Under Cover and Close at Hand: Embodied Metaphor in Packaging Design
Manon Te Vaarwerk, Thomas Van Rompay, Vanessa Okken


Designers and marketers of consumer products aim to communicate product benefits that connect to user needs underlying purchase behavior. Visual–spatial elements portrayed by packaging design are of particular importance in this context. Inspired by theorizing and recent studies in embodied cognition, this study explores the impact of three such image schemas (containment, distance, and common region) in the context of care products. To this end, packaging variants in which these schemas were systematically varied were created and presented to participants who filled out a questionnaire addressing product impressions and olfactory experience. Results show that these visual patterns not only can steer product impressions, but also can modulate olfactory experience, underscoring the persuasive nature of image schemas and their relevance to the design context.

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