Maluma and Takete

If you're like me (and most others) you'll give Maluma the curved symbol and Takete the sharp angles. This is also known as the Bouba/Kiki effect, written about by German psychologist Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967) in his book Gestalt Psychology (excerpted below).

Maluma and TaketeBook scan via

According to an article in Scientific American 98% of people choose the same pairings.

Sound also plays an important role in product alignment. Consider these two, Clorox (producer of household bleach) and Chanel (high-end perfume). Switch the name and product and you get the idea.

Learn more about sound symbolism through these links:

Sound symbolism, on Wikipedia
Phonological clusters of semantically similar words, on LINGUIST List (broken link removed, 2014)
Reflections on the evolution of language, on University of Hawai'i
The phenomenology of synaesthesia, PDF download, on Imprint Academic

Experiment first discovered on the Lexicon Branding website, via Bernadette Jiwa.