Just Do It.

Nike. Just Do It. Nike.com

Just Do It. Just do what? Do It. Okay now you are confusing me. Really? Nike? Doesn’t ring a bell?

‘A’ Brand

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.

Three Things

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.04.03 PM

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.45.19 PM

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.


Look. Believe..Understand…

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.


13 thoughts on “Just Do It.

  1. Nike is really an awesome website because of the large variety of products they offer as well as the design of the page. It appears very clean and organized, making it very user-friendly. I really liked what you said about looking, understanding, and believing. I feel that this is incredibly important for all brands because, even if you have a killer design on your website, it means nothing if it isn’t aligned with the brand and what it is about. This reminds me of Underwood’s comment on how having both great design and great ideas are needed to make a connection with the audience.

    1. I agree, Nike does a great job with their graphic design. In a way, it is their brand. The black and white elements provides a large amount of contrast making it very appealing. I didn’t see a lot of white space on their websites; however, the large pictures that touch edge to edge makes us want to keep scrolling.

  2. I really agree with you on the Logos aspect of Nike’s graphic design techniques, they are able to use real well known, attractive athletes to represent their brand and just the appearance of a pro athlete wearing something Nike can be enough to trigger a purchase for a lot of customers. With pictures like the one above, they can “target” and attract a very wide base of customers, and from there Nike doesn’t need a lot of words to sell their products.

  3. I like how Nike establishes Ethos by advertising their products with some of the most famous athletes in the world. I think they also do a good job with Pathos. When I see their designs that go with their products, it makes me think about what I want to acheive as an individual. It is like thier entire website is designed to get you to buy a product or two and “just do it”

  4. The target and flow is simple, yet interesting. That’s a very effective way to draw someone’s attention to something and place emphasis on the key element of a picture.

  5. I love the enthusiasm you have for Nike. I love how they market and some times they don’t even have Nike written anywhere because people just know what the swoosh is! I worked at Adidas last summer and absolutely love their products. I mean have you tried any of their boost products? They’re amazingly comfortable if you ever feel like branching out. Anyway, Nike is very good at simple, but making a statement. I agree that they are great at drawing the customer in, and their website does flow well.

  6. Nike is such an amazing company! I use their site all the time when shopping for running shoes and gear. I love the way the site looks, and the pictures are so intriguing. Just looking at the pictures on the site motivates me to become a better athlete, and what way to become a better athlete than to buy Nike gear? I agree that Nike did an awesome job at the graphic design element. Everything always looks so clean and organized, and it’s easy to navigate to the specific gear you are looking for.

  7. I used to be obsessed with everything running because I did cross country and track. The huge flagship Nike store on 5th avenue in Manhattan is insane. They have everything you could possibly want on their 4 floor store. It’s insane! I recommend anyone who has not been there or if you are visiting New York City and are in need of some work out clothes/ sports clothes.

    1. When I am in NYC, I’ll be sure to check it out!

      I also ran into a really cool one in Seattle.

      Don’t know if its the best running shoe out there – but I do know its the most stylish.

  8. Nike is awesome and the site is great, one reason I love it so much is because it feels like I am actually in the store. It is just so easy to look at and I never feel like there is too much info, or too many items, on the page.

    1. I like the way you put it. When I think about, it does almost feel like I am in the actual store – which adds a whole other element.

  9. NIKE absolutely has one off the best sites that is out there. In terms of graphic design, there is never a time where I open up their homepage and don’t think that everything they are showing is amazing, even if its women’s. They truly have a great site and that is why they are still the top when it comes to athletics.

  10. I think that I have 100 items in my cart on Nike’s website because I go on there all the time when I am bored. As a user, the colors, designs, everything draws you in. All you want to do is buy the entire website

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