April 21st, 2009

Not just a pretty face…

by Kim Lannou

Unlike what some viewers believe, creating a design (ad, website, print pieces…etc.) isn’t just plopping a pretty picture on a page, throwing in some creative text, neatly tying a bow to complete the presentation and happily yelling, “Voila!” There are actually many steps and strategic thoughts that go into the creation and development of the perfect, eye catching, and memorable design.

Besides content, font, and image usage, and design layout are among the first thing the average viewer makes note of when studying a design. Grasping the viewer’s attention appropriately is so vital to the advertising world that currently numerous eye-tracking and scanning studies have been completed. Even Google uses eye-tracking technology to gather valuable information to better help with layout and ad image placements.

Recently, I came across a great article displaying search results completed by specialists Bunnyfoot and Think Eyetracking. These studies provided concrete evidence on how layout and chosen images affect the customer’s focus on the design. These studies deal with selected lifestyle images and where they are positioned. It is clear from these studies that image placement and the image selected does in fact influence your viewer’s eye placement. See for yourself. Where do you focus with the below ads?

model1
As you can see from the below results, the model’s eyes influence your eye focus. The images selected here make a big difference—one image selected makes the viewer focus more on the product. Another you end up focusing more on the model, losing site of the product and purpose of the advertisement.

model1b

Try again! Where do you focus with this baby ad?

babyad

As you can see, image selection is huge! Selecting an image where the subject faces the content is most ideal. Your eyes tend to follow where the subject is looking.

Test it yourself! Next time you look at an ad, take note of the precise image selected and font placement. Take a few moments to perform your own eye-tracking scan and remember, the models used aren’t just a pretty face!