ArticlePDF Available

Using Type Font Characteristics to Communicate Brand Personality of New Brands


Abstract and Figures

This research explores whether the type font used to represent a brand name (such as in logos or packaging) influences consumers’ perceptions of the brand’s personality. Drawing on the semantic influence of type font framework, we conducted three experimental studies involving type fonts with a wide range of design characteristics: Study 1 shows that type font characteristics (naturalness, elaborate, harmony, flourish, and weight) influence brand personality perceptions (excitement, sincerity, sophistication, competence, and ruggedness). Type font naturalness, harmony, and flourish emerge as the most important type font characteristics evoking higher levels of most personality dimensions. Study 2 extends the research to new brand names and finds that the effect of naturalness in type font designs is a key driver to eliciting brand personality dimensions. Study 3 then explores whether type font characteristics and type font color interactively affect brand personality dimensions. Results show that the influence of type font color on brand personality perceptions is independent of the impact of the type font itself. These results provide initial guidelines for type font selection to achieve desired brand personality and raise questions for future research.
Content may be subject to copyright.
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Bianca Grohmann
Department of Marketing,
John Molson School of Business,
Concordia University, 1455 de
Maisonneuve Blvd. West, Suite
MB 13.305, Montr é al, Quebec,
Canada H3G 1M8
Original Article
Using type font characteristics to
communicate brand personality of
new brands
Received (in revised form): 22 nd March 2012
Bianca Grohmann
holds a PhD (2002) from Washington State University and is Associate Professor of Marketing and Research Chair in
Consumer Research at Concordia University, Montreal. Her research interests include branding, brand personality
creation and sensory marketing (including visual brand cues).
Joan L. Giese
holds a PhD (1995) from Washington State University. Currently she is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University
of Oregon. Her research interests focus on consumer responses to information, including: feelings as information in
making consumer judgments and decisions; design (including typeface) infl uences on consumer responses; the role of
interpersonal communication on consumer responses; and infl uences on customer satisfaction and retailer commitment.
Ian D. Parkman
holds a PhD (2010) from the University of Oregon. He is currently Assistant Professor of Marketing at Loyola University
Maryland. His research interests include the creative industries, knowledge-based product innovation, product design,
entrepreneurship, and corporate image and reputation.
ABSTRACT This research explores whether the type font used to represent a brand
name (such as in logos or packaging) infl uences consumers perceptions of the brand s
personality. Drawing on the semantic infl uence of type font framework, we conducted
three experimental studies involving type fonts with a wide range of design
characteristics: Study 1 shows that type font characteristics (naturalness, elaborate,
harmony, fl ourish and weight) infl uence brand personality perceptions (excitement,
sincerity, sophistication, competence and ruggedness). Type font naturalness,
harmony and fl ourish emerge as the most important type font characteristics evoking
higher levels of most personality dimensions. Study 2 extends the research to new
brand names and fi nds that the effect of naturalness in type font designs is a key
driver to eliciting brand personality dimensions. Study 3 then explores whether type
font characteristics and type font color interactively affect brand personality
dimensions. The results show that the infl uence of type font color on brand
personality perceptions is independent of the impact of the type font itself. These
results provide initial guidelines for type font selection to achieve desired brand
personality and raise questions for future research.
Journal of Brand Management (2013) 20, 389 403. doi: 10.1057/bm.2012.23 ;
published online 27 April 2012
Keywords: brand communication ; brand personality ; type font ; color
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
may be the only cue to brand personality
marketers can initially employ.
Impressions evoked from type font
Related fi ndings show that brand names
can enhance awareness and contribute to
favorable perceptions of a new product
( Aaker and Keller, 1990 ). This stream of
literature has demonstrated that a variety of
cues infl uence consumer perceptions,
including phonetic symbolism ( Klink,
2000 ; Argo et al , 2010 ), color ( Pantin-
Sohier and Br é e, 2004 ), word length ( Buttle
and Westoby, 2006 ) and language transla-
tions ( Schmitt and Zhang, 2012 ). In addi-
tion, research supports that type fonts evoke
specifi c consumer impressions. Tantillo et al
(1995) found that serif type fonts (for
example, Times New Roman) were per-
ceived as elegant, charming, emotional,
distinct, beautiful and interesting. Sans serif
type fonts (for example, Helvetica) were
considered manly, powerful, smart, upper-
class, readable and louder. Considering
characteristics represented by over 200 type
fonts, Henderson et al (2004) distinguish
four impressions type fonts evoke pleasing,
engaging, reassuring and prominent and
relate type font characteristics to these
impressions. They fi nd that pleasing impres-
sions increase with natural, harmonious and
ourish, but decrease with elaborate type
fonts. Impressions of how engaging type
font is increase with natural and elaborate
type fonts, but decrease with harmonious
type fonts. Type fonts are perceived as
reassuring when they are harmonious, but
less reassuring when they are elaborate.
Impressions of prominence increase with
type font weight but diminish for natural,
harmonious and high fl ourish type fonts.
These fi ndings highlight that type fonts
convey meaning and evoke certain impres-
sions. Research in psychology (for example,
Lewis and Walker, 1989 ; Davis and Smith,
1933 ) and design ( Bartram, 1982 ; Rowe,
1982 ) also supports that semantic associations
Type font infl uences readability of adver-
tisements ( McCarthy and Mothersbaugh,
2002 ), memorability of advertising claims
( Childers and Jass, 2002 ), brand identity
( Zaichkowsky, 2010 ) and brand attitude
( Pan and Schmitt, 1996 ). Type font also
shapes brand personality perceptions ( Batra
et al , 1993 ), yet the relationship between
type font and brand personality has not
been empirically tested. How brand per-
sonality is shaped is of managerial and the-
oretical importance because it affects
brand-related consumer responses ( Aaker,
1997 ; Kim et al , 2001 ; Aaker et al , 2004 ;
Hynes, 2009 ; Samu and Krishnan, 2010 ).
This research examines the impact of type
fonts used to display brand names on brand
personality perceptions. The type font
characteristics explored consist of harmony,
natural, elaborate, weight and fl ourish
( Henderson et al , 2004 ). Harmony pertains
to font symmetry and balance, natural cap-
tures how representative and organic it is,
elaborate describes font complexity and
depth, weight indicates how heavy and
compressed the font is, and fl ourish denotes
the presence or absence of serifs ( Henderson
et al , 2004 ). The brand personality percep-
tions examined here are excitement, sin-
cerity, sophistication, ruggedness and
competence ( Aaker, 1997 ).
Consumers associate human personality
traits with brands ( Aaker, 1997 ). This asso-
ciation occurs with brand names, logos,
spokespeople, packaging and product
attributes ( Batra et al , 1993 ; Stuart and
Muzellec, 2004 ). This research examines
whether type font characteristics serve as
effective cues to brand personality for new
brands. Although brand names are often
presented with semantic information (for
example, in print advertisements), they fre-
quently appear in isolation (for example, on
signage, logos). In such contexts, type fonts
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
are derived from physical characteristics of
type fonts.
Transfer of type font impressions
to brands
Childers and Jass (2002) nd that semantic
associations linked to type font used in print
advertisements are transferred to the brand.
Consumers considered a brand as more
luxurious when a more extravagant, formal
type face was featured, while use of a more
practical, casual type font resulted in more
casual brand perceptions. Pan and Schmitt
(1996) show that congruity between type
font used to display a brand name and
product category associations in terms of
masculinity and femininity positively affect
brand attitudes and purchase intentions.
Brands in masculine product categories
(power drills, ties) elicited more favorable
attitudes and higher purchase intentions
when brand names appeared in masculine
type font. Brands in feminine product cat-
egories (sewing machines, lipstick) evoked
more positive attitudes and purchase inten-
tions when paired with feminine type font.
This effect was primarily evident with Chi-
nese participants who process language
visually rather than phonetically, but not
native speakers of English ( Pan and Schmitt,
1996 ). These results suggest that type font
not only affects consumer responses to type
font itself but also infl uences consumers
brand perceptions and brand attitude.
This research draws on the framework
of semantic infl uences of type font associa-
tions ( Childers and Jass, 2002 ). Consumers
form impressions based on the physical
characteristics of type fonts used to display
brand names (for example, Tantillo et al ,
1995; Henderson et al , 2004 ) . Consumers
use these type font impressions to infer
information about the brand ( Batra et al ,
1995 ; Childers and Jass, 2002 ). This mech-
anism is particularly important when brand
names are unfamiliar and neutral, such as
when consumers are exposed to brands
new to the market ( Childers and Jass, 2002 ).
