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Leonie Lynch

Email Address: 
Dr Maurice Patterson & Dr Caoilfhionn Ni Bheachain
Working Title of Thesis: 
Orla Kiely: Investigating brand influence in the VL development of the consumer

This project is an empirical study of how visual literacy is cultivated in consumer society. It investigates the role of brands, in particular Orla Kiely, in the visual literacy development of the consumer. It explores also how the consumer deploys this literacy in the everyday. This research investigates the visual world and explores how visual literacy is refined through consumption practices. Attentive to design literacy and its mastery, its interests lie in the levels of design sophistication the ordinary consumer develops through brand consumption. The visual component is fundamental to design-led brands like Orla Kiely in establishing brand identity and this organisation is deeply concerned with the brand’s visual meaning being understood. They have created their own language through colour and print design and they use this language to create visual sentences to communicate their brand identity. The consumer then uses the brand as nouns in their sentence structure for the purpose of their own communication efforts; in the hope their visual messages are also understood. Education in visual understanding has been for the most part, limited to places of higher education specialising in the formatting of images (Creative Arts, Art, Architecture, Design Schools and Media & Cultural Studies). The omission of visual literacy from business studies curricula in the majority of institutions leaves students and scholars at a disadvantage in a visually saturated marketplace. Accordingly, I aim to provide research results that make both practical and theoretical contributions to CCT. Practically, it will contribute to an understanding of how consumers develop visual literacy and use it to construct and interpret visual messages. To contribute to theory, it will offer an inter-disciplinary perspective on visual literacy and visual consumption. Focusing on an internationally successful Irish designer brand gives this project both local and global relevance. As Ireland aims to produce future brand managers and business leaders, understanding visual literacy is important for economic and cultural development in an innovative Ireland. This research will provide a foundation for visual literacy discourse in the emerging field of visual research within CCT.

Details of any scholarships/funding received (NOT USED): 
PhD Scholarship Department of Management & Marketing
visual literacy, aesthetic experience, consumer culture
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