I am sending you the last poster I did, which I am finally proud of.
That was from Natalia Asari, who was kind enough to share her poster with us. I am particularly pleased to get this one, not just because of her pride in it, but because I know full well that many scientific disciplines are not well represented on this blog (yet!). An astronomy poster is such a nice change of pace.
Even before you click to enlarge, you’ll notice that it’s in “portrait” orientation (taller than wide). I personally find such posters to be very tricky to lay out, because my first response is to create a grid of vertical columns, and tall posters result in very skinny columns. Natalia beats that problem by putting everything in one column, with clear horizontal divisions to mark the different sections of evidence. The data are consistently on the left, and explanatory text is consistently on the right, and they have the same width throughout the poster, reinforcing a secondary grid.
The poster gets high marks for using so many colours without being distracting or jarring. I think part of the reason that this works is that the bright colours are confined to thin lines on a white background, so they are not competing for attention with the main body of the poster. The larger blocks of colour are subdued, neutral tones.
There is not a heck of a lot to critique in this poster, but I will highlight a few things in the next picture.
The use of the icons adds a light, almost humourous touch to the piece. The potential downside is that they can be too memorable. I always thought of this poster as having a dinosaur on it, which might be a trifle misleading, because there are no dinosaur data in the paper!
The icons are responsible for what I would see as the one “error” on the poster: on the bottom three, the brown banner behind the poster bleeds into the transparent white space within the icons. The icons would be stronger if the white space inside was opaque, so the brown behind was not visible within the icon.
Natalia made this poster in
She described the reaction to this poster thus:
I did it for one of the Symposia in the last IAU General Assembly, in 2009, when I was finishing my Ph.D. It raised some eyebrows and I felt some people had a hard time taking it seriously. Once I started explaining the science to them however, they got over the shock of seeing such a different poster.
This is a great reminder that there can be pressure – perhaps subtle – to make the same old poster that everyone else has. One of the great things about posters is that there are so few rules. There main one is, “Make it fit on the posterboard.” Beyond that, don’t let people stop you from trying something better.
Thanks to Natalia for her generosity in sharing this stellar poster!