Yep, according to a 2003 study, if you colour-coordinate with your conference poster, you will attract more viewers. Interested? Then read on.
Two posters, named the study poster and the control poster, with similar presentation topics, were placed adjacently at a poster presentation session at a conference. The colours on the study poster included lavender, navy blue, moss green and cream, which were considered non-clashing in nature. During the time of the actual study, the study poster presenter alternated from wearing a lavender blouse, which matched her poster, to a bright red blouse, which clashed with her poster. Alternatively, the control poster had similar colouring to the study poster but the control poster presenter wore neutral cream attire. During the period of the study, both presenters agreed to maintain their posture, resting hand positions, and control their method of greeting, engaging and conversing with visitors. Both presenters were told not to start a conversation with potential visitors unless they were spoken to first. As a means of reducing the number of variables, both chosen presenters were of the same sex, age, height, race, nationality and had similar hair colour.
The visitors to the posters were monitored every minute by a hidden investigator who was located at a hidden viewing point some distance away. The investigator recorded the number of visitors to each poster. A visitor was defined as “a person looking at the poster or engaged in conversation with the poster presenter.”
The total time of the study was 69 minutes with a total of 39 minutes of that time being allocated to the lavender blouse and 28 minutes to the red blouse (Note: This discrepancy in time was due to a delayed poster session start time and the researchers not knowing how long the session would last). Two minutes was allocated to the study presenter to change blouses during which no visitors conveniently visited the posters.
During the lavender blouse period, the investigator recorded 1.74 visitors per minute to the study poster and 1.03 visitors per minute to the control poster. During the red blouse period, the investigator recorded 1.14 visitors per minute to the study poster and 2.54 visitors per minute to the control poster. These results were reported to be statistically significant.
Interestingly, the researchers report that 5 visitors were overheard saying the presenter’s red blouse did not match her poster.
The authors of the paper conclude by saying “visitation cannot be ensured simply by having the presenter wear attire that is colour-coordinated with the poster. However, the significance of our results suggests that colour coordination between the poster and the presenter’s attire may substantially increase the popularity of the poster and the likelihood that the research will be disseminated.”
(1) Keegan DA and Bannister SL (2003). Effect of colour coordination of attire with poster presentation on poster popularity. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 169 (12): 1291-2
7 years ago