Marketing and Design has always had a love / hate relationship. The two need each other to work effectively.

While you can market without good design, design is what makes your marketing stand out. Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design are more of a road map than a rule, but one of his principles, ‘Good Design is Honesty’ is always stretched when it comes to marketing. Design does help marketing material be innovative, makes a product useful, giving it good aesthetic design and creating a relatable and understandable flow to the information. So let’s talk about what happens when a marketer utilizes design to engage you with landing pages.

Good Design is Honesty

- Dieter Rams

We’ve all seen them; from the blogs we follow to newsletters we get with titles like “Top Ten Tips for Marketers”  or “Find Out How to be an Instagram Hero.” While sometimes the information is useful, at the end of the day, they just want you to sign up to get a free three to five page book or what usually breaks down to tips you probably already know. The trojan horse here is data collecting. Nothing in life is free and information is no exception. They collect your data by not just getting your name and email, but installing cookies, selling and sharing information about you or even you giving them the right to send you their own or third party marketing material.

Just like this post

They want your name, email, company name, your role, how many employees you have and your phone number. Why? To collect or sell data and create analytics on the type of person you are. What you get for what you give leans more towards the content provider. The following will show you not just what they collect and how they use it, but how design is used to capture you; into doing it.

So today I wanted to break down this page on how they use design to make you click. But before going into the breakdown; ask yourself…

Why do we click?

The book “The Hidden Persuaders” written by Vance Packard, was one of the firsts to take a hard look into the psychology of advertising. The psychology of color, layouts, and vocabulary are all used to manipulate your reward system. While in 1954 James Olds and Peter Milner used animals by giving them a bar to press to receive an injection of opiates directly into the midbrain tegmentum; they would eventually always press that button to receive more dopamine. In another example, Ivan Pavlov used classical conditioning like ringing a bell which would trigger the animals reward system. Anyone ever hear a clicking or ding sound when you press a button or purchase gems in a game?  How about that blue button before the fold? It’s meant to stand out, meant for you to see it and want to press it.

But why is this blue? Why is the only other blue item an explanation of the rewards within the book? In color theory, blue usually means wisdom, trust or confidence. It’s also a complimentary color to the sites main color… Orange. Not only is it visually pleasing, whether you know it or not, color meaning is ingrained into your mind.

Just look at these two colors. What do they mean to you?

Why is color so important?

It’s a stimulant; which in the past was used to measure wealth and importance. Let’s talk about Blue again… Blue is a very artificial color and what I mean by that is, it’s not easy to reproduce with natural ingredients like red, or green is. Look at Homer’s The Odyssey; the ocean was described as a wine-dark sea. The word blue was never used in the entire document because it didn’t exist in our reality yet. When we finally figured out how to create blue, it was used for royalty and religious art. This is why blue has these annotations of wisdom, trust and confidence. The complimentary color to this, orange, is muted. This warm color represent friendliness and can induce courage or energy. Bright colors like the white and gray bring thoughts of professionalism and commerce. Marketers love Orange, Yellows and Blues with blues usually resigned for call to action buttons. Blue is also the default color for hyperlinks; so when you see a string of text and a word is blue with or without an underline, you’re trained to think this is a link. Using blue, with white space all round it is sometimes called the isolation effect and it is very effective to get you to click by showing color, negative space, sometimes sound or animation and text.

Ad Copy is also a powerful tool. While I’m not a writing major, I do know speaking to the reader is more effective than speaking about the product. And use of color, hierarchy in terms of Headers and Sub headers help to guide your reading experience. Another reason why sites like these collect so much data is to learn how you interact with sites. They create surveys and quizzes (funny how they’ve been in the news lately) which are used to collect data on how you respond. The marketer is learning what makes you mad, happy, what makes you trust something opposed to what makes you close the window. This is why you see titles like: Want more free time to….” or “Hate how this takes …..” odds are the content was created based on survey questionnaires that you may have already taken from another site. Another form of creating copy is something called Amazon review mining.

The best way to see what people like or don’t like is to read reviews of similar products you’re trying to sell. You can even go to events similar to your product (want to sell a book about marketing your photography? Go to a photography event) and talk to people not about your product, but what they like or don’t like. The marketer is using you, to be a better marketer.

Putting this altogether you can see the narrative and design this simple landing page uses to get you to click.

Each fold has a call to action, formatted text and use of color to show importance.
The ‘get started’ button makes you scroll through the entire document giving you a glimpse of other important information.
The share buttons are ways for you to market the websites. This isn’t by accident either, they place it here because it’s right above the reward text (Rewards + buttons = stimulant release).
The next section; a quick and easy way to read part of the book gives you a tastes of what I’m assuming is highly curated content built for this landing page.
Finally the download button with the form to fill out. All you have to do is give all your information.
Remember how the get started button scrolls through the entire page? This is a fail safe. If you’re turned off by the massive amount of info they want from you.
These buttons all go to social sites in which you probably have people that are either in the same field, market or position as you and the site knows an advertisement coming from someone familiar rather than a random ad on a social feed is more effective at getting click through.
This also makes you look like you’re on top of the game in terms of marketing which in return gives you likes, notifications and shares of a post you share (reward center of the brain).
I’m sure by using cookies and analytic tools built into the website, they see what people do when they reach this section. This is why a preview of the book and header text in friendly colors reads “Why do i need to fill out the information requested?” and “Is this really free?” are located right above the last fold.
A pop up bar even reveals itself on top making it even easier for you to go back to the form, rather than scrolling back down.

This form was built using principles every designer, every coder every copywriter knows. It’s built to collect information on who you are and what you do. The Workbook is second in importance to what the company actually collects. And what exactly do they collect?

The actual page we just talked about only contains


The actual privacy policy they reference has


Their cookie policy


The website terms of use


Obviously, they’re banking on you at best not reading the ULA and at worst just skimming through it.



Since 2000, I have collaborated with clients on brand identity, content creation, high-level executive presentations and photography for corporate profiles, lifestyle, architectural and real estate. I’ve freelanced for multiple high-profile, technology and enthusiasts news blogs, with expertise in brochure, presentation and infographic material for high-level pharmaceutical executives in addition to RFP, advertisements, web and social design for multiple construction firms. I have advised on marketing tactics for nonprofit organizations and collaborated with alternative healthcare and lifestyle coaches on social content creation.

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