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Know me, Love me, Fear me...: The Anatomy of Poster Design. Candidate posters in the 2007 French legislative elections
Unformatted Document Text:  Know Me, Love Me, Fear Me…: The Anatomy of Poster Design Dumitrescu electoral history, the more likely she is to include additional information on her poster. This finding might not be so surprising after all: displaying a website could potentially signal, particularly to the young and difficult-to-get electorate, that one is in tune with the new ways of communication (as one elite interviewee alluded; Vanves, major party). Moreover, if people do decide to visit it, personal websites can further promote the candidate by providing a wealth of easily accessible information on their policy and ideological stances (Paris, major party). What’s (more) important? Using size to guide viewers through information cues Going beyond mere presence of information elements, however, candidates can also guide viewers through which information cue is more important by manipulating their size and placement in their posters. Even if the party name, party logo, slogan and/or additional information are on the poster, the smaller their sizes, the more difficult will be for people to observe them at a glance; their attention will be drawn first to the larger elements. Table 3 compares mean sizes of different pieces of factual information on posters between major and minor party candidates as well as between “potential winning candidates” and the rest (mean difference sign and significance). [Table 3] Table 3 largely supports the assertion that “potential winning candidates” and major party candidates are significantly more likely to use their posters to promote themselves: their face and body occupy a significantly larger percent on the poster area, and does their name. In support for H2a, these same candidates are significantly less likely to emphasize their party affiliation (in terms of size) when compared to their more minor opponents. This finding would seem at first surprising, given that it’s not candidates’ personal election history, but the party’s, that explains a diminished role of the partisan cue; yet high electoral history party candidates often also benefit 17

Authors: Dumitrescu, Delia.
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Know Me, Love Me, Fear Me…: The Anatomy of Poster Design
Dumitrescu
electoral history, the more likely she is to include additional information on her poster. This
finding might not be so surprising after all: displaying a website could potentially signal,
particularly to the young and difficult-to-get electorate, that one is in tune with the new ways of
communication (as one elite interviewee alluded; Vanves, major party). Moreover, if people do
decide to visit it, personal websites can further promote the candidate by providing a wealth of
easily accessible information on their policy and ideological stances (Paris, major party).
What’s (more) important? Using size to guide viewers through information cues
Going beyond mere presence of information elements, however, candidates can also
guide viewers through which information cue is more important by manipulating their size and
placement in their posters. Even if the party name, party logo, slogan and/or additional
information are on the poster, the smaller their sizes, the more difficult will be for people to
observe them at a glance; their attention will be drawn first to the larger elements. Table 3
compares mean sizes of different pieces of factual information on posters between major and
minor party candidates as well as between “potential winning candidates” and the rest (mean
difference sign and significance).
[Table 3]
Table 3 largely supports the assertion that “potential winning candidates” and major party
candidates are significantly more likely to use their posters to promote themselves: their face and
body occupy a significantly larger percent on the poster area, and does their name. In support for
H2a, these same candidates are significantly less likely to emphasize their party affiliation (in
terms of size) when compared to their more minor opponents. This finding would seem at first
surprising, given that it’s not candidates’ personal election history, but the party’s, that explains
a diminished role of the partisan cue; yet high electoral history party candidates often also benefit
17


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