Building on this framework, this research
considers the impact of type font charac-
teristics (rather than a small set of type fonts)
on consumers inferences about brand per-
sonality. When familiarity with the brand
is low and information is limited, type font
characteristics (natural, harmony, elaborate,
weight and fl ourish; Henderson et al , 2004 )
should infl uence brand personality percep-
tions. In this research, brand personality is
conceptualized along the fi ve dimensions
proposed by Aaker (1997) : excitement, sin-
cerity, sophistication, competence and rug-
gedness. Despite criticism (for example,
Azoulay and Kapferer, 2003 ), this concep-
tualization is the most frequently and con-
sistently used approach to brand personality
perceptions in the current marketing lit-
erature (for example, Aaker et al , 2004 ;
Opoku et al , 2006 ; Ramaseshan and Tsao,
2007 ; Gurthrie and Kim, 2009 ; Swaminathan
et al , 2009 ; Park and John, 2010 ), and is
therefore adopted herein.
Since there is a lack of theoretical or
empirical guidelines as to what font char-
acteristics are most likely to drive specifi c
brand personality dimensions, this research
explores whether the characteristics of type
fonts used to display brand names infl uence
consumers impression of the brand s per-
sonality. This research consists of three
studies: Using a set of 36 different type fonts
differing in design characteristics ( Henderson
et al , 2004 ), Study 1 examines to what
extent type font characteristics affect con-
sumers brand personality perceptions.
Study 2 extends this research to a new set
of brand names and focuses on the brand
personality effects of two font designs (nat-
ural and harmonious) that are considered
to be most effective in evoking positive
consumer responses ( Henderson et al ,
2004 ). Both Studies 1 and 2 examine type
fonts displayed in black. Since brand names
on logos and signage are frequently dis-
played in colors, Study 3 examines whether
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
All items were measured on seven-point
scales. Demographics (sex, age) were also
The effect of type font design characteristics
on brand personality perceptions was exam-
ined in a series of regressions ( Table 1 ).
Brand personality dimensions served as the
dependent variable, while the type font
characteristics of elaborate, harmony, natural,
weight and fl ourish served as independent
variables. The type font characteristic com-
pressed ( Henderson et al , 2004 ) loaded on
the weight factor and was thus included
in this factor. Multicollinearity was not
a concern ( r s < 0.54 and VIFs < 1.48). The
results suggest that sincerity was enhanced
when harmonious, natural and fl ourish type
fonts were used. Similar results emerged for
excitement and sophistication. Both rugged-
ness and competence perceptions increased
with the use of harmonious, natural, heavy
and fl ourish type fonts. Although the R
values suggest that the infl uence of type font
characteristics is subtle, all of the models
were signifi cant. In line with the framework
of semantic infl uences of type font associa-
tions, type font characteristics indeed shape
brand personality perceptions when con-
sumers are unfamiliar with the brand.
Design characteristics of type font used to
display brand names infl uence brand per-
sonality perceptions. Specifi cally, when the
brand name is typed in a font high in har-
mony, natural and fl ourish, the brand is
considered exciting, sincere, sophisticated,
rugged and competent. Increased type font
weight enhances ruggedness and compe-
tence; decreased weight signals sincerity,
excitement and sophistication. Elaborate
type fonts did not affect brand personality
The fact that high levels of harmony,
natural and fl ourish had similar effects and
color and type font characteristics interac-
tively affect brand personality perceptions.
Brand name pretest
A pretest identifi ed unfamiliar and equally
attractive brand names to rule out any effect
of prior brand exposure. Fifty-fi ve under-
graduate students (43.6 per cent male,
median age = 23) rated 71 foreign brand
names that were not suggestive of any
product category or benefi t in terms of
familiarity (not at all familiar / very familiar)
and attitude (negative / positive, bad / good,
unfavorable / favorable; Cronbach s
= 0.94),
on nine points. Familiarity was low (range
1 to 1.54) with no signifi cant differences
across brand names ( F (70) = 1.27; P > 0.08).
Exclusion of four brand names that differed
in terms of attitude ( P s < 0.05) ensured that
all brand names were equally familiar and
attractive. To control for a potential effect
of word length, all brand names included
in this study contained eight letters.
A North American panel of 1216 partici-
pants (54.6 per cent female, median
age = 36) was recruited for a one-factor
(font: 36 different fonts selected from
Henderson et al , 2004 ) between- participants
online experiment. Participants evaluated a
brand name typed in the focal font, and
rated design characteristics of the type font
based on upper and lower case alphabets.
Brand names and alphabets were of iden-
tical size (250 × 75 pixels) and presented in
black on white background. Participants
completed Aaker’s (1997) 42-item brand
personality scale: sophistication (
= 0.97),
excitement (
= 0.98), sincerity (
= 0.98),
competence (
= 0.98) and ruggedness
= 0.96). Design characteristics measures
were adapted from Henderson et al (2004) .
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
enhanced all fi ve brand personality dimen-
sions has practical and theoretical implica-
tions: On a practical level, harmonious,
natural and fl ourish type fonts are recom-
mended to prevent a perceived lack of per-
sonality (that is, low ratings on all
personality dimensions). To differentiate a
brand as rugged or competent, managers
are advised to select heavy, compressed
fonts. Light, extended fonts make the brand
appear more sincere, exciting and sophisti-
cated (but less rugged and competent).
From a theoretical perspective, the strong
effects of the natural and harmony charac-
teristics on brand personality perceptions
mirror the importance of these type font
characteristics in eliciting consumer impres-
sions toward the type font itself. Natural
design characteristics evoke an engaging
response ( Henderson et al , 2004 ), which
makes the font and by transfer of associa-
tions the brand more accessible to con-
sumers. Consumers may fi nd it easier to
relate to a brand and imbue it with person-
ality if it appears engaging. Harmonious type
fonts evoke a reassuring response to the type
font ( Henderson et al , 2004 ). Consumers
may fi nd it easier to ascribe personality char-
acteristics to a brand that appears of sub-
stance and more familiar. A certain level of
naturalness and harmony in type font design
may thus not only be desirable, but may be
necessary to instill the brand represented by
the type font design with human traits.
Study 2 sheds more light on whether
natural and harmonious type fonts have
Table 1 : Study 1 Type font design characteristics infl uence brand personality perceptions
Dependent variable Predictors Standardized
coeffi cients
t p R
Sincerity Elaborate 0.02 0.53 0.60 0.08 F (5, 1138)=20.97
P < 0.001 Harmony 0.13 4.20 0.000
Natural 0.22 6.47 0.000
Weight 0.04 1.38 0.17
Flourish 0.14 4.79 0.001
Excitement Elaborate 0.05 1.32 0.19 0.08 F (5, 1138)=19.94
P < 0.001 Harmony 0.10 3.23 0.001
Natural 0.20 5.64 0.000
Weight 0.03 0.99 0.32
Flourish 0.13 4.47 0.000
Ruggedness Elaborate 0.02 0.49 0.63 0.07 F (5, 1138)=16.97
P < 0.001 Harmony 0.08 2.73 0.006
Natural 0.18 5.25 0.000
Weight 0.09 2.85 0.004
Flourish 0.13 4.56 0.000
Sophistication Elaborate 0.01 0.23 0.82 0.09 F (5, 1138)=22.40
P < 0.001 Harmony 0.16 5.38 0.000
Natural 0.22 6.57 0.000
Weight 0.01 0.39 0.70
Flourish 0.12 4.24 0.000
Competence Elaborate 0.03 0.74 0.46 0.08 F (5, 1138)=20.63
P < 0.001 Harmony 0.13 4.33 0.000
Natural 0.22 6.28 0.000
Weight 0.05 2.13 0.03
Flourish 0.13 4.57 0.000
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
One hundred twenty-three North Amer-
ican undergraduate students participated in
a computer-based study where type font
(Stonehenge, Paintbrush, Verdana and
Times New Roman) was the between-par-
ticipants factor and brand personality was
the dependent variable. For this study, we
selected specifi c type fonts as businesses
must do. According to Henderson et al
(2004) results, Stonehenge and Paintbrush
represent high natural / low harmony type
fonts and were rated by consumers as being
high engaging / low reassuring; thus, these
type fonts are expected to increase percep-
tions of excitement. Verdana and Times
New Roman represent high harmony / low
natural type fonts and were rated by con-
sumers as being high reassuring / low
engaging; thus these type fonts are expected
to increase perceptions of sincerity.
