Why 3 should be your business’s favourite number


We believe that design just isn’t enough to gain the maximum impact on our client’s customers. But why should 3 be your business’s favourite number?

A common use of psychology within a design is the use of the number three. This principle is referred to as The Goldilocks Effect and derives from the popular children’s story Goldilocks’ and the Three Bears.

The Goldilocks’ story

Goldilocks’ finds a house with three bears. Each bear has a room and it’s own preference for foods and beds. After Goldilocks’ tests all three rooms, she determines that one of them is too little, one of them is too much and one of them is just enough.

Application within design

Example of the power of three; The Goldilocks' Effect.

The Goldilocks’ principle

This Goldilocks’ principle is applied throughout a vast amount of our everyday tasks that relate to determining choices. Designers apply uses of this effect when people have to choose between levels of quantity (too little, too much or just enough) or between levels of difficulty (too easy, to challenging or just right).

Another use of this principle can be found and applied by designers to show impact and power. For example, have you ever wondered why we always see or hear the following?

  • 1-2-3, but not 1-2-3-4
  • A-B-C, but not A-B-C-D
  • X-Y-Z, but not W-X-Y-Z

It’s because the number 3 (referring to Goldilocks) is not too little, not too much but just enough. You can find uses of this occurring online when trying to pick between different levels and options within products. See how many times you can spot the above example next time you browse for something and have to make a decision between the options.

Posted on 31st Jul 2017