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We already know that visual marketing have to be on top of every marketers game now. But do you already know how to apply some golden psychology rules upon your visual marketing strategies? We will provide 5 visual psychology tips to strengthen your visual content!

Let’s Start With Some Facts

We first explain you why visual marketing is so important for your marketing strategy in a quick summary:

So now that we discussed the facts let’s dive deeper into this subject and discover WHAT we have to do to apply psychology into our visual marketing strategies

1. Color Psychology

You probably heard from it and we want to outline it again. Colors influence our emotions and affect our actions. It definitely helps to influence the message that you are spreading. Did you notice for example that Donald Trump often wears a red tie. You know why? Red stands for strength, power and determination and it also stimulates people to make quick decisions. We don’t say that that is the reason why he won the elections but we are sure that Trump used it to influence his audience.

Although it is an old article Hubspot once tested that a red button outperformed the green button by 21% in their A/B test. This makes a lot clear about how color can be used to influence people in their buying behavior.

The way we use combined colors also affect our brains in a way that complementary color combinations make things stand out for example. Complementary colors are colors that are opposites in the color wheel:

“When the human eye sees a painting or visual content full of different kinds of greens, any bit of red is going to stand out amazingly well. Why? Because red is the opposite color of green.”

Now that we know that color certainly plays a huge part in your visual communication you should know what emotion and what association which color brings to your target audience.


The color emotion takes you through a variety of colors and helps you better understand which colors trigger which emotion. To learn more about the psychology of color this and this article can help you further.

2. Repetition

Did you notice that a lot of brands use the power of repetition in their visual communication and their ads? A lot of brands advertise to keep their brand on top of mind of the consumers and to build up brand familiarity. One theory created by psychology professor Daniel Berlyne (1970) was called the two-factor-theory or wear-in/wear-out theory. The first phase, the wear-in phase, is obviously repeating the ad numerous times to let the consumer get familiar with the brand. In this phase the consumer gets familiar with the brand and you can create a lot of awareness and consideration to purchase by repeating the message. In the second phase, the wear-out phase, the consumer gets familiar to the brand and get a bit tired of all the advertisement. This can even lead to consumers who get tired of your brand. This is important to know

Visual wise we know that the brain is stimulated and reminds things better when visuals are repeated more often. This is why Apple uses a lot of repetition in their visuals when they advertise. Also color plays a huge part in it.
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Also the use of retargeting is a way repetition stimulates purchase. Retargeted ads can generate up to 10 times better click-through-rates compared to traditional display ads. If they do visit the site, retargeted visitors have as much as 70% better chances of completing a conversion.

Repetition can play a huge part in strengthening your visual content and your ads. It is the way to getting more attention and in the end more purchases. Elements like repetitive colors, shapes, texture and objects can already help to attract a consumer and seduce him or her to a purchase.

3. Rule Of Thirds

This guideline is probably the most familiar one. You mentally divide the shot into nine rectangular areas by visualizing two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. The result will give you three horizontal and vertical layers of the same size, with four points where the lines intersect. You then place the elements of the shot according to this grid. There are several possibilities:

  1. Place elements, especially important subjects, at one or two of the intersection points, what some call the “power points.” (the white bullets in the picture right)
  2. Place elements along the vertical or horizontal lines. For example, put the horizon on the bottom line to emphasize the sky, or on the top line to emphasize the landscape.
  3. Place elements within the horizontal and/or vertical layers.
  4. Combine these strategies in interesting ways.

Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.

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4. Association

People always look at each other and compare ourselves to other ones. This is also happening when people are watching ads. When we see people having a good time in combination with a certain product we automatically associate their desireable state with the product or service they are using. This is an old fashioned way to stimulate the brain of your target audience. If you can’t afford a Messi in your campaign than always use actors that are capable of visual selling the brand product or service.


5. Non Verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication and body language can play a huge part in your visual advertisement and the way your target audience believe what you are telling as a brand. Make sure that the people that you use in your visual advertisement display their power poses and confidence. It is also common to use “genital framing” to express or to strengthen a certain message. For example you can use a strong man to display the strength of the product. If you want to be more attractive then you can tilt your head. This is probably why every selfie is taken with a tilted head these times. More about body language and non verbal facts you can read here.



In summary you can optimize your visual content to use colors that speak for their selves and help you to trigger the right emotion. If these colors are used in combination with objects or people that you use repetitive and are outlined according to the rule of thirds you are already heading in the right direction. Contracting someone who is already a super star or displays the right nonverbal body language would finish this great peace of visual asset.

Mathias Aaftink

Author Mathias Aaftink

Geïntrigeerd door klantgedrag, performance marketing en klantervaring en de manier waarop organisaties daarop inspelen. Met mijn ervaring voel ik me thuis in de wereld van (digitale) marketing en branding. Ik ga nieuwe uitdagingen met veel plezier aan en voel meteen een groot verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel om er een succes van te maken. Projecten waarbij ik mijn ondernemende vaardigheden en mindset kan inzetten geven mij veel energie en dit is waar ik voor u van toegevoegde waarde kan zijn.

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