A guide to graphic design for functional versus experiential ads: Color-evoked emotion and design complexity can enhance effectiveness

Previous research has focused on the content differences of functional versus experiential advertisements.
Zhu et al


Functional advertisement; experiential advertisement; PAD emotion; design complexity; affect infusion; processing fluency

Management Slant

  • In current best practice, functional advertisements tend to feature more pleasant, less arousing, and less dominant colors. Experiential advertisements tend to be more complex in their design.
  • To increase the effectiveness of functional advertisements, designers should use more pleasant, less arousing colors, as well as simple designs, but they are free in their choice of color dominance.
  • To increase the effectiveness of experiential advertisements, designers should use more pleasant colors and more complex designs, even as they are free...

Not a subscriber?

Schedule your live demo with our team today

WARC helps you to plan, create and deliver more effective marketing

  • Prove your case and back-up your idea

  • Get expert guidance on strategic challenges

  • Tackle current and emerging marketing themes

We’re long-term subscribers to WARC and it’s a tool we use extensively. We use it to source case studies and best practice for the purposes of internal training, as well as for putting persuasive cases to clients. In compiling a recent case for long-term, sustained investment in brand, we were able to support key marketing principles with numerous case studies sourced from WARC. It helped bring what could have been a relatively dry deck to life with recognisable brand successes from across a broad number of categories. It’s incredibly efficient to have such a wealth of insight in one place.

Insights Team
Bray Leino

You’re in good company

We work with 80% of Forbes' most valuable brands* and 80% of the world's top top-of-the-class agencies.

* Top 10 brands