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Designing with Human Instinct

Paul Tissington Posted by
Designing with Human Instinct

Although the practice of web design is relatively new, certain design principles that are hundreds of years old can easily be transferrable. Here are some handy design ideas that appeal to some of our most basic human instincts:

Anthropomorphic Form

The tendency to find forms that appear humanoid or that have human characteristics appealing. For example that's why Coca Cola bottles are shaped like a woman or why we are drawn to imagery with other people in.

Baby face bias

Humans tend to find 'baby face' features more appealing and that's why many cartoon characters are designed to have baby-like features such as round heads and large eyes. However they shouldn't be used in situations where a serious or professional tone is needed.

Red effect

The tendency to perceive women in red as more attractive and men wearing red as more dominant. The predominance of red in sports team uniforms could be attributed to this.


Symmetry has long been associated with beauty. It can also convey balance, harmony and stability.

Threat detection

The ability to detect threatening stimuli is quicker than non threatening stimuli. For example, humans can naturally detect threats such as snakes and spiders. Consider this when designing warnings and markers, especially ones meant to keep people away from things!

So in design as much as we may like to believe that we have evolved over all these years, there are still many ideas that can be utilised that are lodged deep into our natural human instincts.

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