Just Do It. Just do what? Do It. Okay now you are confusing me. Really? Nike? Doesn’t ring a bell?
Nike is what you would call ‘a’ brand. ‘The’ brand, if you ask me. From my shoes, clothes, even my wallet, the simple logo pictured to the left is what you see.
This logo (properly known as “The Swoosh”) along with the slogan, Just Do It., has helped propel the brand into global recognition. Just watch the Olympics this year and count how many uniforms have that check mark-shaped thing on the front them. I will check back in August to get the count.
But why? Why do I constantly go and buy this brand? Part of it is because it makes me look cool (I like to look cool). But the other part is because Nike does a great job with visual rhetoric.
You lost me…”visual rhetoric”
It is the reason why I keep going back to their website to buy. Well not always to buy, I go to just look as well, but I think you get the point. Visual rhetoric is the ways graphic design affects audiences. Nike does a great job with this. Here, we will take a look at how well Nike does of this by looking at the graphic design elements of their website.
In graphic design you wish to get people to do three things. One is to Look. Two is to Believe. Three is to Understand. If you can get people to do those three things it allows for a more effective and a more compelling brand. So how does Nike do it?
Getting people to look…
Or Pathos – the composition and layout of the website. This is the aesthetically appealing aspect of the site that causes people to keep coming back. This is the most important design element. If they don’t look what else matters.
I will use ideas expressed by Dave Underwood to show the effect on pathos.
Contrast. Nike.com does a great job with this on their site. The contrast of colors they use on their site works great to draw the viewer into what they are selling or want to sell.
In the picture above, taken from the site, we see many elements of contrast which makes one want to buy this shoe. We see contrast of scale, color, size, weight, figure and ground.
They are selling the shoe but they use Allyson Felix to make the viewer intrigued. So she is the figure dressed all in black to contrast with the ground that draws you to the shoe. If you can see (looking from top to bottom) the color goes from lighter to darker to signify where they want you to look.
White Space. Nike.com does a wonderful job with this graphic design element. The site is centered around the colors black and white as the skeleton. The white portion leads you to what you are actually supposed to view, which is effective. It does not leave the viewer feeling trapped, an important consideration when you don’t fill the screen with color.
Getting people to believe…
Or Ethos – establishing authority and trust, professionalism. I think this one, though not the most important, is very crucial.
I will use the image above to discuss some aspects of this element.
Type Matters. In the above image the typeface used matches what they are trying to sell which is shoes and athletic apparel. If they were to use a different typeface such as Webdings (very extreme example) nobody would take the product serious.
- Limit 2 per customer. Loved this idea Underwood shared. This is in relation to typeface as well. He says for graphic design using two different typefaces is all you are allowed. If you see in the above image that is exactly what is going on.
Getting people to understand…
Or Logos – design rational and right information.
We will use an image from the site as a case study to examine this element.
Take a look at the image to right. What do you see? I see an attractive women. Also known as the Target. She is used as bait to draw us to what they really want us to view which is the information to the right.
The information is on the right for a reason, it provides good Flow. If you look at the image, the women is looking towards the words. This prompts us to see what she is looking at. Naturally our eyes our able to transfer over to the words, as the image is structured in a clockwise direction.
Thus, Target and Flow is an important element in getting people to understand what you are selling.
That is goal in any graphic design project. Once you master that, you are well on your way to making an impact, just like Nike.