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Multi‐modal visual experience of brand‐specific automobile design

Anders Warell (Affect – The Centre for Affective Design Research, Institute of Design for Industry and Environment, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




This paper presents a questionnaire study of brand‐specific perceptions of automotive design using subjective rating methods. The purpose of the paper is to explore the multiple modalities of the visual product experience of automobile design as perceived by the general public. Furthermore, the experiences were analysed using a framework for visual product experience (VPE).


Respondents were asked to assess the design of two car models at an international car show in relation to brand perceptions and visually perceived attributes using, among other tools, visual analogue scales. Analysis was done using a qualitative technique.


Results from the study indicate that there is a correlation/relation between experiential modes, in that respondents tended to rate attributes consistently high or low across modes. This implies that if the aesthetics are not perceived as favourable, neither is the expression of the car. Furthermore, respondents' assessments of aesthetic appeal and expression are on an average strikingly similar, suggesting that the level of aesthetic appeal correlates with the level of semantic understanding of the design. The general rating of emotional response follows a similar consistent pattern for the two studied cars.


Study approach as a way to gain insights into subjective perceptions of products based on appreciation and interpretation of visual product form. VPE framework recognising, mapping and clarifying the multiple modes of the visual experience.



Warell, A. (2008), "Multi‐modal visual experience of brand‐specific automobile design", The TQM Journal, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 356-371.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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