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Dare to stand out

Our brain by nature filters out a lot of stuff it thinks we don't need to know. It does this to keep us safe - we are actually wired that way to survive.

Back in the early days of our evolution, we had to make some quick decisions to avoid predators. Our brain used the laws of contrast to quickly detect where our best interests lie - safety from danger, warm from cold, light from dark.

A page from michel-eugène chevreul's "principles of color harmony and contrast"

It seems global economics works against some of this old survival wiring. It's been shown that people gravitate away from faceless global corporations and towards things of a local and human scale. Tribal by nature, we need to feel a sense of belonging, to know our turf, what we believe in and who's on our team.

Brands create tribes and encourage loyalty to them. Being a designer, I've been part of the Apple Mac tribe for many years. Well before the launch of the iPhone - when it was only us folks in the creative industries that had Macs (I'm showing my age).

Their products are design led, well built and a joy to use. I guess that makes me part of a tribe that values and recognises design, puts aesthetics and quality of experience before price. I confess, I wince at the thought of staring at a black, plastic PC everyday with ugly icons (No offence PC fans).

Brands use the laws of contrast to differentiate themselves and attract us. The more niche a tribe your business belongs to - the easier it is to stand out, be different, and therefore be seen.

Once attracted, we need to see and feel something that makes us want to belong to the tribe, or have it resonate with us to such an extent, we feel like we kind of already do belong, and we've just come home.


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