Package Graphic Design: Investigating the Variables that Moderate Consumer Response to Atypical Designs
Franck Celhay and Jean François Trinquecoste
Originally published: September 1, 2014 (PDMA JPIM • Vol 32, Issue 6 • November 2015)
Read time: 36 minutes
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Designers and marketing managers often agree that visual codes, in terms of product and package design, typify certain product categories. These “category‐based visual codes” refer to the formal and graphic characteristics most frequently seen in a given category, like specific shapes, colors, materials, typefaces, layouts, and illustrations. Given that the concept of “category‐based visual codes” seems to be connected with the concepts of “perceived typicality,” “cognitive categories,” “family resemblance,” and “design newness,” this research examines the impact of typicality/atypicality judgments regarding the visual appearance of a product on consumers' aesthetic appreciation and purchase intent. Several studies have sought to determine the relationships among design perceived typicality, aesthetic appreciation, and purchase intent. However, the literature indicates contradictory results. While some studies have shown a preference for the most typical design, others have demonstrated that consumers prefer moderately atypical design. This paper offers an explanation for this discrepancy by providing evidence that the relationships among design perceived typicality, aesthetic appreciation, and purchase intent are a case of moderated mediation. An empirical study using wine labels was conducted with 780 respondents. The results indicate that the relationships among perceived typicality, aesthetic appreciation, and purchase intent are linear and positive, although several individual variables have a moderating effect. Thus, it appears that certain consumer segments are more likely to appreciate atypical packages. Moreover, the level of perceived risk at the time of purchase also plays an essential role. Consumers are more apt to accept atypical packaging when the perceived risk is low. Several theoretical and managerial implications are drawn from these results.