19 November 2009

Scripting a poster

Page from the script for The Dark KnightWhen you’re putting together a poster, the first consideration is often just making things fit within the space. But unless you’re one of those people who puts up a poster and walks away (and if you do, shame on you), you should be thinking about what you’re going to say when you lay out your poster. In other words, you should sketch out a script for yourself.

For one poster I did, I had a figure that ended up in about column four, quite far to the right of the poster. I thought it made sense to put it there given the poster space. It felt fine when you read through the poster.

But when I gave people “tours” through the poster at the meeting, I kept referring to that picture very early on, when people were mostly examining stuff on the left side of the poster. People had to look way over to a different section of the poster, and it disrupted the flow of the presentation. (In that case, it was exacerbated by the poster being over two meters wide. People had to look a long way over to see the picture.)

Although posters are a much more casual, chatty presentation medium than a standard slide presentation that you see at conferences, don’t ignore the story you plan to tell with your poster until it’s up on the board. Talk it out to others before you finish the layout.

(Slightly) Related posts

Unwebbable: How movie scripts are typeset and why.

Pictured: A page from The Dark Knight script.

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