The Unspoken Language of Design

What the language of design is telling your customers about you

Are you drawn to certain colors? Do some fonts make you wrinkle your nose? If so, you are responding to the unspoken language of design. Your design choices speak volumes to your customers. Here’s how:


Color may evoke the strongest emotional response in people. We know a woman who loathes pink (I know; she says she’s missing that particular girl gene). For other people, orange is offensive or blue is boring. What are your favorite colors? Which ones do you avoid?

Numerous studies show emotional connections to color. Some of the more common color associations, according to psychology, include:

  • Red: Strength, passion, action
  • Pink: Feminine, innocent, romantic (our friend is rolling her eyes about now)
  • Orange: Light-hearted, fun, energetic
  • Yellow: Cheerful, bright, sunshine, warmth
  • Green: Fresh, nature, tranquil
  • Blue: Serene, established, dignified
  • Purple: Mystery, loyalty, success, power
  • Grey: Stable, calm, authority
  • Black: Formal, classic, mystery
  • Brown: Simple, natural, deep

So, the colors you choose for your logo, signage, website and marketing materials can make a strong first impression before potential customers read a word. You want your colors to represent your brand well and to convey the right message.


While color may give the strongest first impression, a customer’s emotional response doesn’t stop there. Raise your hand if you hate Comic Sans. That font is notorious in business circles for giving documents a juvenile flair that is less than professional or appealing. So, how do you choose the right font for you? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Go with your gut. You know Comic Sans looks like a child drew it, so don’t use it for a polished, professional piece. Just step away.
  • Choose something a little different. Times New Roman is best left on your father’s resume. Choose a font that hasn’t been too overused.
  • Mix, but with care. Yes, you should use two fonts. It’s pleasing to the eye. However, there are rules. For a start, mix serif fonts with sans serif and then make sure the two fonts pair well together. A good graphic designer can really help you with these choices.
  • Make sure it’s easy to read. Flowery script fonts or too-bold bubble fonts can both be difficult to read. You don’t want your audience distracted by the font; keep it user-friendly.

As with color, different fonts convey different messages. Choose fonts that fit your brand and says what you want it to say.

Design elements

After color and font, there are design elements that really send your message home. In logos, for example, there are a wide variety of artistic approaches than can tell your brand story. Take a look at the FedEx logo, for example.

FedEx Logo


It uses negative space to add an extra, implied message. See the arrow between the E and x? That symbol implied movement and speed – an obvious benefit in a package delivery service. Other brands opt for hand-drawn or vintage elements to communicate longevity or a home-grown, down-to-earth approach to customer service. Still others choose a more minimalistic style to represent efficiency and modernism in their business.


If it’s been awhile since you updated your logo, website or marketing materials, we challenge you to review them – alone or with your team. Ask yourselves these questions:

  • What do we want our brand to convey? (Come up with a list of 5-10 characteristics you want to be known for)
  • Do our colors evoke the emotional response we want?
  • Have we chosen the right fonts for our desired brand image?
  • Does anything feel “off” in our design? (Does it mesh with how you view your business?)
  • What’s missing?

A good graphic design team can help you with this exercise. They will work with you to develop branding and design elements that speak your language – and your customers’ language.

If you would like to learn more about how rebranding can help you tell your business story and reach more customers, contact us. We specialize in design and branding for the multifamily industry.

Posted By

Sara Bess