Kiki Bouba effect


The Kiki Bouba experiment was first conducted on the island of Tenerife, by Wolfgang Köhler in 1929. He showed forms similar to those shown above, and found a strong preference to pair the jagged shape with the word Takete and the rounded shape with the word Baluba.

In 2001, the experiment was repeated using the words Kiki and Bouba and a large number of respondents were asked: 'Which of these shapes is bouba and which is kiki?' 98% picked the curvy shape as bouba and the jagged one as kiki, suggesting that the human brain is somehow able to extract abstract properties from the shapes and sounds.

At BR-ND, our branding maestros and divas often run into interesting debates about the bouba kiki effect. Should a brand name match the design in bouba kiki terms? Or should kiki go with the rounded shape and vice verse? Any views?

The Fat Duck, a 3 start Michelin restaurant, near Hindhead in the UK, runs a nice online gastroporn test to measure the bouba kiki effect for food stuffs. Play their game!