21 July 2011

Critique: Scaffolder

Michael Barton is the person behind this lovely poster, featured on his blog Bioinformatics Zen (no relation). Click to enlarge, as usual.

He has a blog post here describing what he was trying to do with the poster, and how he made it. The full post is good reading.

This poster has a strong sense of design and excellent use of colour. It’s a great example of breaking away from the traditional poster format (journal paper in a can), and cutting down the text to lower the intimidation factor.

The contrast between left and right sides of the poster is effective.

  • The left side of the poster is about the problems of current methods. This gets reflected visually with the grungy background and chunky type.
  • The right side of the poster offers clarity of the software. This is conveyed visually with ample white space, strong geometric figures, attractive colours, and the subtle sunburst background.

There may be room for some slight improvements.

On the right, some of the text is angled, some horizontal. I might have gone for all angled or all horizontal, as the feeling of “problems” is already very strong.

On the left, the text throughout may be slightly too fine to read easily. On my computer screen, the text boxes were difficult to read. A printer has higher resolution, though, so this might pass the “arm’s length” test, but perhaps just barely.

I am undecided about the circles to the right of the title. They add a nice graphic touch, and they tie in with the larger scaffold circle on the right. But they are crowding the title, and perhaps drawing too much attention to themselves.

Finally, the email down in the corner feels awkward. It’s out of alignment with everything, and it’s not where people will look for contact information. The alignment of the email got to me, so I fired up the graphics editor and played around with the poster a bit more.

In this revision, I tried to enhance the already strong geometric feel of the right hand side of the poster by aligning the text and boxes with each other. Now, every element lines up with at least one other element of the poster. If I was working from the original Inkscape file, I might have moved the last couple of circles on the left, and made other minor experiments.

But these are mere tweaks, idle alterations to a great piece of graphic design. Well done.

A big thanks to Michael for letting me feature this wonderful poster, and his reader, Guy Leonard, for suggesting it!

Related posts

The importance of alignment
Is it big enough? The “arm’s length” test

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