01 December 2011

Fabric posters in the wild

I saw more fabric posters at Neuroscience 2011 than I had seen at other meetings. This was no doubt due to the larger contingent of international visitors who wanted the better portability than big clunky document tubes.

But how do fabric posters perform on the conference room floor? Not as well as paper.

Compared to paper posters, fabric posters:

Don’t lie as flat. Fabric posters are shipped to you, folded, in a box. They’ve got creases in them when you take them out of the box. Folds and creases mean that there will be shadows running all over your poster, unless you are blessed with phenomenal lighting conditions. Details can get easily obscured by the dark spots. This might be alleviated if you put in the effort to iron your poster before heading to the conference center.

Don’t count on pulling the corners taut with tacks to save you. Fabric stretches, even the sort of light weave used for printing, so I expect getting those creases out just by tight tacking is incredibly difficult. Fabrics want to wrinkle and sag; paper doesn’t.

Aren’t as bright. The fabric posters I walked by looked a little dimmer and lower contrast than paper posters. I’d written before about the sharpness of images on fabric posters, but the conferences I had seen them in were much smaller than Neuroscience, and I was generally closer to the posters than when I was browsing through the Neuroscience halls.

If you make a fabric poster, everything must be bigger and bolder than paper. Bigger text, bigger figures, and high contrast colours. Don’t mess around with subtleties.

P.S.—I don’t have any pictures of these posters from Neuroscience, because the Society for Neuroscience was very... emphatic... about forbidding picture taking and recording from the floor of the poster session.

Related posts

Cut from whole cloth
Fade out

Picture by softestthing on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

Note: This post was in the queue before Gerty Z wrote her blog post about fabric posters.


neuromusic said...

I didn't make SfN this year, but I imagine that SfN prohibitions against photography made QR codes on posters less useful than they might be otherwise.

Zen Faulkes said...

The "no pictures" policy was enforced most at the doorways, and not so much on the poster session floor. But that they were so pointed in the "no pictures" at the entranceway made people rather more circumspect about taking pictures than they would have otherwise.

The bottom line was: We had a QR code on our poster, and lots of people were using it. It worked much better than the last time we tried it.

Anonymous said...

Fabric posters, if purchased from someone who has gone through the process of finding the right material, will print as beautifully and sharply as paper. I know, because we did the work at www.postersession.com.

Zen Faulkes said...

PosterSession: I've used your services before, as I pointed out in the blog posts I linked to at the end. I seem to recall that you changed the material you were using after I wrote those posts, so I appreciate that my posts may be out of date. I look forward to the next opportunity to see fabric posters, including those from your service.

SunoGaane said...

We too had a QR code on our poster, and many people were using it. It worked really better then before.