Industrial markets are generally associated with objective decision-making in which rational and functional product benefits are central. Recently, however, subjective aspects of decision-making, such as visual appeal, are attracting research attention. The purpose of this paper is to examine, first, the effect of product color as a non-functional design element on attitude toward the product and, second, the underlying causal relationships of this effect in the context of industrial products.
The authors conducted an online quasi-experiment in the dental market with a sample of 300 dentists. The product stimulus was a picture of a treatment chair that varied in color. An analysis of variance tested the effect of product color on attitude. Structural equation modeling investigated the underlying effects of product evaluation.
The results indicate that product color affects attitude toward the product. Further, the authors find an insightful causal chain of direct and indirect effects on attitude. The most effective path runs via visual appeal and aesthetics, while haptics and functionality are of minor importance.
This paper is one of the first to provide empirical evidence for the effect of non-functional design elements such as product color on the evaluation of an industrial product. The results provide valuable insights into the effects on attitude in this context and stress the great importance of visual appeal and aesthetics in the product evaluation process.
Wiedmann, K., Haase, J., Bettels, J. and Reuschenbach, C. (2019), "It’s not all about function: investigating the effects of visual appeal on the evaluation of industrial products using the example of product color", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-07-2017-1524Download as .RIS
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