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Do you sometimes feel invisible or alienated? It’s not a nice feeling. It’s not that hard to create better content but for the majority of brands out there, their content is invisible.

Research has shown that only 5% of content generates 90% of engagement.

The rest is just wallpaper!

So here’s something you can do to make your content stand out –  use the principle of contrast. Our brains are wired to notice what is different. For primitive man, being able to quickly distinguish eyes and teeth from bush came in very handy if he wanted to be a good hunter and protect his tribe.

We automatically prioritize areas of contrast in sequence – we see shapes first, colour next, and finally text. How can you use the principle of contrast to create better content and make it more visible? Consider these examples and follow suit.

“Why 1984 won’t be like 1984

One of the most famous ad campaigns that used contrast to set their brand apart is Apple’s 1984 ad. To this day it is considered one of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time.

The ad tells a story of the Hero’s Journey – Apple is the underdog, the young, disruptive player conquering the evil Big Brother (IBM).

If you watch the ad, you’ll notice the contrast in colour of the hero (an athletic blond in red and white) against the monotone people watching Big Brother give a televised speech. At the instant Big Brother ends his speech with ‘We shall prevail!’ she flings a sledgehammer and destroys the screen in a bright explosion, and Apple introduces Macintosh with a clever tagline.

The contrast in colour, the sharp language, and the explosive ending all exemplify the principle of contrast. And it made an impact – within days of airing, sales of Macintosh computers were at $3.5 million, reaching $150 million by 100 days. Remember this was 1984, and the ad was for a product that wasn’t even available yet!

From basic trash to Super Trash

For an example on a more local level: imagine a garbage truck. You’re probably thinking of something in the beige or gray colour range that looks the same as every other garbage truck you’ve ever seen. Nothing interesting about that.

In contrast, you can’t miss Super Trash, an Auckland-based trash removal business. They stand out with hot pink and white jagged stripes exploding across their trucks. Their staff wear hot pink fluoro vests. Even their name is in contrast to companies that refer to ‘waste services’ or ‘rubbish removal’ and is presented in a globe shape (a subtle link between our trash and our planet). They really exemplify the principle of contrast in visuals, using shapes, colour and text to make an impression that will be remembered.

For better content, make it POP!

The above examples are two outstanding instances of the principle of contrast that can inspire your brand content. Remember that we see shapes, then colours, then text. Use contrast to your advantage to become more visible. Soon you will be on your way to taking your brand from lonely wallflower to the center of attention.