An experiment in designing effective warning labels

Health Mark Q. 1996;14(2):43-61. doi: 10.1300/j026v14n02_05.


This paper proposes a model for the design of effective warning labels concerning drinking and driving. One important aspect of the model is that producing a multiplicity of warning labels should result in a higher probability that at least a few of the warning labels will be of high quality and effectiveness. Secondly, greater similarity between the warning label designer and the intended target group should enhance the effectiveness of the warning label. In the present study, 49 warning labels were created by university undergraduates, and the effectiveness of these warning labels was assessed by a group of university students (target group members). A number of labels were judged as being effective, and more effective than the government warning label. Extending the notion of being close to the target group, warning labels designed by male and female university students for university students of the same sex were judged as more effective than warning labels designed for the opposite sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Automobile Driving
  • Canada
  • Communication
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Product Labeling / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Product Labeling / methods
  • Product Labeling / standards*
  • Students
  • Universities