What Is Contrast Effect & How To Use It In Your Business?


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Prathamesh Krisang

Prathamesh Krisang

Filmmaker turned Growth Marketer turned Behavioral Designer

Our brains are wired to differentiate between things all the time. Even when there is a slight difference between two things of same basic characteristic, we tend to amplify our perception of difference between them. For example, when you look at twins, you start finding the difference between them instead of similarities. That’s a default behavior.

This phenomenon is called the Contrast Effect. My objective with this article to explain Contrast Effect in simple terms. Especially in a way that you are able to apply it to your business in form of products, content, ads, landing pages or anything you build that humans interact with.

Here is a simplified definition of Contrast Effect.

Contrast Effect happens when two options with the same basic characteristics are shown besides each other, the difference between them is either magnified or diminished.

Wikipedia : Contrast Effect has a much more technical and academic definitions if you are interested.

When should you use Contrast Effect?

Use Contrast Effect when your user’s decision is based,

  • Comparison between you and a competitor product (Us v/s Them)
  • A proof of transformation (Before v/s After)
  • When there is a gap in your user’s understanding of reality (Expectation v/s Reality)
  • When there are opposing ideas that is stopping your users from taking action (Chaos v/s Order, Good v/s Bad, Better Tasting v/s Bad Tasting, Privacy v/s Public etc.)

Using Contrast Effect for ads & landing pages

There are multiple ways to create contrast. Once of the ways to use contrast effect in ads is by using the Left/Right Layout. Here is a detailed explanation of how to use contrast effect in ads & landing pages.

Other Applications Of Contrast Effect

This article will keep evolving over time as more and more applications of Contrast Effect are discovered.

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