Aesthetic plating: a preference for oblique lines ascending to the right
Jozef Youssef · Georgiana Juravle · Lulu Youssef · Andy Woods · Charles Spence · Aug 2015
We report three online experiments designed to investigate how the visual presentation of a dish influences people’s rating of exactly the same ingredients. For this, participants were visually presented with two dishes, each containing the same ingredients arranged in either a linear or circular presentation. The influence of different naming strategies on people’s expectations concerning the dish was also assessed, as well as people’s preferred position of the tested linear vs. circular food arrangement.
The results highlight the importance of both visual presentation and naming on people’s response (e.g. in terms of their willingness to pay) for a commercial dish. That is, participants’ ratings favoured the linear over the circular arrangement of the same ingredients. Furthermore, the participants tilted the linear dish, when asked to position it such that it appeals to them most, such that the dominant element displayed an oblique line ascending to the right.
The results reported here provide intriguing first evidence concerning a putative preference for an oblique line ascending to the right with respect to the appreciation of the food on a plate. The implications of this kind of research for chefs and restaurateurs are discussed. We also contrast these preliminary results with findings demonstrating people’s preference for horizontal/vertical lines (over oblique lines) in other aesthetic-related fields, such as painting.