11 February 2010

22 questions a designer should be able to answer

People are often encouraged to be “creative” in creating conference posters. This is fine, as long as you realize this:

Creativity is not design. Creativity has nothing to do with design. Creativity is bound by no laws, rules, or strictures… which is perhaps why it’s so intoxicating (sometimes to the point of delusion). Design, on the other hand, is based entirely on math, psychology, human perception, and a host of rigid rules and laws that can be broken by only a highly skilled few. Those unfamiliar with these laws and rules, and the associated sciences are by no definition designers.

This is taken from the Design View blog by Andy Rutledge. He goes on to lay out 22 questions that convey design principles, of which a small sample is shown here. The question: Which line communicates speed?

Read the quiz!

Not all of the questions will be relevant to laying out posters, of course, but many are. I suggest anyone thinking about posters look at #20 and #21.The picture below is from #21, which asks, “Which has a clear hierarchy of information, and why?”


I am not going to tell you how well I did. I’m a biologist, and while I am vain enough to think I know more about design than many other biologists, I’m not a professional designer, and am always trying to learn more.

Hat tip to Chris Atherton.

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