Interactivity: A Digital Orchestra

  • Insights
by Stephanie White, Interactive Art Director

Can you think of a time when you heard a song for the first time and a part of it got stuck in your head on repeat? Something about that musical hook’s pattern makes it loop over and over in your head, and you just have to go back and listen to it again. In a way, the idea of a catchy musical hook can also be applied to a digital universe, allowing the audience to more closely connect with pixels on a screen versus the usual musical notes.


In the world of design, there are seven main principles that artists must follow: emphasis, balance, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement, and white space. These seven principles can function as our “instruments,” if you will. By utilizing these principles when creating a design for a brand, we create the opportunity to really be remembered—to create that catchy digital ‘hook’. The first principle is emphasis, which, when imposed on the proper elements of a page, can be extremely strong in directing focus. Balance allows for the piece to have visual equivalence. It ensures that visual weight distribution is equally split on the page and attention is not placed on one element more than any other unless that was the intention. Contrast can be thought of as the high notes—the ones that juxtapose most with the constant elements of a page. Contrast generally generates space and differentiation among all elements in a design, which smoothly leads into the next principle, repetition. Repetition is key to a strong design and recall; it is the driving beat that organizes the entire piece and sets the tone of the page. It helps connect the end-user with the brand in the real world to the digital one by using familiar elements on both. Proportion plays a key role in each of the seven principles by scaling each principle to the “volume” that it needs to be—balance can’t outweigh emphasis. Emphasis can’t outweigh contrast. It is a key component in achieving the overall harmony of the design. Movement influences how the eye is led from one element to another and can be thought of as the “maestro” of a design—it can strategically keep the eye moving. Movement is a huge factor in digitally conveying a brand’s story in an elegant way by making use of things such as animation, hover effects, parallax scrolling, and unique transitions. Lastly, White Space: the powerful silence in a song that emphasizes whatever follows. It isn’t simply empty space but can be implemented in a design by literally allowing for breathing room and creating a stronger hierarchy and structure throughout a design.


Now to put these principles/instruments into play. By making use of a brand’s unique identity—its colors, logos, fonts, shapes, textures, voice, and more—a design is able to be synthesized in the digital space that not only is memorable but also enforces a connection to that brand by becoming more genuine. Imagine landing on a website; you are greeted with a beautiful animation leading into a brand’s logo, which then fades out and you can see a beautiful hero image load in. Soon after, captivating copy appears, perfectly timed, so you can’t help but scroll to see more. The feeling the end-user would get from just that experience alone would be that of excitement – the equivalent of what a musical hook can achieve. Suddenly, words in a Word document or in a company-supplied PDF aren’t just words on a page anymore; they can be felt. By bringing interactivity to the table and including features such as animation or cause-and-effect variables, a specific tone and unique voice can breathe a whole new life into a brand, which can only be exclusively carried out in a digital space.


Once all of these elements are thoughtfully orchestrated into a final piece, it should be an overall delightful experience for the end-user that leaves them more educated on the topic while also being stress-free to navigate. An effective design utilizing strong interactive elements should ultimately coalesce with their natural lives just as music does—unobtrusive and organic while also coming together to tell a story with a catchy hook.


The Streetsense Marketing Team activates brands & places, communicates with audiences through them, and drives demand for them. We engage, convert, and delight through integrated marketing strategies & ongoing implementation, including: content & social media marketing, performance marketing, interactive design & development, and events & activations. Explore our 360° branding and marketing expertise here, sign-up for our Branding and Marketing newsletter, or contact us to discuss your marketing project.


You’re in!

"Thank you for choosing to receive updates from across our global creative collective of placeshapers, brandbuilders, and storytellers. Learn more about Streetsense."

be in the know