Design is the outcome of the current trend of liking of the audience and the manifestation of the cultural atmosphere. Though at present the designers are following the masculine and feminine approaches to reach the audience, very soon the design trends will focus on gender-neutral design. Gender neutrality is taking over in all realms of interactions and though it is not very widespread yet, it will become very popular in the coming years.
The gender-neutral design approach can result in design in products that can find a greater audience. It can be more productive and easy for all to choose the products based on gender-neutral design. Universal design can encourage and promote the varying needs of individuals easily.
How to make a gender-neutral product design?
The most important thing that you need to do is to make a balance between the feminine and masculine aspects of design. You should find the different aspects of a design that can manifest itself into masculine and feminine gender. When you have good knowledge about it, you can make a design that can meet the need of both genders and can produce a good gender-neutral design.
Selection of color can play a big role in making a gender-neutral design. The disruption of the stereotyped design and out of box thinking approach can be the stepping stone to make a gender-neutral design. Grey, white, black, light-browns, etc all are gender-neutral colors.
The blue color is often liked by both genders and it can be suitable as a gender-neutral color though not in a very dark tone. The use of accent colors can be good to balance between masculine and feminine connotations. When you start making a gender-neutral design, these color ideas can be a good starting point.
The gender-neutral colors are normally minimalist and muted. However, it is always better to analyze the audience so that you have a fair understanding of what type of color will be suitable for them. A few examples of gender-neutral colors are grey, white, black, green, yellow, light brown, orange, and the muted toned.
Color and typography can play a mutually important role in the gender-neutral design
The role of typography is very important in the gender-neutral design along with color. The masculine fonts are straight lines, with geometric shapes and sharp edges. On the other hand, the feminine fonts are thin, cursive, smooth and slanted, and tend to be decorated.
Of course, there is some typography style that is classical and does not have any gender association. For example, Roboto, Grammond and Helvetica, and these fonts can be highly suitable to use in gender-neutral design. Helvetica may be the most popular among these to use as a gender-neutral typeface.
However, there can be variations in Helvetica also that connotes gender. For example, the ultra-light variation of Helvetica can be quite feminine whereas the extra bold Helvetica can be masculine. There will be more fonts that you will see in near future that can be more gender-inclusive. You need to consider the context where there will be use of both font and the color, together. There can be particular color suitable for a font in a particular context. When you want to make a gender-neutral design, you should be conscious of the relation between the color and the typography.
Layouts can have a masculine and feminine connotation in terms of graphics and websites. As earlier pointed out, the color and the choice of typography should be perfectly balanced to get a gender-neutral design. Some websites may look feminine due to the use of pink, turquoise or rose-gold colors.
The elements of color, typography, and shapes will affect the appearance of a layout. To understand a gender-neutral design, it can be great if you research websites that cater to everyone’s needs. For example, sites like Google, eBay, or Amazon, etc and all these sites have a gender-neutral approach in design.
Photography and Imagery
The imagery and photography that support the inclusive of gender do not picture any particular type of gender. It does not have a stereotypical gender norm. When photography pertains to a group of people, the group should be diverse to make it gender-neutral.
When you want to target a particular demographic group, only a particular segment of the population needs to be considered for your marketing campaign. However, advertising imagery for a specific gender can be a stereotype in nature. For example, Gillet advertising is generally targeted to a male audience whereas, Dove imagery with its soft and delicate imagery is targeted towards women.
The common approach to gender-neutral imagery for advertising is its emphasis on the functionality of the product instead of gender. For example, Aesop, the cosmetic brand, is doing an excellent job of appealing to both the genders by not making stereotypical gender profiling. Another example may be Burberry that is trying to popularize the gender neutrality in the fashion designs.
Aesthetics based on androgeny
Androgyny is a combination of feminine and masculine characteristics and it produces an effect that is neither feminine nor masculine. While the androgynous aesthetics is not a new thing, it is finding a great deal of application in gender-neutral design at present. You can include it in your brand imagery if you want to make a gender-neutral design.
Similar to typography, smooth and curved line icons are mainly targeted towards the feminine audience whereas straight and sharp-edged icons are targeted to a masculine audience. The choice of color can be very vital for making the icons gender-neutral. A gender-neutral style of icons is having a one-color use approach and the chosen color is normally an accent or neutral color.
In most cases, the gender-neutral icons are outline icons and glyphs. There is no specific dimension or color and these can be perfect for any design. You can choose the best style that matches the requirement for your brand.
Glyphs are symbols that can help to communicate a specific message. The examples of glyphs can be the zebra crossing, and the danger symbols, etc. It is a challenge to make gender-neutral glyph designs and designers are trying to make gender-neutral glyph design and you can expect to see some arising in a short time.
You need to understand the gender stereotypes that come in the traditional design of packages to understand the concept of gender-neutral packaging designs. Normally matt black, chrome, and dark blue represent men’s products. Sometimes packaging for men features sports connotations or sports imagery.
On the other hand, the pink color is widely used to make products and toiletries for women. The sleek packaging is often made for women that come with flower pattern and rounded iconography. In the recent design methodology for gender-neutral design, there is a massive shift in the choice of pink color.
Developers for gender-neutral design are now not favoring to choose the pink color in package design. Now there are more colors available to choose for women packages. Many of these colors are blue, yellow and gender-neutral patterns that can appeal to both genders.
Gender-neutral product designs should not have graphics of flowers or sports connotations. It can feature minimalist packaging and it can emphasize on the product practicality. The perfume brand, skincare brand, cosmetic line, etc are some examples that are trying to bring gender-neutral packaging designs.
Stereotype designs targeting a specific gender are alienating several consumers for choosing a product.
The future in design focuses on breaking gender stereotypes as the line between what men and women respond to design is thinning. At present, more and more people are responding positively to a gender-neutral design concept.
A gender-neutral design may be the right path for attracting a larger customer base for a product. You need to know the likes and dislikes of your customers better to decide what they prefer.