Research from Boston’s Carroll School of Management looks at the effects of incomplete typefaces on consumer perception.
Starbucks’ new logo has virtually erased all references to coffee and it’s name. IBM has a logo that is almost transparent. Visual artist-turned marketing researcher Henrik Hagtvedt surveyed 500 people by exposing them to a sequence of logos where either the name of the company or portions of the logo design were removed. His research uncovered that “incompleteness” has contradictory effects on consumer perception.
While intentional perceptual ambiguity can be seen as a creative strategy, it also risks the clarity of a brand’s communication:
“The findings suggest that firms should avoid incomplete typeface logos if perceptions of trustworthiness are critical, or if their customers are likely to have a prevention focus. However, such logos may be successfully employed with promotion-focused consumers, and they may be used as a tool to position a firm as innovative.”
While artists have successfully employed this universal design principle effectively in the 20th century, brands ought to be clear on the application of incompleteness in their design work as it might shape precarious responses in consumers.
[via innovations report]