How DuckDuckGo is Effectively Communicating its Message

Aimen Awan
Sep 17, 2018 · 4 min read

Visual Design plays an important role in the success of a product. If a product is competing with a giant like Google, every facet becomes crucial. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that promotes the protection of a user’s privacy. In this article, I am not going to focus on the technical aspects of the product. Instead, I will be reviewing their homepage from a visual designer’s perspective, to see how the page stands up according to the principles of graphic design.

In the book, Graphic Design School-The Principles and Practices of Graphic Design writers Dabner, Calvert and Casey define many basic principles of graphic design. I will be referring many of the terms from the section titled “Fundamentals of Composition”.

DuckDuckGo’s message is “Privacy, Simplified.”

Basics of Composition

In order to have a successful website, we must consider the necessary elements related to its composition. The composition is all about the visual structure and organisation of elements. DuckDuckGo’s homepage is divided into five basic sections. The first section is similar to a standard search engine. Important elements of this section include;

  • The search bar (Central functionality of the website)
  • Product concept statement(Your data shouldn’t be for sale. At DuckDuckGo, we agree.)
  • Hamburger Menu (themes, menu, privacy and contact)
  • Privacy, Simplified.

Rest of the sections follow the same composition which includes;

  • A colourful background
  • A text heading
  • A few lines explaining the heading
  • A button (which lets a user add DuckDuckGo to the browser)
  • Illustrations and animations

Form and Space

Whenever we see a figure, we experience it according to the space it occupies. In graphic design, this relationship can be identified in terms of positive and negative space. There is an effective use of this relationship within the website. Vibrant background colours are used to emphasize the intended message in front. Refreshing use of colours in the background with contrasting foregrounds engage users and make the entire experience interactive and dynamic.

Pace and Contrast

Pace and contrast are very important in order to capture a reader’s attention. If your company’s message is your key edge over your competitor, then it’s critical to pay utmost attention to its vital qualities. DuckDuckGo’s team has done an excellent job in regards to this. They have created a momentum and rhythm with bold colours, headings and illustrations. Contrasting bold text and witty, meaningful illustrations that capture the user’s attention, while attempting to gain their trust.

Identity and Extended System

Google has a very strong identity and everybody recognizes their logo within a split second. So it’s important for DuckDuckGo to have a strong visual identity. They have a unique name but their logo is not doing them any justice. It looks like it does not stand out from competitors. I think the team can work on improving the branding.


The most powerful element of the entire website is the animation. The team has done an excellent job of creating interactive and compelling illustrations. They deserve an applause for these creative ideas.

In my opinion, privacy is the hot issue of the day. People are realising that large companies are not respecting their privacy. Companies like DuckDuckGo can play a vital role in changing that opinion. They have used basic design principles very effectively and gained the trust of their users. By using effective graphics, they have toned down the complicated issue of privacy and has made it more approachable for all users.

NYC Design

A publication for designers in New York and followers all around the world. Design thinking is what makes us write here on Medium to share with the designers of the world.

Aimen Awan

Written by

Studying Information Experience Design at Pratt Institute | A supporter of equality for everyone regardless of their genitals

NYC Design

A publication for designers in New York and followers all around the world. Design thinking is what makes us write here on Medium to share with the designers of the world.

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