Understanding the 2.5th dimension: modelling the graphic language of products

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Recognizing a product of a specific brand without seeing the logo is difficult. But for companies it is important to distinguish themselves from competitors with a consistent portfolio, which will be easily recognized by their target consumers. The recognition of brands and their associated brand values can take place in different ways. In this paper a framework is discussed to analyze a brand at different levels of graphical dimensions. The proposed framework distinguishes the difference between graphics (2D), such as a logo or a text; form and shape elements (3D); and everything in-between (2,5D), which we will call ‘graphical elements’. Examples of such graphical elements are the protruding letters on a beer bottle of Grolsch, the characteristic grill of a car or the illuminated apple in a Mac Book. The framework, based on the work of Karjalainen & Warell, was developed further within an educational setting. In an elective master course, students developed a product for a specific brand using the most remarkable design features of the brand. The results of the course showed that modelling the 2.5th dimension of the products actually had a great impact on the translation of the brand values of the analyzed brands into new designs. The integration of these ‘graphical elements’ is often underexposed, but this paper shows that they can play an important role in the recognition of a brand and its brand values.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign Education for Creativity and Business Innovation: 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
EditorsAhmed Kovacevic, William Ion, Christopher McMahon
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherThe Design Company
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781904670339
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2011
Event13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E&PDE 2011: Design Education for Creativity and Business Innovation - London City University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 20119 Sep 2011
Conference number: 13

Publication series

PublisherDesign Society


Conference13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E&PDE 2011
Abbreviated titleE&PDE
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • IR-81945
  • brand identity
  • design semantics
  • METIS-278295
  • Visual recognition
  • 2.5th dimension
  • graphical elements


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