Although this study tests a smaller set of
type fonts compared with Study 1, these
type fonts were chosen from a much larger
type font data set (over 200 type fonts) as
representative of the two conditions of
interest: high / low naturalness and low / high
Participants were randomly assigned to
conditions. Each participant saw 10 fi cti-
tious brand names (Pettifer, Stephen,
Farleigh, Galloway, Timperley, Jacoby,
Leighton, Amstey, Colgrave and Oldroyd;
Doyle and Bottomley, 2004 ) presented in
one of the four type fonts. Brand names
were presented black on a white back-
ground in the same point size. Participants
evaluated the brand personality of each
brand on Aaker’s (1997) brand personality
facets: sincerity (down-to-earth, honest,
wholesome, cheerful;
= 0.88), excitement
(daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date;
= 0.86), competence (reliable, intelligent,
= 0.86), sophistication (upper
class, charming;
= 0.71) and ruggedness
(outdoorsy, tough;
= 0.63), all on fi ve-
point scales.
unique effects on brand personality percep-
tions. It also uses a new set of brand names
and considers a context in which con-
sumers evaluate the personalities of mul-
tiple brands. Since most contexts allow
consumers to form perceptions of multiple
brands (for example, brand labels of gro-
cery products, store signage at a mall), this
study increases the external validity of the
present research.
Both natural and harmonious type font
designs lead to highly desirable consumer
responses (that is, engaging, reassuring;
Henderson et al , 2004 ). Study 1 suggests
that both natural and harmonious designs
enhance personality perceptions across all
dimensions. To better understand how
natural and harmonious type font designs
infl uence brand personality perceptions and
whether there is a differential effect, Study 2
contrasts the impact of high natural / low
harmony and high harmony / low natural
design characteristics on brand personality
perceptions. Prior research has established
that natural type fonts are engaging, while
harmonious type fonts are reassuring
( Henderson et al , 2004 ). Henderson et al
(2004) empirically support that engaging
can be defi ned as interesting and emo-
tional, while reassuring is defi ned as calm,
formal, familiar and honest. If natural type
fonts are more engaging (that is, inter-
esting and emotional), they should elicit
notions of an exciting brand personality.
If harmonious type fonts are reassuring,
they should signal a sincere brand person-
ality. Sincerity and excitement are espe-
cially important in infl uencing consumer
responses to the brand ( Aaker et al , 2004 ;
Swaminathan et al , 2009 ) and explain the
most variance in brand personality ( Aaker,
1997 ).
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
In a series of ANOVAs, there was a sig-
nifi cant effect of type font on excitement
( F (3, 1046) = 2.77, P = 0.04), competence
( F (3, 1046) = 3.74, P = 0.01), sophistica-
tion ( F (3, 1046) = 7.03, P = 0.001) and
ruggedness ( F (3, 1046) = 2.83, P = 0.04),
but not sincerity ( P > 0.14). At the type
font level, Stonehenge evoked higher
levels of all personality dimensions (sin-
cerity, excitement, ruggedness, sophistica-
tion and competence). There were
signifi cant differences between Verdana
Stonehenge and Stonehenge Paintbrush in
evoking sincerity and excitement ( P = 0.03
and P = 0.01, respectively).
Of the high natural / low harmony type
fonts, only Stonehenge signifi cantly
increased excitement compared with low
natural / high harmony type fonts (Verdana,
Times New Roman). Contrary to expecta-
tions, the low natural / high harmony type
fonts did not result in higher levels of sin-
cerity perceptions. Additional analyses
show signifi cant differences between
Verdana Stonehenge in infl uencing rug-
gedness and sophistication ( P
= 0.004 and
P = 0.002, respectively). Verdana was sig-
nifi cantly lower than Stonehenge on these
personality dimensions. In infl uencing
sophistication, Verdana Times New
Roman and Times New Roman Paint-
brush differ signifi cantly ( P = 0.021 and
P = 0.002, respectively), as does Stone-
henge Paintbrush ( P < 0.001). Paintbrush
is signifi cantly less effective than Stone-
henge ( P = 0.004) and Times New Roman
( P = 0.010) in infl uencing competence.
Table 2 shows results by type font.
The effects of type font design characteris-
tics are generally consistent with Study 1:
one of the high natural / low harmony type
fonts (Stonehenge) did indeed evoke a more
differentiated brand personality profi le com-
pared with the other three type fonts. This
nding supports the results of Study 1 indi-
cating that natural design characteristics (for
example, curved, slanted, active) are sig-
nifi cant predictors of brand personality
dimensions. Interestingly, Stonehenge
affected all brand personality dimensions
despite the fact that it is low in harmony
( Henderson et al , 2004 ). In Study 1, natural-
ness also emerged as a design dimension that
predominately impacts personality percep-
tions. Perceptions created by Stonehenge
suggest that naturalness is a key driver of
brand personality perceptions, more so than
harmony. Paintbrush (the other high
natural / low harmony font), however, did
not produce these consistent results.
According to Henderson et al (2004) results,
one explanation may be that consumers
perceived Paintbrush to be less warm than
the other type fonts, possibly impacting per-
sonality perceptions. Of the four type fonts
used in this study, Paintbrush was the least
warm (3.88 / 7 pt. scale).
This dissociation of the infl uence of
naturalness and harmony parallels fi ndings
where naturalness explained most of the
variance in consumer responses related to
pleasing and engaging while harmony
explained most of the variance in consumer
responses related to reassuring ( Henderson
et al , 2004 ). Given that companies must
choose a specifi c type font, these results
suggest that it is imperative that the type
font is high in naturalness to generate
desired brand personality perceptions.
In Studies 1 and 2, brand names were
displayed in black type font on white
background. On logos, signage or business
cards, brand names are often represented in
different colors. In order to increase the
ecological validity of this research, Study 3
explores whether type font color supports
or potentially weakens perceptions evoked
by the type font.
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
of higher value enhanced attitude toward
an advertised brand, while hue (red versus
blue) and saturation did not. In research on
the impact of experimentally induced neg-
ative and positive color associations on con-
sumer attitudes toward novel brand names,
Tavassoli (2001) did not fi nd an effect; the
induced color associations did, however,
affect consumers attitude toward brands
represented by colored logographs.
Color infl uences brand personality per-
ceptions as well: Pantin-Sohier and Br é e
(2004) show that the color of packaging
affects consumers perceptions of sophisti-
cation and excitement. Aaker et al (2004)
manipulate sincere versus exciting brand
personality via web page color and type
fonts of an online service. Although these
authors do not present theoretical or empir-
ical reasons for color and font choice, their
successful manipulation of brand personality
Color infl uences response rates to colored
survey questionnaires ( Buttle and Thomas,
1997 ) and yellow pages advertisements
( Fernandez and Rosen, 2000 ), as well as
affective reactions to environments ( Bellizzi
et al , 1983 ; Bellizzi and Hite, 1992 ) . Color
research in marketing focuses on adver-
tising ( Sparkman and Austin, 1980 ;
Schindler, 1986 ; Gorn et al , 1997; Lichtl é ,
2002 ) and internet contexts ( Mandel and
Johnson, 2002 ; Chattopadhyay et al , 2004 ).
In a branding context, Bottomley and
Doyle (2006) found that blue is more
appropriate for brands with functional ben-
efi ts, while red was more appropriate for
brands with sensory-social benefi ts. Hynes
(2009) found that matching the tempera-
ture of a logo color to a fi rm s identity is
essential to creating a consistent message. A
study on the effect of hue, saturation and
value ( Gorn et al , 1997 ) suggests that colors
Table 2 : Study 2 Means and standard deviations of brand personality dimensions by font type
Personality dimension Mean SD Type Font Type Font
Sincerity 10.74 3.98 Verdana (V) *
11.57 4.26 Stonehenge (SH) *
10.88 4.09 Times (TNR)
10.75 3.78 Paintbrush (P)
Excitement 10.41 4.27 Verdana *
11.32 4.25 Stonehenge *
10.62 4.13 Times New Roman
10.28 3.97 Paintbrush
Ruggedness 5.27 2.24 Verdana **
5.82 2.14 Stonehenge
5.42 2.21 Times New Roman
5.38 2.01 Paintbrush
Sophistication 5.48 2.14 Verdana ** *
6.12 2.40 Stonehenge ***
5.81 2.27 Times New Roman **
5.33 2.12 Paintbrush
Competence 8.90 3.06 Verdana *
9.36 3.30 Stonehenge **
9.16 3.31 Times New Roman **
8.51 3.16 Paintbrush
* P < 0.05 ; ** P < 0.01 ; *** P < 0.001.
