5 Reasons Y Ambiguity in Design Works to Your Advantage

When it comes to designing logos or graphics, there is a fine line between creating something visually appealing, and spoon-feeding your audience.

That’s why we want to talk about ambiguity in design today.


Here are 5 reasons to consider ambiguity in design:


  1. Initiate Thought

When something is too simple we’re not engaged. Trust your audience to follow you where you go. Don’t underestimate your audience’s ability to think.

By leaving a window open in your design, you initiate thought. The initiation of thought is a part of what makes your image appealing.


  1. Remember Your Art Lessons

Why do people love art so much? Because it’s beautiful? Surely there must be more to it than that. Even a realistic painting of a chair begs for interpretation.  Nothing is ever spell out for us – there is always a trail of bread crumbs to follow. Think Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.


  1. Find the Balance

As the stats of marketing tell us, most people don’t have a particularly long attention span these days. That said if something is too simplistic we lose interest quick as well.

How do you deal with walking this fine line? Balance. As we mentioned above, leave a trail of bread crumbs, create a puzzle for your customer to solve.


  1. Be Just Familiar Enough

We don’t want certainty. Maybe we often wish we knew everything, but life would certainly be boring if we did. When it comes to graphics, consider striving for a design that inspires relative certainty.

We can do this by using shapes or concepts that are just familiar enough. Your ideas should be clear, but also lead your audience somewhere they didn’t expect.

For instance, if you consider the “I [Heart] NY” logo, you’ll find there’s more there than meets the eye. There are three concepts the brain has to go through:

  1. Determining the “I” is a word, not an initial.
  2. Understanding the image of a heart is a representation of both love and experience.
  3. “NY” are initials for a place.

The effectiveness of this logo is hugely due to the “relative certainly” it inspires.


  1. Change It Up

You may be thinking, well that logo was created in the ‘70s. Using such a simplistic idea wouldn’t, couldn’t, be as effective now as it was then.

Well, sure it could be. Those three words have been around far longer than the past 40 years.

When we say “change it up” we don’t mean to tell you to invent a machine that turns lettuce into chocolate. We mean take a familiar concept and revitalize it.

While this tactic may not work every single time, it is worth remembering that we have a rich history of functioning materials to draw inspiration from.

From there, you can take a wrecking ball to it and rebuild it with your own interpretation: Just remember to leave a window open.


Need help with logo design? Call Y5 today at 778-379-2177 to find out how we can help you with TeamPlay!

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