Lesley Vos
July 12, 2022

What Marketers Should Know About the Psychology of Visual Content

Visual Content Psychology

Do you know that videos, images, and infographics are among the top five content formats marketers leverage in their strategies this year?

Okay, another question:

Do you know the reason behind visual content’s popularity?

We, people, are incredible at remembering pictures: Content with illustrations does 323% better; if you add an image to the information, the user will remember it by 65%, compared to the 10% of info staying with us if we read a text without visual support. That’s how a human brain works.

To get the most out of your content strategy, you might want to understand this how – and design your visuals accordingly. Keep on reading to learn how to influence user engagement and sales with the psychology of visual content.

But first, the basics (Click here if you want to skip them):

Why Visual Content Is So Powerful

A human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and that’s why 93% of all communication is nonverbal. We respond better to visuals because 70% of sensory receptors are in our eyes.

It’s nothing but psychology: Most people are visual learners by nature, and that’s why visual content attracts attention, enhances emotions, drives engagement, and, after all, affects our attitude concerning what we see.



For marketers, this phenomenon becomes a powerful weapon to activate the AIDA model – awareness, interest, desire, and action – and build brand loyalty and trust step by step.

Below you’ll find a few practical tips on how to do that.

How to Use Visual Content Psychology in Marketing

When you choose or craft custom images for your marketing campaign, it’s critical to consider relevancy and appeal to the human eye. To apply the psychology of visual content to your pictures, try this:

1) Consider Math Patterns

Particular math patterns like the Fibonacci Sequence or Golden Ratio look appealing to the human eye because of the biophilia effect: Their beauty in proportion helps us reduce stress and increase focus and concentration.

Our brain scans and interprets such patterns faster, recognizing them as perfect and, thus, awakening positive psychological responses. Let’s take a closer look:

Fibonacci Sequence

Ross Johnson from 3.7 Designs calls it “one of the most influential patterns in both mathematics as well as design.”

That’s how it works:

The Fibonacci Sequence is the series of numbers where each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. Here it goes:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…

And when you divide a number from this sequence by its forerunner, you will get the Golden Rectangle, a shape present in nature, arts, and architecture. This number is 1.618. Once this equation is reached – at 89 – it never varies:



So, if you want to engage the audience with your image and make it look beautiful to them, try implementing the Fibonacci Sequence into its design. Like this:



Rule of Thirds

It’s what photographers use to craft better compositions and make their images visually pleasing:

You divide an image into thirds (horizontally and vertically) to get nine grids and place the points of interest where the lines cross. These intersections are where the human eye focuses while scanning because it’s more comfortable to view:



Golden Ratio

This pattern is a mathematical constant where the ratio of a smaller segment to a larger segment equals the ratio of a larger segment to the sum of both segments. As well as the Golden Rectangle, it equals 1.618:

a/b = a+b/a = 1.618

How to apply it to your visual content?

  • Check if it’s perfect. Divide your image’s width by height. If you get 1.618 or 0.618, it’s perfect to use.

Example: You have a picture of 647×400 pixels. 647/400 = 1.617; 400/647 = 0.616. Voila! Use it.

  • Make it perfect. Multiply your image’s height to 1.618 – and you’ll get the width to apply.

Example: Your picture’s height is 560. 560 x 1.618 = 906. Viola! You’ve got the perfect width for this image.

2) Remember About Color Psychology

You’ve heard about color psychology, haven’t you?

Yes, it’s the theory suggesting that colors influence our emotions, behavior, and decision-making. Given such power, it’s critical for marketers to understand the meaning behind each color and consider it in content design.

What about a few case studies?

  • Wishpond noticed a 14.5% conversion increase when they changed their CTA button from green to yellow.
  • HubSpot noticed that red buttons outperform green by 21%.
  • Dom Carter’s experiment on changing the colors of famous logos demonstrated the massive impact of colors on brand perception.


Impressive, huh?

Here’s what you can do to apply color psychology to your visual content:

First, set the color palette that represents your brand and product vision. Decide on associations and emotions you want to elicit from the audience, but ensure they are about your brand personality too:



Then, do your best to stay consistent with colors, fonts, and filters when designing visuals for your marketing content on different channels: your landing page, social media accounts, ads, etc. It will help the target audience recognize your brand content and consider it familiar.

For those of you who need numbers:

  • Consistent colors give an 80% increase in brand recognition.
  • 84% of customers say color is a primary factor in buying a product.
  • 81% think color gives brands an edge.

For our lazy brain, familiar content means “easier to digest.” So, it will respond to such consistent design faster and positively.

3) Give Powers to Your Text Visualization

Your text content is not only about copywriting techniques and linking words to hook the audience. Its visualization also matters for the impression, perception, and performance your marketing message will have.

Speaking of text visualization, we mean the font type, size, and shapes you use to design logos and mottos.

What do they all have to do with psychology?

Font psychology:

We use five main font categories online: Serif, Sans-serif, Script, Modern, and Display. Each serves as an emotional cue, affects the mind, and evokes particular associations:

  • Serif is traditional and authoritative.
  • Sans-serif is modern and stable.
  • Script is elegant, feminine, and friendly.
  • Modern is intelligent and fashionable.
  • Display is amusing and expressive.

Which one would you choose to represent your brand?



Tip: Don’t use too many fonts to design a marketing message. Two or three are maximum; otherwise, you’ll distract the audience, and they’ll see nothing but a mess. (Our brain perceives three best.)

Size psychology:

Experts insist that 16px is the ideal font size for your text, but the best option would be to maintain the right balance between the line height and length for better readability.

Also, try to avoid using more than three different font sizes on one page: One for titles, one for subheads, and one for text body work best.

Shape psychology:

Our subconsciousness responds to shapes differently, and that’s why your logo design matters. With a focus on circles, curves, lines, or edges, you infer particular qualities and imply required meanings to communicate your message to the audience.

While circles are about love and unity, triangles or squares will communicate power and stability. Be careful with vertical lines because they “scream” about aggression; try horizontal ones instead: they suggest calm and friendship.

Here go the common meanings of different shapes:

  • Squares: discipline, courage, security
  • Triangles: risk, balance, excitement
  • Circles: universe, eternity, magic
  • Spirals: creativity, growth, intelligence



Shape psychology is not only about logo design. Other visual elements of your online presence are also worth tailoring to its principles where applicable.

Wrapping Up

The power of visual content is out of the question today: Marketers understand that it resonates with people and impacts brand awareness. By understanding the psychology of visual content – how its colors, fonts, shapes, and overall composition influence the human brain and perception – marketers can also impact user engagement, evoke desired emotions, and motivate the audience to act.

And now, over to you:

Do you think of psychological perception when deciding on visuals to apply to your marketing campaign? What visual content does perform best for you?

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Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos is a seasoned web writer from Chicago. Specializing in data research, text building, and content promotion, she contributes to publications on business, digital marketing, and self-growth.

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