I have a favour to ask. A friend from my MBA course – who happens to be pretty, blonde, and Austrian – is doing a survey for her dissertation and is struggling for respondents. I posted it on Twitter and several people said the questions are poorly designed and contradictory, but that’s by-the-by: she’s a friend and I’m helping her out.

So if anyone is bored and has some time, would they mind completing the survey here? Thanks.


28 thoughts on “Favour

  1. I had a quick look and I wonder whether this work is going to lead anywhere useful or indeed anywhere at all.

    Whether logos, fonts, colours and so on are designed by men or women and why this is important escapes me and the answers to all the questions would be “don’t know” if “don’t know” were an option.

    Even assuming that the sex of the graphic designer was influential on his or her work, the choice of logo will be made probably by a committee selecting from a number of options under consideration so perhaps your friend needs to consider how the decision makers break down as between men and women.

    I hope she doesn’t read your blog because I doubt I shall be the only one to see this as an exercise in fatuity.

  2. I had a quick look and I wonder whether this work is going to lead anywhere useful or indeed anywhere at all.

    Indeed, but I’m keeping that to myself.

    I hope she doesn’t read your blog

    So do I!

  3. Done! Most of the brands are old, possibly early 1900’s so the industry would have been male dominated anyway.

  4. Yeah… 100% everyone of them male. Like there were multitudes of female designers in the 1930s…

  5. I’m assuming that with “Please specify also 3 or more male characteristics…” , they’re not really expecting an answer like “baldness, beards and Linford Christie’s lunchbox”?

  6. Oh dear, without reading the comments here I’ve done the same thing as everyone else. The older a logo is, the greater the probability it was designed by a man, so if you were asking me to bet on the gender of the designer then that’s probably statistically the best informed bet I can make – trying to distinguish male vs female influences on the creative side is a fool’s errand (partly what TMB said, partly because a man might design a more feminine logo if told he is working on a more female-oriented target audience and vice versa).

    “Does the logo appear predominantly masculine or predominantly feminine” on a 1 to 7 scale, with a neutral 4 in the middle, would have been a more interesting question than “guess the designer”.

    As would a followup like “Do you agree or disagree that you feel included in the target audience for this logo?” (1 to 7 scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree) so you could test by correlation whether it’s even true that women feel “excluded” by “masculine” logos or vice versa.

  7. Well, Pandas are renowned for having absolutely massive dicks, so that was easy.

    Dear God. This is from an MBA candidate?

  8. Quite so. Interestingly the survey allowed me not to provide an answer to some of the male/female questions, so I didn’t, and put “I have no idea” in the comment box below. 🙂

  9. Quit dumping on the chick. She’s Austrian and blonde. And pretty. Who cares if she’s an airhead. 99.9% of men will prefer her to a genius landwhale.

    (I did guess that the Starbucks logo was female designed though)

  10. Who cares if she’s an airhead.

    She’s definitely not an airhead, she’s pretty bright but has very little experience. Unfortunately, MBAs are often required for entry-level jobs in Europe these days and a lot of people do them immediately after their bachelors (which defeats the whole purpose, but that’s credentialism for you).

  11. Unfortunately, MBAs are often required for entry-level jobs in Europe these days and a lot of people do them immediately after their bachelors (which defeats the whole purpose, but that’s credentialism for you).

    I’ve always thought this trend was silly myself – I do quite a bit of MBA tuition/coaching work and for some people I really can’t see the benefit, other than hoop jumping, that doing one at this stage of their career will bring. There are MSc courses in “management science” which might be more appropriate but I wonder whether most people would be better to be developing a skill like accounting, engineering, project management, finance, market research or whatever. Generalist management degrees tend to be a crash course in lots of things but it must surely help to have some deeper expertise in something.

    It also makes me wonder whether in fifteen or twenty years they’ll end up having to take a further “professional MBA” or even “DrBA” degree to tick off the mid-career extra-study-with-benefit-of-experience box.


    If your central complaint is that the whole thing is uninformatively woke, don’t forget it’s intended as a career furtherance exercise. Dissertations can be great talking points at interviews and if that’s the direction you’re wanting to head in, there are ultimately Head of Diversity roles paying mindboggling money. Being able to say “my research shows that customers identify these gendered things in logos and your logo happens to have such-and-such features” might actually be regarded as an interesting, observant point by someone in that field recruiting a junior to follow on that track. After all, the candidate has just identified another area of the firm where there’s scope for their Wokeness Department to make a power grab – “you might think we have neutral branding but research shows it is actually hideously sexist, it needs redesigning with extensive input from our department to shape the creative and decision process”.

