- Courtesy Neon Pig Creative
“These principles have resonated with people for as long as we can remember, and design has been a part of it the entire time,” says Colin Christie, former director of advertising for the Mining Exchange-owning 365 Grand Properties. He’s now the creative director at Neon Pig Creative, a local marketing firm he owns with former 365 marketing manager Laura Cameron and former Root Spring Studios owner Michael O’Caña. They, like most designers, know a little about aesthetics and psychological responses to aesthetics.
“There’s these studies that show why drunk tanks are painted pink, because it helps calm the people who are in there,” says Cameron, who’s also Pig’s director of strategy. “Babies cry more in rooms that are painted yellow, because it can cause anxiety. These triggers we study affect human psychology on a very subconscious level.” There are demographic variations, of course — sixtysomething military retirees are drawn or repulsed by different things than thirtysomething small-business owners.
“It always comes back to your target audience,” Cameron says. “If you’re not speaking to them, you’re not speaking to anybody.” And target audience is more than demographics. It’s location, income, lifestyle, family structure, recreation activities, and how all of those things affect buying habits.
They explore how their audience will react by testing designs against personas. Personas are hypothetical customers who represent key parts of a target audience. They’re used by all manner of designers, communicators and usability experts to make more specific decisions and better serve their audience.
That thinking carries over into Neon Pig’s own marketing. Their neon pink on black motif, combined with bold typography, calls to more hip clients, not surprising for a company run by three people under 35. Their Facebook wallpaper shows white pigs on black, facing one way, with a neon-pink pig facing the other.
“We want to be doing something different from everyone else in town,” says Christie.