Lidwell, Holden, & Butler (2003, pp. 46) discuss the principles of consistency. They state the four main kinds of consistency: aesthetic, style and appearance: functional, meaning and action: Internal, other elements in a system: External, elements in the environment. They argue that designers should use, “aesthetic and functional consistency in all aspects of designs… to establish unique identities that can be easily recognized,” (Lidwell et al. 2003, pp. 43), and “to simplify usability and ease of learning” (Lidwell et al. 2003, pp. 43). Galitz also agrees that “[c]onsistency aids learning” (2007, pp. 45). By using consistency, consumers will pick up on familiar designs making it easier for them to use.
However, to achieve consistency in design, you first need to have standards and guidelines (Galitz, 2007, pp. 49). These consist of such “areas as element location; grammar; font shape, styles, and sizes; selection indicators; and contrast and emphasis techniques” (Galitz, 2007, pp. 49).
Allen (2012), argues that designers use the consistency principle at times when they should be using a slight variation in the design. He also claims that while it is a great design principle, it is not one that should be used all the time and that designers should let it take a back seat to other principals. However, Soegard (2018) argues that consistency creates trust and in the current times, designers “should strive for total consistency.” Both Allen and Soegard make excellent arguments. Depending on how the designer is using the design principle, consistency can instil trust and reliability within a brand. It will create easy navigation platforms for customers as well as making it easier for the customer to find the products and brands they are familiar and comfortable with. This can also be achieved by keeping logos and brand colours consistent, such as the Coca-Cola logo.
Figure 2: Image: Coca-Cola Logo
The font is consistent through all of their products. It is this type of consistency that makes it a great design principle.
Allen, J. (2012). Why is consistency important in design. Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Why-is-consistency-important-in-design
Figure 1: [Image: Four Different Coca-Cola Cans] Retrieved from http://www.posta.com.mx/negocios/coca-cola-retirara-dos-de-sus-productos-en-mexico
Figure 2: [Image: Coca-Cola Logo] Retrieved from http://www.moreto.net/novini.php?n=370366
Galitz, W. O. (2007). The Essential Guide to User Interface Design: An Introduction to Guidesign Principles and Techniques. Hoboken, UNITED STATES: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport.
Soegaard, M. (2018). Consistency: MORE than what you think. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/consistency-more-than-what-you-think