Persona as Key Component in (Cultural) Person Branding


  • Nicholas Qyll Independent Scholar, Germany



cultural person branding, persona, visual representation, Madonna, prosumer culture, Fanart


This article examines the elements and processes involved in the visual construction of person brands, and their personas as key components of those brands, in pursuit of the research question: What pictorial design strategies make person brands succeed? Key findings of the empirical investigation of the iconic artist brand Madonna allow a focus on Madonna’s image and her fans’ co-creative image practice through a visual frame analysis and cultural reading of her self-brand. Madonna has created a complex ‘worldview world’ that is governed by a metanarrative and feeds on the diverse acts of referencing cultural image icons. At the same time, central strategies of her image representations are reflected in the fan artefacts investigated. This article thus focuses not only on the role of the visual in person branding and in a modern-day visual brand culture. It also considers the place and form of such cultural person branding within the persona studies field.


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Author Biography

  • Nicholas Qyll, Independent Scholar, Germany

    Nicholas Qyll is a practitioner, researcher, and lecturer in the field of design. In 2020 he defended his doctoral thesis, which is based on his research on brand culture and visual person branding at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saarbrücken since 2014. Previously, Qyll participated in doctoral studies from 2006 to 2009 at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. From 2002 to 2005, he pursued postgraduate studies with a concentration on branding, modern aesthetics and cultural studies and graduated as a qualified designer from the University of Wuppertal Chair for Aesthetics and Cultural Transmission. Between 1997 and 2002 Nicholas Qyll studied communication design at Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences and graduated with a degree as a qualified designer. 


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How to Cite

Persona as Key Component in (Cultural) Person Branding. (2020). Persona Studies, 6(1), 56-71.