Left isn’t always right: placement of pictorial and textual package elements
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate how the positioning of textual and pictorial design elements on a package affects visual attention (detection time) toward these element types. Design/methodology/approach – The study has a 3 × 2 (Stimulus × Location) between-subjects design. One pictorial and two textual package elements, located on the top right- or top left-hand side of a package, were used as stimuli. Visual attention was measured by eye-tracking. A total of 199 university students participated. The data were analysed using a two-way ANOVA and a Pearson’s chi-square analysis with standardised residuals. Findings – The results show that in order to receive the most direct attention, textual elements should be on the left-hand side of a package, whereas pictorial elements should be on the right-hand side. This is inconsistent with previous design directions (based on recall), suggesting the opposite element organisation. Originality/value – Previous research has focused on recall (whether respondents remember having seen package elements) or preference (whether respondents prefer a package based on element positioning). The focus of the present study was whether respondents actually saw the different elements on a package, and how long it took them to detect such elements. Detection time for certain element types can be viewed as a new and complementary way of evaluating the position of package elements. The paper also addresses whether preference is a result of easy information acquisition.
This is the authors’ accepted and refereed manuscript to the article