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New Insights on Minimalist versus Maximalist Visual Design and Consumer Behavior

Anderson, Cary (2023) New Insights on Minimalist versus Maximalist Visual Design and Consumer Behavior. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Consumer decisions are frequently influenced by product aesthetics. This dissertation examines the influence of a design dimension highly relevant in the modern marketplace and of recent academic interest—minimalist (vs. maximalist) visual aesthetics. Minimalism is characterized by simple designs, clean lines, and monochromatic color schemes, while maximalism is characterized by bold mixtures of designs, colors, and ornamentation. Although products with aesthetics at each end of the minimalism—maximalism continuum are abundant in the marketplace, little is understood about when and why consumers choose products with these differing aesthetic characteristics.

This dissertation proposes two novel antecedents of minimalist (vs. maximalist) aesthetic consumption—(1) selection for shared (vs. solo) product use, and (2) selection for use during ordinary (vs. extraordinary) experiences. Essay 1 demonstrates that consumers prefer products with minimalist (vs. maximalist) aesthetics when making choices for shared (vs. solo) consumption. Essay 2 then examines the role of anticipated consumption events in driving product choice, demonstrating that consumers prefer maximalist (vs. minimalist) product aesthetics for consumption associated with extraordinary (vs. ordinary) events. Together, these two essays provide important theoretical and practical insights into novel drivers of consumer aesthetic preferences, including the desire to accommodate co-consumers’ aesthetic preferences, and the influential role of extraordinary (vs. ordinary) anticipated consumption occasions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Anderson, Carycla77@pitt.educla770000-0003-1702-9590
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairWu, Eugenia
Committee CoChairLiu, Peggy
Committee MemberInman, J.
Committee MemberElder,
Committee MemberMin,
Date: 30 August 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 July 2023
Approval Date: 30 August 2023
Submission Date: 15 August 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 167
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: College of Business Administration > Marketing
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aesthetics, Visual Design, Consumer Behavior, Shared Consumption, Experiential Consumption, Experimental Design
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2023 16:35
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2023 16:35


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