Learning Portfolio 2 – Q2 Examples

Item 1 – Traffic Lights


(Image: arizonatrafficschool.wordpress.com)

Traffic lights would have to be predominately one of the most common designs that apply the affects of Functional Consistency. We all know that red means stop, green means go and amber means slow down – it is universally understood what traffic lights represent and the colours that represent each of the meanings of a traffic light. When we look at Traffic Lights, we are subconsciously applying “… existing knowledge about how the design functions”. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010).

Item 2 – Nike Symbol


(Image: oeilsj.wordpress.com)

As discussed in my previous post, the Nike Symbol (or the “Tick”) is a great example of Aesthetic Consistency. This symbol (or logo) is used throughout Nike’s promotional materials, clothing apparel, websites, magazines, stores etc. It is a logo that consumers associate with the brand Nike, you dont even had to have the word Nike underneath the logo to know what this is representing – this is due to Aesthetic Consistency. It “enhances recognition…” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010) allowing the consumer to identify clearly what the product is and who is promoting it. It also allows the consumer to emotionally connect with the logo, knowing that the Nike logo represents health, fitness and wellness allowing the consumer to feel positive about themselves when they buy products with this logo on it.

Item 3 – Street Signs


(Image: www.vincent.wa.gov.au)

Street signs are a good example of Internal Consistency. Street signs are apart of a system, and usually the system is a Shire or a Council. You will see that within different suburbs of Perth (and other states across Australia as well as the world) have a system of street signs that are cohesive with one another. They will all have the same font face and colour scheme as well as size and usually will have a logo of the Shire or Council on there as well. It allows the general public to know that a “…system has been designed” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010) particularly for this area.


Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.


Learning Portfolio 2 – Q1 Summary

Aesthetic consistency is extremely important in a product, because it promotes a connection between the consumer and a product. When aesthetic aspects of the product are used universally, the consumer can identify the product or the brand and become accustom to it and then start to develop feelings towards it. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). Colour is strongly used in aesthetic consistency as it is “…the visual element that profoundly appeals to human emotion” (Evans & Thomas, 2008).

For example, take the brand Nike, their logo design of the “tick” is used throughout all of their promotional products, and predominantly is used in either black or white. However, Nike also introduced their logo in different colours when being branded on dark or light coloured apparel, but consumers are still able to recognise what it is, because it is aesthetically consistent.

As well as aesthetic consistency, functional consistency is also equally important in a product. Functional Consistency is especially important in elements such as web design, as designers will always emphasis the importance of “…consistent navigation, consistent page layouts, or consistent control elements” (Spool, 2005).

Talking about web design, if you have consistent navigation controls, that are more than likely based on the same principles that most website’s navigation control’s are, the consumer will be able to draw on pre-existing knowledge about how it functions. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). It is important to ensure that all products are functionally consistent, so it allows the consumer to use the product with ease.

Internal consistency promotes consistency of elements in a system. You must identify “…recurring design elements that appear in different contexts…” (Garrett, 2011) to allow a system to be internally consistent with each of the elements. It is important to make a connection with the consumer that they are able to trust the product, and without internal consistency, that would be proven hard to achieve.

External Consistency is “…what you’ve know in your past.” (Robinson, n.a.). It allows the benefits of internal consistency to be extended across systems. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)


Evans, P., & Thomas, M. A. (2008). Exploring the Elements of Design (Second ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Garrett, J. J. (2011). The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond, Second Edition (Second ed.). Berkley, CA: New Riders.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.

Robinson, R. (n.a.). Consistency in Interactive Design. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from Skookum Digital Works: http://skookum.com/consistency-in-interactive-design/

Spool, J. (2005, September 15). Consistency in Design is the Wrong Approach. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from User Interface Engineering: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2005/09/15/consistency-in-design-is-the-wrong-approach/