BUILDING BLOCK dimensional to 8-level


cross-culture research

Osgood (1960) showed with his research that the difference between cultures was not as big as people thought. Participants from three different countries (and cultures) were asked to link emotions to form descriptive words (such as thick, thin, horizontal, vertical, up, down, etc …). It turned out that 90% percent of the links in all three countries corresponded. The 10% of the links that differed were most likely due to translation problems.

Direction of impressionist and expressionist paintings

Research into the orientation of Impressionist or Expressionist paintings shows that expressionism, with mainly portraits and still lives as the subject, has a majority of vertical paintings. While impressionism, with landscapes or outer views as an important subject, counts the most horizontal paintings. Verticality has deeper subjects than horizontal. “They sought around with the eye and not in the mysterious depths of the mind.” Gauguin, about the superficial representation of reality among the Impressionists.
(Alpaerts, 1980)

Effect of horizontality and verticality

Simonds (1983) connects horizontality in landscapes with a positive feeling that has a calming effect. Horizontality as a sign of the ‘good life’. While verticality of composition, goes mentally deeper and shows more suited for serious subjects.

Verticality in product labels and shelves as a metaphorical cue to quality

This study investigates how subtle visual cues related to the design of a product’s package (i.e., label position) and the context (i.e., shelf orientation) influence consumer evaluation and behavioral intention. Extending research on metaphorical cues, Study 1 shows that consumers perceive a product as more powerful when the label on the package is placed in a higher (vs. lower) vertical position. Extending the focus from package design to the display context of packages, Study 2 shows that consumer perception of a product’s power is similarly enhanced when the package is placed on a shelf that is vertically (vs. horizontally) orientated. Across both studies effects of enhanced power perception extend to positively influence product quality inferences and behavioral intentions. These findings add to current knowledge on metaphorical cues in package design and the package’s presentation context and offer insights into the underlying mechanism.

(Machiels & Orth, 2017)