Design Features that Draw Attention

Digital Copywriting and Design

According to Treisman’s study on visual search, there are two ways which people scan for information in a picture.

  • Serial search: Conscious attention is needed to identify object
  • Parallel search: Object automatically “pops-out” at you regardless of whether you are paying attention

Why does one picture require a serial search while the other only needs a parallel search? The reason is that one contains a feature that enables the “pop-out” effect whereas the other does not. When creating visual content, there are four features we can use to ensure the more important information stand out.

1. Size Matters

We all know larger ads are bigger for a reason- they get more attention. Give the most attractive or important information the largest space in your visual.

Bad Jellyfish Poster: Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster's caption. Photo by: Lois Poh

Bad Jellyfish Poster- Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster’s caption.
Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster: Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance. Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster- Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance.
Photo by: Lois Poh

2. Shift Orientation

Our brains are inclined to pick out things that go against the ordinary direction of things. Consider creating a diagonal banner but ensure that it has minimal text on it; people do not want to tilt their heads to read a whole paragraph.

People notice central information, and people notice deviant information

Created by: Lois Poh using Canva

3. Colour Contrasts

If it is not clear in the picture what the focus should be placed on, simply use Fotor Photo Effects and select the “colour splash” effect. The rest of the photo will turn to black and white except for the areas you decide to remain coloured.

A mostly black-and-white wedding shot with a coloured bouquet of flowers.

Screenshot from Fotor Photo Effects Website (22 October 2014)

4. Create Motion

Another way to attract attention is to create moving images. Do not fret if you do not have any animation-creating experience of sorts. You can simply make a photo montage by uploading your photos onto this gif maker site.

Little Man Gif

A Moving Gif Image of a Little Man
Created by: Lois Poh

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