The Von Restorff Effect Your Secret Weapon for Unmissable Design

Craig Barber
September 13, 2023
mins read

Welcome to another exciting blog post about the fascinating world of UX design.

Today, we’re diving into a concept called the Von Restorff Effect and exploring how it can be harnessed to create engaging and memorable user experiences.

So, fasten your seatbelts and let’s crack on!

What is the Von Restorff Effect?

What is the Von Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff Effect, also known as the isolation effect or the distinctiveness principle, refers to our tendency to remember or pay more attention to an item that stands out from its surroundings.

In simpler terms, it’s all about being unique and differentiating yourself from the crowd.

Named after the German psychiatrist Hedwig von Restorff, this phenomenon has significant implications in various fields, including psychology, marketing, and, of course, UX design.

Von Restorff Effect Explainer video:​

4 Examples of the Von Restorff Effect in digital product design

To grasp the essence of the Von Restorff Effect, let’s explore a few familiar examples:

1. Colored icons

Navigation and Information Hierarchy

In a list of black and white icons, a single vibrant and colorful icon will catch your attention.

2. Calls to action

Calls to action​

On a website, a strategically placed call-to-action (CTA) button with a contrasting color stands out, increasing the chances of it being noticed and clicked.

3. Product images

Product images​

In a series of product images, an item with a unique shape or distinct feature tends to be remembered more easily.

4. Infographics


When browsing through a long page of text, a well-designed infographic or an eye-catching illustration will grab your attention and aid comprehension.

5 Ways to apply the Von Restorff Effect in Your UI Designs

1. Color and Contrast

Color and Contrast​
Buttons stand out on the page with the use of color

Utilise colour psychology and employ contrasting colors to make important elements, such as buttons or headlines, visually distinct.

By doing so, you guide users’ attention to the most critical actions or information.

2. Typography and Hierarchy

Typography and Hierarchy​

Vary font sizes, weights, and styles to create visual hierarchy.

Make the most significant elements stand out by using larger fonts or bold typography, while keeping secondary elements less prominent.

3. Microinteractions and Animation


Implement subtle animations or microinteractions to draw attention to specific elements, such as a loading spinner, notification badge, or hover effects.

These small details can make a significant impact on user engagement and satisfaction.

4. Visuals and Imagery

Visuals and Imagery​

Introduce unique and visually appealing images, illustrations, or videos that complement your content.

Leverage these visuals to create an emotional connection with users and make your brand or message more memorable.

5. Content Chunking

Content Chunking​

Break down large blocks of content into smaller, digestible chunks.

Use headings, bullet points, and white space to make the information more scannable and facilitate the extraction of key points.


By understanding and leveraging the Von Restorff Effect, UX designers have a powerful tool at their disposal to create engaging, memorable, and effective user experiences.

Whether it’s through colour contrast, typography, animations, or content organisation, the Von Restorff Effect enables us to guide users’ attention, improve comprehension, and enhance overall user satisfaction.

Remember, in the world of UX design, standing out and being distinctive is key.

So go ahead, embrace the Von Restorff Effect, and let your creativity shine as you craft unique experiences that leave a lasting impact on your users.

Happy designing!

Want more Laws of UX? Check out this post.

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