Using Label design to Prime the Brain

Bring science into your label design

Last year our research revealed how labels can have a powerful impact on how a product or item is perceived and received.In this article, we’re delving a little deeper into just how you can use science to make sure your labels sell your products or service.

Approximately 11 million sensory neurons are firing around the brain every second, but only 40 of these travel through conscious pathways? We have very limited brain space – not to mention motivation, energy and time – to put careful, conscious thought into all our decisions. Put simply, most human decision-making is automatic, emotional and irrational.

priming the brain
priming the brain

How does the brain work?

Whilst we do have limited attention spans, certain things that the brain deems to be important do get through quickly and forcefully. Your own name or aspects of danger, for example, can push their way right to the front of your awareness, even in loud and hectic surroundings.

The non-conscious, emotional part of the brain is more automatic and influential than the conscious, rational part. We tend to buy with our hearts and then justify our decision with our heads. To help us make decisions, we rely on rules of thumb or shortcuts known as heuristics. For example, when a shelf is untidy and stock is low, we can assume that the product is popular and therefore worth trying.

priming the brain

Priming the brain

Did you know that humans are hardwired to notice faces? Our eye-tracking experiments revealed that people were 14% more likely than average to look at an item featuring an emoji and 18% more likely to look at a label first if it featured a face. Emotional images like hearts and words like ‘lovely’ also draw the primal gaze and even help people look at your label for longer.

Consumers will take their cues about how to perceive and respond to an item like a parcel from the labels it has. Before they even open it up a label will prime their expectation and level of excitement. A label suggesting high quality can lead to increased product consideration and perception, but it works both ways - a cheap design can suggest a cheap product.   

When you next design your labels, think about ways you can prime the brains of your customers to recognise and appreciate labels quicker. You can design labels using our free software, Design & Print along with the advice from our branding study by following the hashtag #LabelStories or visiting our label stories website.

Every Label Tells A Story

See how our scientific research will help you get the best results from your label design using our free template software.

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Read the results

We’ve created a report for small businesses with the key research findings that will help you sell more products and increase brand loyalty.
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Watch our videos

See for yourself how easy it is to create product and shipping labels that will impress your customers in our 60 second videos.