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
suggests that type font and color create or
at least reinforce brand personality. This
study therefore explores whether the color
of the type font used to display a brand
name infl uences consumers perceptions of
the brand s personality.
This research adopts a wavelength con-
ceptualization of color (see Crowley, 1993 )
and examines colors based on prior evi-
dence of color-brand associations: The lit-
erature indicates that the color red results
in higher levels of activation than the color
blue ( Crowley, 1993 ; Gorn et al , 1997 ).
Red should thus be associated with excite-
ment to a greater degree than blue ( Pantin-
Sohier and Br é e, 2004 ), green (which is
similar to blue in wavelength) and black
(control). The following investigation of
the effect of type font, color and their inter-
action on brand personality dimensions is
largely exploratory. Study 3 increases the
generalizability of the fi rst two studies
results to contexts in which consumers see
multiple brand names displayed in different
fonts and colors.
Two hundred and sixty-two North Amer-
ican undergraduate students (58 per cent
female, median age = 21) participated in a
computer-based study for partial course
credit. They were randomly assigned to
conditions in a 3 (type font set consisting
of 12 fonts) × 4 (color / hue: red [5RP5 / 8],
blue [5B6 / 8], green [5G5 / 8], black [con-
trol]) mixed design. Type font set was a
between-participants factor, while color
was a within-participants factor. Thirty-six
type fonts selected from Henderson et al
(2004) were randomly divided into three
sets of 12 type fonts. Type fonts were dis-
played in identical size on white back-
ground by means of pretested brand names
(see pretest to Study 1). Fonts were rotated
across brand names, such that any effects
are due to font and color rather than the
brand name used to display the font. For
each of the 12 fonts in a set, participants
completed the 42-item brand personality
scale ( Aaker, 1997 ): sincerity (
= 0.93),
excitement (
= 0.94), ruggedness (
= 0.90),
sophistication (
= 0.93) and competence
= 0.94). Then participants evaluated
design characteristics on items adapted from
Henderson et al (2004) based on each font s
upper and lower case alphabet. All ratings
were on seven-point scales. Finally, par-
ticipants provided information on color
vision, age and sex. These did not affect
results and are not discussed further. The
task took about 40 min to complete;
although participants were informed that
they could discontinue participation at any
time, no one exercised this option.
After removal of missing data points, the
analysis was based on 3141 complete type
font ratings. A series of regressions with
brand personality dimensions serving as
dependent variable and color (dummy
coded with black serving as baseline) and
type font characteristics (elaborate, har-
mony, natural, weight and fl ourish) as inde-
pendent variables provides a more
detailed account of the role of type font
design characteristics and color. Because
type font color interactions were not sig-
nifi cant ( P s > 0.26), they are not discussed
any further. Multicollinearity was not a
concern ( r s < 0.50, VIFs < 1.43). Table 3
summarizes the results of the main effects
Color did not affect competence and
sincerity perceptions. Ruggedness percep-
tions were enhanced by green type font
( P < 0.05), but not other colors. Sophistica-
tion perceptions signifi cantly decreased
when green type fonts was used ( P < 0.01),
but it was not affected by other colors. The
impact of the color green on ruggedness
(positive) and sophistication (negative) sug-
gests that semantic infl uences on brand
associations extend to the color of the type
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
the black font control ( P s < 0.05). Red
font did not increase excitement percep-
tions compared with blue or green
( P s > 0.69). This result is counterintuitive,
as the color red is commonly associated
with higher levels of activation (and thus
excitement) compared with other colors
font used: Green is often associated with
the outdoors; this association seems to
translate into perception of brands repre-
sented by green type font as more rugged,
but less sophisticated. Contrary to expecta-
tions, excitement was negatively affected by
the use of red and green compared with
Table 3 : Study 3 Type font design characteristics and color infl uence brand personality
Dependent variable Predictors Std. Coeffi cients t p R
Sincerity Blue 0.04 1.83 0.07 0.04 F (8, 3347)=16.83
P < 0.001 Green 0.03 1.27 0.21
Red 0.01 0.46 0.65
Elaborate 0.02 1.01 0.31
Harmony 0.14 7.42 0.000
Natural 0.16 7.51 0.000
Weight 0.02 1.03 0.30
Flourish 0.06 3.40 0.001
Excitement Blue 0.01 0.69 0.49 0.05 F
(8, 3347)=20.83
P < 0.001 Green 0.04 2.09 0.04
Red 0.04 2.05 0.04
Elaborate 0.12 5.78 0.000
Harmony 0.00 0.05 0.96
Natural 0.11 5.18 0.000
Weight 0.01 0.73 0.46
Flourish 0.05 2.58 0.01
Ruggedness Blue 0.03 1.31 0.19 0.04 F (8, 3347)=16.98
P < 0.001 Green 0.05 2.46 0.01
Red 0.04 1.99 0.05
Elaborate 0.00 0.02 0.99
Harmony 0.03 1.57 0.12
Natural 0.01 0.26 0.79
Weight 0.17 9.18 0.000
Flourish 0.04 2.40 0.02
Sophistication Blue 0.00 0.02 0.98 0.05 F (8, 3347)=21.96
P < 0.001 Green 0.07 3.39 0.001
Red 0.01 0.69 0.49
Elaborate 0.00 0.14 0.89
Harmony 0.12 6.56 0.000
Natural 0.16 7.80 0.000
Weight 0.06 3.11 0.002
Flourish 0.10 5.39 0.000
Competence Blue 0.02 0.82 0.41 0.03 F (8, 3347)=14.50
P < 0.001 Green 0.02 0.82 0.41
Red 0.03 1.34 0.18
Elaborate 0.05 2.56 0.01
Harmony 0.15 7.82 0.000
Natural 0.05 2.57 0.01
Weight 0.05 2.46 0.01
Flourish 0.07 3.98 0.000
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
( Crowley, 1993 ). Interestingly, this fi nding
converges with Pantin-Sohier and Br é e’s
(2004) result that perceptions of excitement
are negatively affected by red (versus blue)
packaging color. It is possible that the pre-
dominant use of the color red in sales signs
and fl yers has desensitized consumers to the
exciting effect of this color.
Results again showed an effect of type
font characteristics on brand personality
perceptions. Competence signifi cantly
increased for brand names printed in har-
monious, natural, heavy and fl ourish type
fonts ( P s < 0.05) but was signifi cantly
reduced by the use of elaborate type font
( P < 0.05). Sincerity was positively infl u-
enced by harmony, natural and fl ourish
( P s < 0.01). Elaborate and weight did not
infl uence perceptions of sincerity. Excite-
ment was signifi cantly increased by the type
font characteristics of elaborate, natural and
ourish ( P s < 0.01), while harmony and
weight did not have an effect. Ruggedness
was signifi cantly and positively associated
with type font weight and fl ourish
( P s < 0.05). Elaborate, harmony and nat-
ural did not affect perceptions of rugged-
ness. Sophistication perceptions decreased
by type font weight ( P < 0.01), while the
type font characteristics harmony, natural
and fl ourish increased perceptions of sophis-
tication signifi cantly ( P s < 0.001). Elabo-
rate did not have an effect.
In a multi-brand exposure context, natural,
harmony and fl ourish evoked higher levels
of most personality dimensions (specifi -
cally, competence, sincerity, sophistication).
Study 3 nevertheless points toward more
specifi c effects of type font characteristics
when consumers consider different brands
using a variety of type fonts: ruggedness
perceptions were only associated with
weight and fl ourish. In addition, weight
had an effect on competence perceptions
that had not emerged in Study 1 and
elaborate type font designs increased excite-
ment perceptions. In infl uencing other
brand personality dimensions, elaborate was
least important. Brand personality percep-
tions were infl uenced independently by
type font and color. Marketers can thus use
either type font or color, or both, to create
desired brand personality perceptions,
without too much concern about interac-
tions that could undermine a desired per-
sonality profi le. As the impact of type font
is stronger than that of color, managers may
wish to focus on type font choice before
considering color.
