Effectiveness of values communication through cross-cultural corporate symbol design

Ruiz Alvarez, Juan
Major Professor
Lisa Fontaine
Paul Bruski
Charles J. Kostelnick
Committee Member
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Art and Design

Intercultural communication occurs between people whose culture, language, and visual perceptions are distinct enough to alter the communication event between them. In this arena, the graphic designer plays the role of a visual ambassador, creating vehicles of communication intended to carry messages within or across cultural barriers. The task is challenging and necessary because of the contemporary tendency toward globalization. In today's global market, multinational corporations are creating brands to express their corporate values. As a result, these corporations are more connected to their customers and are differentiated from their competition.;This study tested the effectiveness of communicating values instead of products in the design of a symbol for a cross-cultural corporation. For this study, the existing corporate symbol of a Colombian coffee company was redesigned into three different versions in an attempt to communicate values to a cross-cultural audience. Each symbol was tested by means of a survey completed by participants from different parts of the world who were studying at Iowa State University. The first survey tested the effectiveness of a symbol that communicates values only. The second survey tested the effectiveness of a symbol that communicates the same values when accompanied by a reference to a product. The final survey tested the influence of values perception when the symbol uses a universally recognized icon. This methodology provided a clear idea of the possibility to universally communicate values through a corporate symbol.;The results of this study showed that the corporate symbol which combined product and values had the highest percentage of values recognition. It can also be suggested that by using this corporate symbol redesign, the Colombian coffee company would effectively communicate what the company is and its brand values to a cross-cultural audience.