The contingent nature of the symbolic associations of visual design elements: The case of brand logo frames

Tatiana M. Fajardo, Jiao Zhang, Michael Tsiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examines how situational factors influence the symbolic associations generated from visual design elements and their downstream consequences in terms of consumption intent. Specifically, this research focuses on a common and yet little studied brand design element: logo frames. The authors propose that a logo frame may be perceived as either protecting or confining, depending on the level of risk associated with a purchase. A high perception of risk increases the accessibility of a logo frame's association with protection and increases purchase intent, whereas a low perception of risk increases the accessibility of a logo frame's association with confinement and decreases purchase intent. The authors also propose that the logo frame effect may, under certain situations, extend to secondary brand identifiers (e.g., brand slogans) but will not extend to elements unrelated to brand identity (e.g., product descriptions). Six studies provide support for these propositions. The findings of this research contribute to the literature on symbolic associations by demonstrating the contingent nature of the symbolic associations triggered from a visual design element and by showing that design features can mitigate (and under certain circumstances reverse) the negative effect of increased risk perceptions on purchase intent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-566
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Branding
  • Motivated processing
  • Risk perceptions
  • Visual design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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