Marketers use the fact that different letters are associated with different mental images and emotions when they create brand names.

Studies show that letters and their combinations produce different connotations in terms of size, shape, brightness and overall impression of an object. The letters <a> and <o> symbolize depth and size, while <i> evokes the mental image of something small. Among consonants, soft, voiced sounds such as <d>, <l>, <m>, <n>, <w> can be distinguised from hard, voiceless sound such as <f>, <k>, <r>, <t>, <p>. The soft consonants evoke associations of harmony, softness, gentleness and femininity, while the hard cononants are connected to hardness, dynamism, vigor, strength and masculinty.

(translated from http://comrecon.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/namen-sind-wegweiser-bei-konsumentscheidungen-naming-branding/)

On some other brand name blog I read that the letter <b> is associated with trustworthiness.

What are those studies, and what else has been found regarding the psychology of letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes)?

  • $\begingroup$ This is particularly prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry, I'll see if I can dig up the reference. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2014 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ 1) your link does not work, 2) your question is interesting, 3) I assume those studies are anything but scientific. What letters symbolize is probably strongly depending on culture and other determinants (education, genetics) but most of all restricted to a certain language. $\endgroup$
    – user13275
    Jul 26, 2016 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Furter, any sentence starting with "studies have shown" without reference makes me sceptical. $\endgroup$
    – user13275
    Jul 26, 2016 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @NikolasRieble 1) That was two years ago. I guess the page was deleted by the site owner or moved to a new place. Good practice is giving the source anyway. Sort of like citing a book of which all copies have been burned by the Nazis. Does that make the citation false? $\endgroup$
    – user3116
    Jul 26, 2016 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ @what: No worries, your citation is not wrong, I only aimed at improving it: by directly citing the original papers ("studies"), you would have enabled me to answer your question two years later. Anyhow, did you find an answer for that question? Do you still have the original sources? If so, please provide them. I am - as I said - interested in the question. $\endgroup$
    – user13275
    Jul 26, 2016 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


What you are looking for is usually considered within synesthesia, specifically auditory-visual synesthesia.

Usually these topics are developed in "commercial or industrial psychology" in a general way and more specifically by psychologists incorporated in marketing, these last studies are often not published, are made for the best initial orientation of the product with a line of consumers.

Here is a general book: https://books.google.es/books?id=ESH7AAAAQBAJ&pg=PA812&lpg=PA812&dq=psychology+synesthesia&source=bl&ots=zC3KmJPT2h&sig=pGlZ9qPf1d14T7i96AL8OmMvVSo&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjmnYvRyanVAhUNfFAKHbX-CV84ChDoAQhWMAY#v=onepage&q&f=false

It seems that what ultimately interests most is why (cerebrally) and what repercussions (especially in clinical) has this phenomenon.

You will not find it difficult to find end-of-grade papers, there are also theses.


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