Effect of Demographics in The Perception of Visual Semiotics in Cartoon Character Design for Advertising in Nairobi

  • Francisca Okwiri Odundo Moi University
Keywords: Cartoon character design, Demographics, Rhetorical theory, Semiotics


The advertising world is rich in visual stimuli. It is necessary that images use semiotics that communicate rapidly and concisely. This research seeks to uncover if demographics, represented by age, gender and level of education, can be effectively used to segment a target audience in a bid to measure their perception of semiotics in cartoon characters among residents of Nairobi. This information will assist designers encode appropriate semiotics in cartoon design. 151 adult respondents were sampled from clusters in Nairobi. Pre-tests were conducted by a panel of three experts. Idioms describing profession and personality were used to design questionnaires further pretested using Cronbach’s Alpha. A Mann-Whitney U test was applied to data collected on a five-point Likert scale to assess statistical significance. The results established that there is no statistically significant difference in the scores of 18- to 29-year-olds, and those above 30 years of age; both males and females; with secondary versus tertiary level of education; concerning the perception of semiotics. The results do not support the Rhetorical Theory. Personal cultural environmental experiences are numerous. A high degree of possible combinations of formative demographic variables in individuals may have influenced the respondent’s personal perception abilities, creating assorted individual visual directories that overwhelmed those ingrained by their demographics. Approaches that consider factors other than, but not limited to the target audience’s media exposure, attitudes, behaviour, and life stage may have to be explored. Additionally, if keeping to demographics as a means of segmentation, disparate demographics, other than those investigated in this study, should be explored. It would be statistically beneficial to establish the contribution of all the independent variables to dependent variables in one equation.