Product appearance and in particular its association with branding has been shown to play an increasingly important role in the commercial success of mature mass-market products. This paper presents a novel approach to analyse product appearance and explore similarities between products. The approach is applied to two contemporary industrial examples, smartphones and vehicles, and the outcome used to explore the strategic use of visual references to brand in product appearance. Results from the method’s application validate the method in providing insights in terms of specific similarities in appearance. Further interpretation is then used to recommend possible design strategies with respect to the use of visual references to brand.