Friday, May 30, 2008
Baby-Face Bias and the Volkswagen Beetle
Facial features that are considered "baby-like" are constant throughout cultures and even species. Baby-like faces are associated with "naiveté, helplessness, honesty and innocence", whereas mature features are considered authoritative and intelligent (1). These features are not just limited to character design. They can also be applied abstractly to make an object seem friendly and simple. For example, a computer or a television with a large screen (mimicking large, bright eyes) appears to be more "open" than one with a small screen. The front of the Volkswagen Beetle, with its large round headlights and smoothly arched front windshield, closely resembles an infant's face.
For more on the cute characteristics of the Volkswagen Beetle, check out this chart.
1. Jill Butler, Kritina Holden and William Lidwell. Universal Principles of Design. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers, 2003.