Three experimental studies involving 36
type fonts with varying design characteris-
tics (natural, harmony, fl ourish, elaborate
and weight) show that brand personality
perceptions (sincerity, excitement, rugged-
ness, sophistication and competence) are
infl uenced by the type font used to display
the brand name. The impact of type font
color is independent of the impact of the
type font itself. As predicted by the semantic
type font infl uence framework ( Childers
and Jass, 2002 ), consumers treat type font
characteristics and color as semantic infor-
mation that they transfer to brand personality
perceptions of novel brands. In Study 1,
harmony, natural and fl ourish emerged as
type font design dimensions predictive of
all brand personality dimensions. Study 2
further illustrates the importance of natural
and harmonious type fonts in the creation
of brand personality perceptions: The high
natural / low harmony type font, Stone-
henge, resulted in the highest level of
personality perceptions on all dimensions.
Although signifi cantly more infl uential than
the other fonts on the sincerity and
excitement dimensions, Stonehenge did
not differ from Times New Roman, the
high harmony / average natural type font;
thus, both naturalness and harmony drive
brand personality perceptions. In Study 3,
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
These fi ndings provide initial guidelines
for selection of type font characteristics to
shape brand personality perceptions: To
evoke sincerity, increase harmony, natural
and fl ourish; to create excitement, increase
elaborate, natural and fl ourish; to elicit rug-
gedness, increase weight and fl ourish; to
convey sophistication, increase harmony,
natural and fl ourish, but decrease weight;
to evoke competence, increase harmony,
natural, weight and fl ourish, but reduce
The limitations of this research opens
avenues for future inquiries: Although an
attempt was made to include a wide variety
of type fonts and multiple colors, the
number of stimuli included is relatively
limited considering the vast array of type
fonts and colors available to brand man-
agers. It should also be pointed out that
brand names appeared in isolation of
product category or brand attribute infor-
mation in this research. Although this rules
out alternative explanations for type font
and color effects on brand perceptions, the
relatively small R
2 values indicate that the
effect of type font alone may not be pow-
erful enough to differentiate brand person-
ality especially in contexts where additional
brand information is available unless it is
quite distinct or extreme. Managers should
choose type fonts that communicate desir-
able traits and augment the brand s person-
ality profi le using other design elements (for
example, color). In advertisements or on
packaging, type font and color need to
work in conjunction with other visual (for
example, product image, nutrition labels)
and semantic (for example, brand name,
product attributes) information.
This research used unfamiliar brand
names. Although three studies show that
brand personality perceptions are infl uenced
by type font characteristics, these results
may not fully extend to existing brands.
When consumers are familiar with a brand,
the impact of design characteristics is likely
naturalness emerged as the most important
driver of brand personality dimensions
(with the exception of ruggedness). As in
Studies 1 and 2, there was a signifi cant
effect of natural type fonts on sophistica-
tion, sincerity and competence. Unlike
Studies 1 and 2, however, Study 3 in
which consumers rated multiple brand
names shown in various type fonts and
colors reveals an effect of type font weight
and elaborateness. Only in Study 3 does
elaborate emerge as a signifi cant predictor
of brand personality perceptions (that is,
positive predictor of excitement and nega-
tive predictor of competence) most likely
because it differentiates exciting and com-
petent brands from other brand names seen
in the same context. Similarly, in a multi-
brand context, weight was a predictor of
ruggedness, sophistication and competence.
Since identical brand names that were
equally familiar, preferred and rotated across
fonts were used in both Studies 1 and 3,
and neutral, fi ctitious brand names were
used in Study 2, differences cannot be
explained by brand name choice. It needs
to be acknowledged, however, that differ-
ences in results of Studies 1 and 3 could be
partly due to variations in the experimental
design (evaluation of one brand in Study 1
versus evaluation of multiple brands in
Study 3) and differences in the age and
experience level of study participants (adult
consumers in Study 1 and undergraduate
students in Study 3).
Since all studies demonstrate that type
font design characteristics of natural,
ourish, and to a lesser extent, harmony,
are the most important drivers of differen-
tiated brand personality, it is advisable to
use natural, fl ourish and harmonious type
fonts to instill a brand with personality.
Additional type font characteristics, such as
weight or elaborateness, can then be
employed to further differentiate the brand
in a competitive context in terms of rug-
gedness or competence.
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
to decrease, while other brand elements (for
example, distribution, pricing, user imagery;
Batra et al , 1993 ) may become more impor-
tant. The relative impact of brand elements
requires further research, however.
Aaker , D . A . and Keller , K . L . ( 1990 ) Consumer evalu-
ations of brand extensions . Journal of Marketing
54 (1) : 27 41 .
Aaker , J . L . ( 1997 ) Dimensions of brand personality .
Journal of Marketing Research 34 (3) : 347 356 .
Aaker , J . L . , Fournier , S . and Brasel , A . ( 2004 ) When
good brands do bad . Journal of Consumer Research
31 (2) : 347 356 .
Argo , J . J . , Popa , M . and
Smith , M . C . ( 2010 ) The sound
of brands . Journal of Marketing 74 (3) : 97 109 .
Azoulay , A . and Kapferer , J . N . ( 2003 ) Do brand per-
sonality scales really measure brand personality?
Journal of Brand Management 11 (2) : 143 155 .
Bartram , D . ( 1982 ) The perception of semantic
quality in type: Differences between designers
and non-designers . Information Design Journal 3 (1) :
38 50 .
Batra , R . , Lehmann , D . R . and Singh , D . ( 1993 ) The
brand personality component of brand goodwill:
Some antecedents and consequence . In: D. Aaker
and A. Biel (eds.) Brand Equity and Advertising
. Hills-
dale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates , pp.
83 96 .
Bellizzi , J . A . , Crowley , A . E . and Hasty , R . W . ( 1983 )
The effects of color in store design . Journal of
Retailing 59 (1) : 21 46 .
Bellizzi , J . A . and Hite , R . E . ( 1992 ) Environmental
color, consumer feelings and purchase likelihood .
Psychology & Marketing 9 (5) : 347 363 .
Bottomley , P . A . and Doyle , J . R . ( 2006 )
The interactive
effects of colors and products on perceptions of
brand logo appropriateness . Marketing Theory 6 (1) :
63 83 .
Buttle , F . and Thomas , G . ( 1997 ) Questionnaire color
and mail survey response rate . Journal of the Market
Research Society 39 (4) : 625 626 .
Buttle , H . and Westoby , N . ( 2006 ) Brand logo and
name association: It’s all in the name . Applied Cog-
nitive Psychology 20 (9) : 1181 1194 .
Chattopadhyay , A . , Gorn , G . J . , Sengupta , J . and
Tripathi , S . ( 2004 ) Waiting for the web: How
screen color affects time perception . Journal of
Marketing Research
41 (2) : 215 225 .
Childers , T . L . and Jass , J . ( 2002 ) All dressed up with
something to say: Effects of typeface semantic asso-
ciations on brand perceptions and consumer
memory . Journal of Consumer Psychology 12 (2) :
93 106 .
Crowley , A . E . ( 1993 ) The two-dimensional impact
of color on shopping . Marketing Letters 4 (1) :
59 69 .
Davis , R . C . and Smith , H . J . ( 1933 ) Determinants
of feeling tone in type faces . Journal of Applied
Psychology 17 (6) : 742 764 .
Doyle , J . R .
and Bottomley , P . A . ( 2004 ) Font appro-
priateness and brand choice . Journal of Business
Research 57 (8) : 873 880 .
Fernandez , K . V . and Rosen , D . R . ( 2000 ) The effec-
tiveness of information and color in yellow pages
advertising . Journal of Advertising 29 (2) : 61 73 .
Gorn , G . J . , Chattopadhyay , A . , Yi , T . and Dahl , D . W .
( 1997 ) Effects of color as an executional cue in
advertising: They re in the shade . Management Science
43 (10) : 1387 1400 .
, M . F . and Kim , H . S . ( 2009 ) The relationship
between consumer involvement and brand percep-
tions of female cosmetic consumers . Journal of Brand
Management 17 (2) : 114 133 .
Henderson , P . W . , Giese , J . L . and Cote , J . A . ( 2004 )
Impression management using typeface design .
Journal of Marketing 68 (4) : 60 83 .
Hynes , N . ( 2009 ) Colour and meaning in corporate
logos: An empirical study . Journal of Brand Manage-
ment 16 (8) : 545 555 .
Kim , C . K . , Han , D .
and Park , S . B . ( 2001 ) The effect
of brand personality and brand identifi cation on
brand loyalty: Applying the theory of social iden-
tifi cation . Japanese Psychological Research 43 (4) :
195 206 .
