture and Sensory Feedback: Materials influence the sensory feedback users perceive. They can create smooth or tactile sensations - enhancing the user's interaction with your product. Additionally, materials can be used to create matte, satin or gloss surfaces (with many variations in between), further influencing the product's appearance.
Sustainability: Consider the environmental, social and economic factors associated with your choice of materials. A famous saying comes to mind - “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”. Opting for sustainable materials aligns with modern consumer values and can enhance your product's appeal.
The Significance of Form
When it comes to product design, the form is a critical element that cannot be overlooked. It goes hand in hand with the function of the product while narrating a compelling story. The form often serves as the initial point of departure when crafting the aesthetics of a product. Here are some of the main reasons why the form of a product is crucial:
Function and Form Synergy: The form of a product should seamlessly align with its intended function. When form and function work in harmony, it results in an exceptional user experience.
Storytelling and User Intrigue: The shape and sculpture of a product can be a powerful medium for storytelling. It communicates the brand's identity, values and the problem the product aims to solve. Scale, proportion, geometry and silhouette can evoke emotions, create a lasting impression on the user and intrigue a viewer to interact with the product through an inviting appearance.
First Impression: A product’s form is often the first aspect of a product that a potential customer encounters. A captivating and unique form can immediately grab attention. Just like colours, materials and finishes, the form can set your product apart from the competition.
Ergonomics: All products should consider user ergonomics. It should be comfortable and intuitive to use, reducing user fatigue and improving overall satisfaction.
Cultural and Trend Relevance: A product’s form should also reflect cultural and trend considerations. Products that consider specific user groups or market cultural needs and current trends are more likely to be adopted.
The Impact of Finishes
Finishes can elevate your product's perceived value and add a layer of customisation. Here's why they matter:
Perceived Value: A well-chosen finishing process can significantly enhance the perceived value of your product. Whether it's a sleek matte surface or a high-gloss finish, it can make your product appear more premium.
Control Over Appearance: Finishes offer control over how a product's part will look. You can achieve a desired aesthetic that may not be achievable with the material alone, adding unique visual appeal.
Durability: Certain finishes can increase the durability of your product, protecting it from wear & tear and prolonging its lifespan.
Details: Although this doesn't necessarily have to be a finishing process, the addition of brand cohesive details can create a stronger connection between your product and your brand. Your brand identity e.g. logo, colours, typography and message style can be infused into the product to build consistency.
These elements can be combined to influence the feelings of the user towards the product.
In the world of physical products, the devil is in the details. By deeply considering your product's colour palette, form, materials and finishes, you can create a unique visual identity that sets your product apart from the competition. Remember, it's not just about making a product, it's about crafting an unforgettable experience. Embrace the power of visual identity and watch your product thrive.