Design association levels

Design association levels

Design is a way to simplify, visually display the message of the site owner for its visitors. In order to convey information and mood, different metaphors are used.
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Michael CEO&Founder


Printed 2021-09-20

Design is a way to simplify, visually display the message of the site owner for its visitors. Design has both the task of conveying information and the task of creating the right mood. 

In order to convey information and mood, different metaphors are used. What I mean: for example, if creates a website design for the sale of auto parts, then the design is created with elements of style that are relevant to this industry - to auto parts . And if the site sells feed for aquarium fish - there will be hints of water and fish silhouettes. 

The question for the designer when he comes up with the design of the site is in particular the question of what metaphors he will have, what associations. Sometimes it's enough just to take an element from the business sector the site is dedicated to and slap it into the layout. And it turns out fine, it didn't go and solves the problem. This is a first level association. Roughly speaking, what I think is what I draw. What first comes to mind on this topic, then we put on the site. In principle, this is the main way that sites were created in the mid-200s, but now for some tasks this solution is quite suitable if it is not too clumsy and rude. 

Imagine a site about repair and a photo smiling mechanic from the stock photo. This is a first-level association that is implemented has gone and is not interesting. But you can take the same association, take a picture of a real employee, sign what he is doing - and it will be a completely different matter. Although the associations are the same, and the picture is almost the same - but the task in these cases is solved differently. 

But there are projects in which the first-level associations are not enough. Say, if we are talking about website design in Moscow , designed for very wealthy people. In this case, you need to act more subtly. This, by the way, can be clearly seen in TV advertising: cheap consumer goods are always advertised on first-level associations, but expensive and exclusive things are different. 

Let us return to our example on the sale of spare parts. The first level of the association: we sell spare parts - that's the gear! Second level: we sell spare parts, so that you repair your car - this is a working shiny car, and next to a locksmith in a cap! Third level: we sell spare parts so that you repair your car so that you are happy and carefree - that's the car and a relaxed satisfied owner. 

That is, the following levels of association are not related to the first thought of a product or service, and to the derivative. To what this product or service is associated with, the process that the buyer is waiting for, the result that he needs. This is a “farther”, more elegant approach to the visitor's imagination. 

These next levels of association are often needed in b2b projects, where the client, by definition, spends more time, is more thoughtful and ready to figure it out. For example, if the company is engaged in the wholesale supply of chipboard, you can immediately show a stack of these plates. Or you can truck with plates. Or even put a beautiful photo of the forest :)


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Eduard Gafarov (Founder and director of the weapons company EdGun). The thing was to accompany the huge spare parts catalogue with selected premium goods and develop a solid website
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