Klink , R . R . ( 2000 ) Creating brand names with
meaning: The use of sound symbolism . Marketing
Letters 11 (1) : 5 20 .
Lewis , C . and Walker , P . ( 1989 ) Typographic infl u-
ences on reading . British Journal of Psychology 80 (2) :
241 257 .
Lichtl é , M . C . ( 2002 ) Color of an advertisement, pref-
erence of the individuals, and brand cognition .
D é cision Marketing 26 (1)
: 29 36 .
Mandel , N . and Johnson , E . J . ( 2002 ) When web pages
infl uence choice: Effects of visual primes on experts
and novices . Journal of Consumer Research 29 (2) :
235 245 .
McCarthy , M . S . and Mothersbaugh , D . L . ( 2002 )
Effects of typographic factors in advertising-based
persuasion: A general model and initial empirical
tests . Psychology and Marketing 19 (7/8) : 663 691 .
Opoku , R . , Abratt , R . and Pitt , L . ( 2006 ) Communi-
cating brand personality: Are the websites doing the
talking for the top South African Business Schools?
Journal of Brand Management 14 (1/2) : 20 39 .
Pan , Y . and Schmitt , B . H . ( 1996 ) Language and brand
attitudes: Impact of script and sound matching in
Chinese and English . Journal of Consumer Psychology
5 (3) : 263 277 .
Pantin-Sohier , G . and Br é e , J . ( 2004 ) L Infl uence de
la couleur du produit sur la perception des traits de
personnalit é de la marque . Revue Fran ç aise du Mar-
keting 196 (1) : 19 32 .
Grohmann et al
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Brand Management , advance online publication ,
27 January ; doi: 10.1057/bm.2011.62 .
Sparkman , R . and Austin , L . M . ( 1980 ) The effect on
sales of color in newspaper advertisements . Journal
of Advertising 9 (4) : 39 42 .
Stuart , H . and Muzellec , L . ( 2004 ) Corporate makeo-
vers: Can a hyena be rebranded . Journal of Brand
Management 11 (6) : 472 482 .
Swaminathan , V . , Stilley , K . M . and Ahluwalia , R .
( 2009 ) When brand personality matters: The mod-
erating role of attachment styles . Journal of Consumer
Research 35 (6) : 985 1002
Tantillo , J . , Di Lorenzo-Aiss , J . and Mathisen , R . E .
( 1995 ) Quantifying perceived differences in type
styles: An exploratory study . Psychology and Mar-
keting 12 (5) : 447 457 .
Tavassoli , N . T . ( 2001 ) Color memory and evaluations
for alphabetic and logographic brand names . Journal
of Experimental Psychology: Applied 7 (2) : 104 111 .
Zaichkowsky , J . ( 2010 ) Strategies for distinctive brands .
Journal of Brand Management 17 (8) : 548 560 .
Park , J . K . and John , D . R . ( 2010 ) Got to get you into
my life: Do brand personalities rub off on
consumers? Journal of Consumer Research 37 (6) :
655 669 .
Ramaseshan , B . and Tsao , H . Y . ( 2007 ) Moderating
effects of the brand concept on the relationship
between brand personality and perceive
quality . Journal of Brand Management 14 (6) : 458
466 .
Rowe , C . L . ( 1982 ) The connotative dimensions of
selected display typefaces . Information Design Journal
1 (1) : 30 37 .
Samu , S . and Krishnan , S . ( 2010 ) Brand related infor-
mation as context: The impact of brand character-
istics on memory and choice . Journal of the Academy
of Marketing Science 38 (4) : 456 470 .
Schindler , P . S .
( 1986 ) Color and contrast in magazine
advertising . Psychology & Marketing 3 (2) : 69 78 .
Schmitt , B . and Zhang , S . ( 2012 ) Selecting the right
brand name: An examination of tacit and explicit
linguistic knowledge in name translations . Journal of
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-23IX Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 5, 389–403
Type fonts and brand personality
Table A1 : Illustrative examples of type fonts and brand personality perceptions they evoke
Studies 1 and 3: Type fonts and dominant associated personality dimensions
Study 2: Type fonts differing in natural / harmony and resulting brand personality profi le
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without
... Logos cannot stand alone, but must gel with an organisation's visual identity. Visual identity is established through visual components such as (1) the logo shape (Fajardo et al., 2016;Jiang et al., 2016), (2) logo symmetry (Airey, 2009;Bajaj & Bond, 2014van Grinsven & Das, 2016), (3) the colours (Bottomley & Doyle, 2006;Hynes, 2009;Labrecque & Milne, 2012), and (4) typefaces (Foroudi et al., 2017;Grohmann et al., 2013;Henderson et al., 2004). The visual elements can appear on various formats including promotional material, packaging, letterheads, clothing, and stationery (Bajaj & Bond, 2014). ...
... A final important aspect of branding, which I examined in this research, what the typefaces used by the organisations. Typefaces should be readable (Grohmann et al., 2013), "dress" written words (Foroudi et al., 2017, p. 181), and "directly convey meaning to readers" (Childers & Jass, 2002, p. 95). In this study, I examined the fonts used: (i) whether they were serif or sans-serif, vertical or slanted, symmetrical or not, as well as the used of uppercase and lowercase. ...
Full-text available
This research aimed to establish how two community-based organisations (CBOs) in inner city Johannesburg used communication to build political power in their political networks. As such, I explored theories on building, shaping, and transforming networks of power, especially with reference to Latour, and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of an assemblage. Assemblages are underpinned by the desire to make connections and therefore Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of desire is helpful in revealing the connections between different elements of political communication. The departure point for this research was to examine how CBOs use political communication in networks of power or to generate networks of power. The research examined flows of communication among CBO members, their communities, and other audiences, using an a political communication machine/assemblage. The machine has five components, which were explored in depth in the chapters of this thesis. They are: desire, framing, aesthetics, communication tools and audiences. Desire is not a lack but the creative, productive impetus for the organisations; using this theory to explore the two CBOs communications led to insights into the not only the material outputs and conditions of communication, but also both the rational and affective qualities of that communication. In terms of the study of communication, the conceptual framework allowed for the study of the different components working together to generate a communication flow, instead of simply relying on a static study of frames, or tools, or aesthetics or audiences. As such, the study reveals the dynamism in CBO political communication. Previous studies of South African CBOs have mentioned that before CBOs protest, they undertake extensive efforts to communicate with government; however, the previous studies did not elucidate what these extensive efforts consisted of, so this study has provided rich detail for further exploring the dynamic. The two CBOs were markedly different in their structure and their efforts to communicate. The Inner City Resource Centre (ICRC), which tackles housing issues in the inner city, was well funded, and had offices. Their communication efforts were highly effective at building and retaining its core membership. However, they were not successful in connecting with the City of Johannesburg, because the city had locked them out of participatory spaces. One Voice of All Hawkers Association (One Voice) was highly fractious, some members exhibited micro-fascisms, and the organisation ran in somewhat of a haphazard pattern in its efforts to protect street traders. However, they were highly successful at micro-local politics, using subterfuge to undermine the city’s trader administration system and preventing traders from being evicted. One Voice also sustained a large membership base over a long period of time, and this was mainly based on one-on-one communication. Their success was not based on a powerful political communication machine, but instead on the way they opportunistically managed micro-local circumstances. The study showed that an effective political communication machine was important for growing solidarity networks. However, large parts of government could not be reached, regardless of what communication strategies the organisations deployed, since participatory governance spaces were either closed off or inaccessible.
... Beyond images and their positioning, the typeface used on packaging, which is considered a 'medium with their own message' (Henderson, Giese and Cote, 2004, p.70), has been utilised in managing consumers' brand impressions. Using appropriate typeface can influence how consumers perceive a brand's personality, and may influence whether a brand is seen as sincere, sophisticated, competent, or rugged (Grohmann, Giese and Parkman, 2013). There is extensive extant literature focussed on graphics on packaging, exploring whether, where and how images should be used, image positioning, the effects of typeface and lexicon, and the selection here indicates the effects various graphical features may have on the wider perceptions of a product. ...
