This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Influence of Design Complexity on Perceived Quality: The Moderating Role of Price and Brand Familiarity




Braun, Alina Maria

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Consumer Affairs


This study investigates the influence of three important product factors – design, brand, and price on consumers’ perceived product quality and purchase intention. A 2 (product design: complex/simple) x 2 (brand familiarity: low/high) x 2 (price: low/high) mixed factorial experiment design was employed with 431 participants. Results demonstrated a marginally significant interaction effect between design complexity and brand familiarity on perceived quality. Specifically, for unfamiliar brands, complex designs were perceived as higher quality than simple designs. For familiar brands, product’s design complexity had no significant effect on perceived quality. Design complexity and price had no significant interaction effect on perceived quality. All dimensions of perceived quality positively influenced purchase intention, with the style/aesthetic dimension of quality having the largest influence. This study’s findings allow product, retail, and brand managers to appropriately tailor the level of design complexity (simple vs. complex) in product offerings for different brands (familiar/established vs. unfamiliar/new).