It’s important that an IFA’s website design achieves a sense of balance in your users’ minds. This is no less true when it comes to financial logos.
Being attentive to the logistics of motion, shape, colours and size can pay huge dividends in the form of brand credibility, trust and authority in your audiences’ eyes. Stronger client relationships, more transactions, and expanded business opportunities are all facilitated by doing so.
In light of this, it’s important that IFAs, wealth managers and financial planners understand the role of white space when embarking upon a web/logo design project.
Should financial logos look “busy”, for instance, or should they look really simple? Should your financial website take the same approach? What effect does your approach have upon your viewers/audience?
Here are 8 insights about white space which will help you determine the course you want to take for your next website or branding project:
#1 Interpretation & Perception in Financial Logos
It might seem strange to start talking about human brains. However, understanding how our brains work – and affect our perception of objects, people and brands – will help you get the most out of your project.
Essentially, there is a concept in psychology called the “Gestalt” concept, which claims that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. This refers to the spontaneous and intuitive process our brains use to determine the characteristics of an image. In short, it means that people usually perceive and interpret images in their most simple form.
What does this mean for financial logos? It means that your financial logo needs to account for this psychological trait in its design. Are you going to accommodate this human instinct, or strategically subvert it for effect?
#2 The Law Of Proximity
When designing financial logos and websites, one of the key considerations to factor into the process is knowing the human tendency to follow the Law of Proximity. That is, people tend to assume that objects belong together if they are grouped together.
This mean that “white space” is hugely important in the design of financial logos, as it helps define boundaries between different groups of elements/objects which our brains tend to associate based on colour, shape, size contrast, motion and contour.
#3 Aesthetic Balance
Balance in financial website and logo design is one of the principle rules which can make, or break, your project. This essentially refers to setting up an effective arrangement and use of negative space.
Consider an analogy for a moment, with me. Suppose you’re perusing the Tesco isles at peak hour. You’re having trouble maneuvering your trolley through the crowds, and all kinds of commotion, clutter and activity surrounds you. It might all be interesting, but it is ultimately distracting when you have specific intention.
The implication for website design and financial logos? Too much content is a distraction and overwhelms the user. Negative space therefore needs to be strategically used by your designer to prevent this. On the other hand, too little content can result in missing elements or create a misplaced sense of finality.
#4 Brain Capacity
The use of white space in financial logos and branding, ultimately, exists due to the limits of our human memory and attention.
In 1956, scientist George Miller found that our short term memories can basically remember 3-6 items before we start to forget the information we received. This often resulting in “chunking”, where we clump separate items together in an attempt to try and remember them (recall the “Gesalt” concept above – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?).
Bear in mind that having too many elements in your financial logo will cause the viewer to forget important parts of it, and probably remember it incorrectly.
#5 Attracting Attention
According to Princeton psychologists Alexander Todorov and Janine Willis, it takes under 1/10th of a second to form an impression, and a few seconds to convey your message.
Financial logos therefore need to ensure that they are completely specific, using white space to convey the design elements our brains want to interpret.
What does this mean, in practice? Imagine you’re the owner of an art gallery. You have a piece of art you want to draw attention to on the wall. Do you therefore put it in a frame, or do you ensure that nothing else is on the wall around it?
There are different approaches a designer might take when designing financial logos. The important thing is that you use hierarchy to establish and contrast the relationships of different elements in your website and/or logo design.
This is a short point, really. However, it’s an important one.
Since each detail of white space holds importance, everything you add or subtract from your design can have a dramatic effect upon your audience. IFAs, wealth manager and financial planners therefore need to approach their designs with a sense of conviction.
Just because you see some empty space, it doesn’t mean it has to be filled. Just because there is the space for just “one more innovation”, doesn’t mean you have to put something there.
#7 The “KINGliness” Of Content
Another fairly simple but crucial point to raise. It is imperative that your brand has a clearly defined statement. What is your main message to your target audience?
In essence, a message which is too complicated or saying too much will lose effectiveness very quickly. Financial logos and the supporting content of the financial website both need to fit together, and communicate the same, memorable and simple message.
This is one of the hardest skills to develop when you’re a designer of financial logos. Knowing where to stop, and when it’s just “right”. If an IFA or financial partner in the process can also intuit and interpret this stage of the design process, then you’re in for a happier project.
The painful part at this stage is going through the logo design in order to assess, adapt and remove anything which does not relate to or support the main message. For instance, it might well be that a much-loved part of the logo design is actually overly-distracting, and therefore something that needs getting rid of.
Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at CreativeAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing and web design for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. We also provide bespoke branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.