This thesis explores the use and effects of maximisers when included within Health and Nutrition (H&N) claims on food product packaging, with direct relevance for industry practice. Four separate studies were carried out in support of this thesis, one field study and three online experimental studies. The effects of the maximiser language device were investigated through an online field experiment, conducted through the Facebook Ads Manager platform, with the results demonstrating that the use of maximisers has a positive effect on product likeability among Facebook users. The first online experimental study then demonstrated the informality features of maximisers, and highlighted the importance of consumer perceived congruence bet ween the language used in advertising a product and the retail environment in which the product is encountered. Results from this study showed that the used of maximisers in H&N claims has a positive direct effect on product likeability. The second online experimental study extended on the concept of perceived congruence from the first online study, investigating the congruence between the use of language and customer comments and reviews, and its effect on perceptions of and purchase intentions towards a product. The study demonstrated the sincerity and affirmation features of maximisers, and showed the interaction of these features with online reviews, with the presence of maximisers having a moderating influence of product perceptions when bad reviews are present. The third and final online experimental study tested the effect of maximisers in a realistic setting, investigating the effects of cognitive load on evaluations of and purchase intentions towards a product. The findings showed maximisers work effectively when consumers are cognitively available, with a reversed effect apparent when consumers are subjected to a high cognitive load. The findings from the experimental studies have potential for impact in industry practice in the marketing and advertising of food products, and for the design of food packaging, as well as for policy-makers aiming to protect consumers and consumer interests related to food advertising.
... image might bring to mind a natural element such as a leaf or a tree or a plant/herb however in an elegantly veiled way. The naming shall immediately allow to decode its elements of na-(nature) -nutris (nutrition, nurturing). Digitally handwritten font associates the naming with certain level of liberty, naturality, carefreeness, relax, modernity.(Grohmann & Giese, 2012) The earthy, brownish color is peaceful, harmonious and additionally strengthens the natural connotations.(McCormick, 2021) Logotype C follows a mass market aspirational convention of beauty category identification. It is modern, yet not specifically attention grabbing. Grey scale and skin colors strengthen the normative, mid-market visu ...
Full-text available
Executive summary This dissertation is studying the cultural implication of e-consumers behavior relating to sustainable (eco-friendly) products purchase behavior within the e-commerce environment exploiting such theorems as the Consumer Culture Theory, the Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, the Meyer’s Culture Map, the Cue Consistency Theory, the Controlled Behavior Theory and the Smart Nudging Theory as well as well-established visual perception associations in regards to colors, typefacing, lines, space, merchandising and advertising practice off- and online, in the context of differences between chosen countries (France, Poland and the United States). The main motivation of this study is the observation that businesses and individuals struggle to capitalize on their eco-awareness and action it to their benefit. The main question that arises from such an observation is – why consumers struggle to consume in an environmentally friendly manner and how to effectively motivate businesses to expand their efforts in this direction? One of the most evident answers might be hidden within the most primal responses of our brains related to the vision, perception mechanisms and environmental priming. Exploration of this field may allow businesses to understand how they could break through the greenwashing clutter and trigger environmentally friendly purchase behavior through applying the most vital approach to the eco visual positioning of their product offerings online. Conductive to managerial implications of closing the intent-to-behavior gap through deepening the business, scientific learnings of consumer visual perception and behavior in continuously expanding online solutions environment, several state-of-the-art tools were employed in this intercultural thesis research of green e-marketing best practices, such as Shopify based online store simulation, Facebook advertising, shop and community management, advanced Google Analytics or Hotjar heatmaps, complemented with a research survey and independence tests of hypothesis. Eventually, we have to agree that the cross-cultural or better expressed - cross-market – differences, even in seemingly homogenous, western countries strongly exist and persist, despite the globalization, thus we shall put our utmost, business wise attention to creating and diffusing not only a culturally suitable eco visual content but also already at the stage of designing our products and packaging, we should be having the target market cultures in mind, especially if our touchpoint resides within the internetscape along with its opportunities and limitations.
... Typeface design is crucial for branding (Henderson et al., 2004) as typeface and font can convey a wide range of different brand associations and meanings such as product attributes (Childers & Jass, 2002;de Sousa et al., 2020;Gupta & Hagtvedt, 2021;Liu et al., 2019;Schroll et al., 2018;Velasco, Hyndman, et al., 2018;Venkatesan et al., 2020), product category (Doyle & Bottomley, 2004Wang et al., 2020;Zhou et al., 2021), brand personality (Grohmann et al., 2013;Mackiewicz & Moeller, 2004), brand gender (Grohmann, 2016), brand premiumness (Yu et al., 2021), purchase intention (Mead et al., 2020), and even exotic, or national, associations (Celhay et al., 2015). ...
We investigate whether the typeface used to display the purchase amount in the context of mobile payment influences consumers’ awareness of spending. The evidence suggests that prices displayed in angular (vs. round) typeface increase the awareness of spending in the context of mobile payment via the perceived harshness of the typeface and the experienced pain of payment (Studies 1-3, 5, and 6). Angular (vs. round) typeface also has downstream consequences for payment behavior, indicating that the amount displayed with the angular typeface increases the hesitation to press the “pay” button (Studies 2 and 6). Our results also demonstrate that the typeface effect on the awareness of spending is moderated by the purchase amount (Study 3). The robust typeface effect documented for Japanese participants (Studies 1-3) is not observed in North Americans (Studies 4 and 5), highlighting the role of culture. Finally, we replicate the price typeface effect (Studies 1-3) in a situation that is closer to the context of real mobile shopping and demonstrate that price typeface impact people’s willingness to spend on the next grocery shop (Study 6). Our research contributes to the scarce literature on addressing the the profligacy issues associated with mobile payments and broadly cashless payments.
... For example, it has been demonstrated that preference judgments are influenced by the circularity or angularity of a logo (Jiang et al., 2016), its typographic character (Grohmann et al., 2013), its asymmetry (Luffarelli et al., 2019) and its orientation (Zhong et al., 2018; for a review see Kim & Lim, 2019). In addition, Philiastides and Ratcliff (2013) showed that logos and brands can have a great influence on decision-making processes as they can affect our choices if present on a specific clothing. ...
Full-text available
Social distancing and isolation have been imposed to contrast the spread of COVID‐19. The present study investigates whether social distancing affects our cognitive system, in particular the processing of different types of brand logos in different moments of the pandemic spread in Italy. In a size discrimination task, six different logos belonging to three categories (letters, symbols, and social images) were presented in their original format and spaced. Two samples of participants were tested: one just after the pandemic spread in Italy, the other one after 6 months. Results showed an overall distancing effect (i.e., spaced stimuli are processed slower than original ones) that interacted with the sample, revealing a significant effect only for participants belonging to the second sample. However, both groups showed a distancing effect modulated by the type of logo as it only emerged for social images. Results suggest that social distancing behaviors have been integrated in our cognitive system as they appear to affect our perception of distance when social images are involved. In this manuscript, we investigate the possibility that the social distancing imposed to contrast the spread of COVID‐19 affected our cognitive system. We focused on the processing of commercial logos presented originally and spaced. Results showed that the social distancing behaviors imposed have been integrated in our cognitive system since it affects our perception of distancing processing when social images are involved.
... Results show that, among the others, the dimension of sophistication highlighted polarised perceptions with purple, pink and black hues eliciting positive implicit associations whereas the orange hue pointed to a negative connotation. On a similar line of thought, Grohmann and Giese [7] showed how sophistication judgments may be influenced by coloured fonts, with black resulting significant in comparison with red, blue or green. Pivoting on the concept of perceived sophistication, according to these lines of evidence, we select the black colour as the reference hue associated with high sophistication, namely elegance and charm (see also Aaker [6]). ...
Conference Paper
The present study was aimed at exploring how different combinations of price tag colours can influence consumer approach, arousal, and price visibility. An experimental investigation was set out to compare individual responses to two different hues conveying different degrees of perceived sophistication, excitement, and visual salience. Specifically, cortical responses were processed to calculate an index of individual approach-withdrawal. Cardiac responses were tracked to assess sympathetic activations. Behavioural measures were related to instinctive nonverbal responses and included ocular behaviours, through eye-tracking, used as a measure of visual salience. Cortical activations showed how black labels affected positively the observer. Sophisticated price displays were connected to positive initial impressions towards the visual stimulus. Orange hues tended to elicit higher physiological arousal and visual salience, pointing to a signaling role effective to generate a sense of alertness.
... Typefaces resembling handwriting on packaging create an immediate emotional connection between consumers and products as they imply a human presence that promotes warm feelings (Schroll et al., 2018). More excessive style typefaces that may have long or decorated serif going beyond the usual or necessary degree drive consumers to perceive products as more luxurious (Grohmann et al., 2013). ...
