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© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Simple line segments and shapes convey emotional meaning, with rounder shapes being linked with positive emotions and generally preferred over more angular shapes. We assessed the hypothesis that brand components - specifically typeface and logo symbol - with similar scores on visual analogue scales (anchored by sound/shape symbolic stimuli) would be associated with a higher frequency of positive emotions. We also evaluated whether roundness or angularity were correlated with positively valenced emotions. Nine different brand logos were tested; each was separated into its logo symbol and typeface. Half of the 80 participants rated the logotype while the other half rated the logo symbol using a variety of shape symbolism scales. The participants were also asked to choose the emotions that they associated with each of the brands from a list of 20 emotions. Brand components that presented (dis-) similar scores in terms of the shape symbolism scales were coded as (in-) congruent. Those brands with more congruent scores also presented more positive as compared with negative emotions. These results support the view that more congruent design elements in brand logos can give rise to higher emotional engagement. They also help to explain the way in which consumers perceive brands.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Brand Management

Publication Date





635 - 649