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Too thin to be cute: the influence of letter height-to-width ratio on consumer perception

Zhipeng Xie (School of Economics and Business Administration, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Tao Wang (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Jing Zhao (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Huanyu Qin (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 22 December 2022




This study aims to test the possible correlation between the letter height-to-width ratio and consumers’ perception of cuteness.


Through the design of three groups of experimental questionnaires, this paper carried out experiments on subjects with different professional backgrounds.


The result shows that perceived cuteness is only beneficial for consumers who adopt communal relationship (rather than exchange relationship) with the brand. Compared to consumers who adopt communal relationship with brands, letters of lower height-to-width ratio are perceived as cuter and thus more preferable than thinner ones, whereas for consumers who adopt exchange relationship with brands, thinner letters are preferred.

Research limitations/implications

To rule out interference, this study focuses only on the height-to-width ratio of the letters. In the future, researchers can pay more attention to the mobility of brand relationships, consumers’ reading strategy and logos’ visual elements that influence consumers’ brand perception (besides height-to-width ratio).

Practical implications

The research reminds scholars that the height-to-width ratio of letters/logos is not only of aesthetic value but also imposes a great impact on consumer perception. And the result of this research explains the contradiction in consumers’ preference for wide vs thin letter shapes and provides evidence for the interaction between brand relationship norms and letter preferences.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research is the first to explore the influence of letter height-to-width ratio in marketing.



Funding: This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 72072134, 71532011 and 71702189).


Xie, Z., Wang, T., Zhao, J. and Qin, H. (2022), "Too thin to be cute: the influence of letter height-to-width ratio on consumer perception", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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