University of Limerick
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Abstracting brands: visual literacy and the making of Orla Kiely

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posted on 2023-01-18, 13:50 authored by Leonie Therese Lynch
This study examines visual literacy and its key components - visual language, visual perception, visual thinking, visual learning and visual communication within the context of consumer culture. While visual literacy is the primary lens used in this research, and forms its conceptual foundation, a number of other disciplines, i.e. consumer research, design theory, and art and aesthetics have been assembled to further inform the theoretical framework. Key questions centre on how brands facilitate visual literacy and how consumers deploy it using brands? Orla Kiely is the brand used to frame this study and in the consideration of its cultural branding strategy semi-structured interviews and observation were employed to collect data. To investigate consumers’ visual literacy existential phenomenological interviews form the primary method of data collection. The study demonstrates how Orla Kiely engages the consumer through its performance of a brand myth and story that is primarily visual in nature. The work details how an artful brand strategy can help to build brand culture and can facilitate the development of visual literacy. The research then identifies how consumers engage with the visual world of the Orla Kiely brand contribution.



  • Kemmy Business School


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Maurice Patterson

Second supervisor

Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin





Department or School

  • Management & Marketing

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