  12. Completed before I read any comments here anf I concur.
    Designers work to a brief, they don’t make the decision; the decision on branding might be a personal preference of the boss, but these days more likely a groupthink exercise based on the market in which the company hopes to prosper.
    My answer to all the logo questions “no idea, irrelevant question”

  13. A lot of N/as in my answer as I do not associate logos for male or femaleness. I hope it helps?

  14. Well, that is a beer you owe me, Tim. Maybe two!

    My question for us readers of Tim’s blog is this:
    If Tim had said that his MBA candidate friend was an old short ugly Arabic male with a long beard (instead of an attractive young blonde Austrian lady), would you (we?) have bothered to fill out the form?

    More seriously, isn’t this kind of female focus on gonads uber alles a sad waste of female intellect & talent?

  15. You may tell her that when you show an image that represents a brand, and ask if you recognize it, you probably should photoshop the company name out of it.

    And probably not use ones that there was no artist, as in the case of Coke and Walt Disney.

    And, maybe add a few ‘converged’ companies, maybe some female eccentric brands logos.

  16. @MBE

    I don’t really care about the “woke” bit here. It’s the uninformative bit.

    From a systems analysis and design background, survey, questionnaire, forms design, are specific skills. It’s how to get the data that informs.

    For the career furtherance bit; let’s assume that our new shiny MBA, any MBA, crisp certificate in hand, trogs off to an interview where the firm would like to know “which character from the Magic Roundabout is the best to attract customers to our packaged fly fishing tours of the Andes?” and thus the conversation turns towards market research, and the how of doing it.

    That survey tells you nothing apart from the desire to confirm a pre-conceived belief. That is, the question just posed can not be solved by the skill displayed. And for various reasons, that survey is very easily gamed. Let’s face it, it just has been.

    The problem here for the Wokefulness Department within the firm (or any other entity), is that they simply import uncertainty into the organisation.

    As far as it goes, the only useful response from our candidate is “I don’t know, hire somebody who knows what they’re doing?”. Which probably does mark them out for some sort of management role, I suppose.

    Big tits will always help.

  17. What are the odds that this is actually a survey on what men will do just based on reading the words ‘Attractive blonde foreign woman needs assistance’?

  18. Job done, and Jim’s point noted. If this was a compliance test, well, here I am.

    Not the worst-designed survey I’ve done. No science in it, but in the world of business sometimes you just have to smash through and get along to the next thing.

    Thought it very funny that other lads answered as I did about “back then it was 95% male graphic designers”.

    In fairness to your friend, though, I very quickly shifted from “I reckon I could guess who designed it” to “I may not know who designed it but I know with 100% certainty who it’s aimed at”.

    This, from someone who has a stack of graphic design books right here at his desk as casual reading and reference material.

  19. @Gavin

    I was going to pick up on that actually. I know how hard it is to get student project questionnaire responses so I like to do my bit if one comes my way, provided it’s only a few minutes and doesn’t get too personal, regardless of who’s asking. I just feel too sorry for the poor sods with no data to analyse.


    Fully concur poorly performed research is generally worse – significantly so and not just due to the cost of undertaking it – than no research at all. The redemption in this case is that once this project has been marked, nobody will read it again, nobody is going to take any decisions based on it, and its only purpose in later life will be to provide an occasional talking point. My suspicion is that it will perform very well on this metric if the cards are played correctly, disproportionately so compared to the quality of work or likely academic grade. (Also, even really poor degree projects are often grade-salvaged by a sufficiently self-critical evaluation section at the end, a significant advantage students enjoy over similarly poor real-world research.)

    Most MBAs I’ve come across wouldn’t be capable of doing a serious piece of market research (a specialist MBA in Marketing should be ok but a specialist MBA in HR most likely not), and as you say you’d hopefully hire someone with the background to actually do that work. Hopefully what sticks from their course is enough to understand the report that comes back to them and be aware of some things to consider when commissioning research. An MBA will also cover accounting but again that’s very much on a “read, understand, be aware of issues” basis rather than turning them into accountants

  20. My son once worked for a marketing analysis firm. They design, help execute, and analyze marketing experiments for companies selling “Consumer packaged goods” e.g. a box of laundry powder.
    While discussing experimental design one day he mentioned that very often test results were not actually influenced much by the subtleties of the marketing scheme, but more by the fact that firms often did not know when the product was out of stock. He named a couple of other head-slapping examples.
    I chalk this up to the problem mentioned above of folks with no operational experience getting MBAs.

  21. Needs some next level thinking. Shows evidence of the standard brain washing/new religion that has an answer in mind, and is trying to assemble supporting facts. But this may be unkind.

  22. Just tried the survey. Gave up, too many broken if/then questions.

    Is she another undiagnosed autistic friend and, if so, can she advise Rugby Australia on contract law?

  23. The only thing I’m taking away from this is my suspicion that universities provide no useful functions has been strongly reinforced.

  24. I’m sorry, I tried. Her questions do not logically lead from one to another – has she ever written a logic flow for this?
    It’s impossible to answer without subscribing to the notions informing the survey.

  25. Thanks everyone. Apparently your contributions helped her out a lot, and she’s grateful.

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