Full-text available
This study examines how retailers can capitalize on the packaging design for multitier private brands to drive positive consumer responses. We shed light on cognitive and affective consumer responses in relation to consumers' visual processing, price-consciousness, and perception of retailer-private brand congruity. The results of two studies, a pilot test, and a post-hoc test with US consumers confirm that premium packaging design has a strong, positive impact on brand equity and consumer choice of private brands over national brands, through quality perception (i.e., cognitive response) and perceived hedonism (i.e., affective response). The impacts of packaging design on consumer responses are conditional such that packaging design influences those with a high or medium level of visual processing (i.e., a consumer characteristic), but not those with a low level of visual processing. Furthermore, we show when the premium packaging may not be preferred by showing that the moderating effects of visual processing are conditional upon the level of price-consciousness and retailer-private brand congruity. As one of the first studies on this topic, these insights advance the literature and help retailers develop and tailor implementations of their private brands.
Considerable research has demonstrated the positive effects of handwritten font styles on product attachment and word-of-mouth behavior. However, few studies examined whether these positive effects can be mitigated or even reversed. The purpose of this study is to fill this knowledge gap by identifying several boundary conditions (communal orientation, message type, and hotel type) for the positive effects of handwritten font styles. We conducted two quasi-experimental studies. In Study 1 ( n = 125), the positive effect of handwritten font styles on attitude toward a hotel was not observed among individuals with a low communal orientation. In Study 2 ( n = 245), the handwritten (vs. machine-written) font styles in the sustainability messages of a luxury hotel reduce warmth of the hotel. Hospitality managers should use handwritten font styles carefully depending on hotel type, message type, and customer characteristics.
Full-text available
Introduction The fact that we live in a consumer society causes us to face more brands. It is precisely at this point that more brands, more visual data and as a consequence more logos get imprinted into our minds. Considering Neuromarketing, those visual elements leave their marks on our brains through communicating with them. People, taking their personality traits and interests into consideration, adopt the objects they see or ignore and just imbed them into their subconscious mind. The goal of a company is to be imprinted into the mind of customers and create loyal customers attached to the company. Companies wishing to build customer loyalty take advantage of symbols expressing their own corporate image and identity. Therefore, companies make use of logos telling who they are and expressing their image. A logo can be defined as a symbol, graphic mark or colour and an important Neuromarketing and awareness tool revealing the character of a company. It appears that logo is an element, which is regarded important and creates "awareness" in the concept of competition. It would also be correct to explain logo as a mental projection because the visual input transferred from eyes to brain is recalled and imprinted into our minds where it is interpreted and perceived. The main issue important here is to answer the question: "What is the process of selecting the right logo?" Every company has its own character, marketing image, products and customer portfolio. It is therefore necessary for a logo to meet those differences. When the logo is considered as the visual face of a brand, it is the first sign customers see before they get acquainted with company's products/services. When we go through existent literature, logo is related to a variety of concepts ranging from creation of corporate identity and raising awareness to impact on brand attitude and changing buying behaviour of customers in different age groups. Although it is not possible to assert that logo is the only factor affecting all those concepts, much research conducted revealed its significant impact on them. The logo speeds up the decision-making process and helps customers to make quicker decisions especially when they feel undecided and have brand loyalty. It is necessary to acknowledge that the symbol which is expected to represent the brand image maybe for centuries should be selected after a right decision making process. A logo is not only a shape but also a symbol, which represents the image of a company, a place where customers and companies come together and make a difference in competition. In brief, this study aims to highlight the importance of logo selection for companies as it would affect company image for years and it is therefore necessary for successful companies to have successful logos.
Full-text available
This article explores the role that color can play in building brand meaning with two experiments. Without prior conditioning, we demonstrate how an appropriately chosen color for a brand name (logo) can bring inherent and immediate value to a brand. Experiment 1 explores the notion of congruity, showing that it is more appropriate for functional products to be presented in functional colors, and sensorysocial products in sensory-social colors. Experiment 2 examines the effect of red and blue on brands of products that can be classified as both functional and sensory-social, and the ability of color to enhance a brand's desired image. When people know how brands are attempting to position themselves, people consider colors congruent with those positions to be more appropriate.
Full-text available
When consumers use brands with appealing personalities, does the brand's personality "rub off" on them? The answer is yes, but only for consumers who hold certain beliefs about their personality. Entity theorists perceive themselves to be better looking, more feminine, and more glamorous after using a Victoria's Secret shopping bag (study 1) and more intelligent, more of a leader, and harder working after using an MIT pen (study 2); incremental theorists are unaffected. In two subsequent studies, we find that entity theorists use brands with appealing personalities to signal their positive qualities, thereby enhancing self-perceptions in line with the brand's personality. These findings implicate implicit self-theories as a key factor in understanding how brand experiences affect consumers. (c) 2010 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
Full-text available
Alors que de nombreuses études se sont intéressées à l’attribution de traits de personnalité de la marque, peu se sont interrogées sur la complexité du processus de formation de la personnalité de la marque. À l’instar de David Aaker (1996) et Jennifer Aaker (1997), qui ont avancé l’idée d’interdépendance entre les attributs physiques de la marque et sa personnalité, cet article s’attache à montrer l’influence d’une caractéristique visuelle du produit – la couleur – sur la perception des traits de personnalité de la marque. Les résultats de l’étude empirique, conduite dans le cadre de cette recherche, valident sans conteste l’hypothèse selon laquelle la couleur a un rôle déterminant dans la formation des traits de personnalité, surtout lorsqu’il s’agit d’un produit nouveau.
Although a considerable amount of research in personality psychology has been done to conceptualize human personality, identify the “Big Five” dimensions, and explore the meaning of each dimension, no parallel research has been conducted in consumer behavior on brand personality. Consequently, an understanding of the symbolic use of brands has been limited in the consumer behavior literature. In this research, the author develops a theoretical framework of the brand personality construct by determining the number and nature of dimensions of brand personality (Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness). To measure the five brand personality dimensions, a reliable, valid, and generalizable measurement scale is created. Finally, theoretical and practical implications regarding the symbolic use of brands are discussed.
A mall-intercept study recruited 601 subjects in three cities who viewed simulated Yellow Pages ads for florists or caterers. Ad information was either generally stated or specific to the product involved. Ads either did or did not contain color. Color was used to attract attention to the ad or else to enhance product appearance. Subjects selected an initial consideration set and a final set of ads to call. Ads with product-specific information were more likely to be considered and called. Findings showed that ads with color were more likely to be considered, but only using product-enhancing color increased chances that an ad would be called. Ads that used enhancing color in a manner that substantiated verbal claims were most likely to be called first.
Although a considerable amount of research in personality psychology has been done to conceptualize human personality, identify the ''Big Five'' dimensions, and explore the meaning of each dimension, no parallel research has been conducted in consumer behavior on brand personality, Consequently, an understanding of the symbolic use of brands has been limited in the consumer behavior literature. In this research, the author develops a theoretical framework of the brand personality construct by determining the number and nature of dimensions of brand personality (Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness). Tc, measure the five brand personality dimensions, a reliable, valid, and generalizable measurement scale is created. Finally, theoretical and practical implications regarding the symbolic use of brands are discussed.
This study tested the effects of red and blue in a shopping-related context. Red and blue were selected because of their opposite color properties. Prior color research has shown that red is perceived as negative and tense as well as physically arousing. Blue, on the other hand, has been identified as calm, cool, and positive. Two laboratory experiments were conducted. In both experiments, retail environments were simulated using predominately red or blue colors. Both experiments corroborate the differential effects of red and blue that prior research suggested. Specifically, more positive retail outcomes occurred in blue rather than red environments. More simulated purchases, fewer purchase postponements, and a stronger inclination to shop and browse were found in blue retail environments. The second experiment helps to identify a plausible explanation to color effects. The results indicate that the affective perception of color rather than the arousal dimension of color may be responsible for the outcome. The positive effects of blue and the negative perception of red may have influenced the results. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
We examine decision makers’ use of tacit linguistic intuitions and explicit linguistic knowledge for brand name translations from English to Chinese. We present a market study, which reveals that managers intuitively use linguistic sound and meaning characteristics, that is, which sounds and meanings best fit for the Chinese translation of the English names. A subsequent experiment shows that generalized types of existing name approaches (that is, whether the names are translated based on sound or based on meaning) are employed as explicit benchmark standards for new names. The results of the two studies suggest that brand naming is a process that involves accessing deeply engrained linguistic structures, as well as explicit linguistic knowledge and rules. We suggest directions for future research on name translation and discuss practical applications of our findings.