Construal Level Theory & Product Packaging Design

Nadja Mortensen & Cathrine Zachariassen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis set out to study “How are consumers affected by the design of product packaging? And how can construal level theory (CLT) be applied to product packaging and what implications would this give in the design process of the product packaging?”. In order to answer the research question quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Quantitative in the form of eye-tracking and qualitative in the form of questionnaires, an in-depth interview and a thorough review of secondary literature. Furthermore, to shed light on the effect of product packaging and CLT several theories concerning CLT, decision-making, consumer behavior and product packaging was used for this purpose.
The study found that consumers are affected by the design of the product packaging in its use as brand identification and package comprehension. It also affects their behavior and decision-making in terms of valuation of the product. Further, CLT was applied to product packaging design through the visual imagery depicted on the product packaging. The findings showed that abstract illustrations are associated with a high construal and perceived as more luxurious than the concrete photo-graphs. Whereas the concrete photographs were found to be associated with lower level construal and perceived as less luxurious than the abstract illustrations. Both the illustrations and photographs were perceived as holding the same quality.
Furthermore, the thesis showed the implications that CLT applied to product packaging design would give in the design process offering an easy applicable scale of the level of abstractness of a visual imagery. The different levels of abstractness of the visual imagery was shown on an abstractness to concreteness dimension scale created for this thesis.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages125
SupervisorsJesper Clement