Branding is associated with a type of emotion. The goal of each brand is to influence its audience in every way possible and facilitate them to associate the brand with a specific emotion. One aspect of branding that many overlook is graphic design.
Graphic design is more than just choosing a theme for your website or picking colors for you font. There are many visual rhetorics that can be employed to influence a brand’s audience. Such influence can eventually lead to the audience’s purchase or promotion of the brand.
One of my favorite website to shop is Adidas. Millennials are the known target audience for Adidas, my fascination with this brand and repeated returns to their website to shop compels me to give credit to the graphic design of their website.
The most obvious visual rhetorics that Adidas uses is white space. As Dave Underwood pointed out, scaling things down with white space can sometimes have a more powerful impact.
Another concept that Adidas incorporates is rhythm. There are several images on the homepage portray models wearing Adidas shoes on a magazine. Next to each magazine, the product is displayed on its own. This type of repetition emphasizes the trendiness of Adidas. Millennials tend to associate magazines with trends, this visual rhetoric successful sends the message that Adidas intends to share with millennials.
At the bottom of the page, Adidas once again uses rhythm to display a series of shoes. These products are presented in the exact same way, with a show of the rating, price, and name of the product. This use of rhythm reminds the audience of their desire to shop.
Underwood points out that tension is another useful visual rhetoric. Instead of aligning everything to the center, think of the rule of thirds and move elements away from the center. Tilting design elements is also a type of tension. These unusual dynamics give the audience a sense of change. Adidas incorporates this visual rhetoric by moving all images away from the center.
Cool palette is very important as different colors deliver different emotions. The color palette Adidas chooses to use are black, white and gray. Small hints of other colors can be spotted on the site, however, those colors are carefully spread out in order to maintain the overall color scheme. One may notice that most clothing brand websites try to use as many neutral colors as possible. The reason for this is because since the main focus of these websites is to display their products that already come in different colors, it is better to use neutral colors that take a step back and keep the focus on the products.
Storytelling is important. When an image tells a story, it speaks volume better than words. Adidas combines both on their website. Writing “The Game Will Take You Places” next to a young African American athlete looking into the distance, Adidas is implying that sports has made this young man successful. Since Adidas is a brand of athletic wear, the company is further hints at the audience that if they buy products from Adidas, their trendy styles will take them places.
The head images of Adidas are carousel style, meaning that you can click on the image to change it. The second head image is the city lights in motion. This creative again relates to the concept of “going places.”
Despite being one of the most popular brands, Adidas sustains its authenticity. The emotion that’s associated with Adidas has been established as sporty, trendy, and unique.
Next time when you shop an online website, pay attention to its graphic design and you too will find many interesting visual rhetorics that you never noticed before!