19 April 2012

Critique: Italian cemeteries

This week, I’m featuring a poster by Kristina Killgrove, one the Killer Ks from Round 1 of of SciFund. She recently featured this poster at her Powered by Osteons blog here. Click for bigness!

The first thing that pops out are those circles. They draw the eye immediately and powerfully. Dividing the big outer circle it into quadrants ties each section of the circle to its accompanying text box.

The symmetrical layout might benefit from providing slightly stronger clues as whether to read down or across, perhaps in the headings.This is one case where numbered headings might have been welcome.

The attractiveness of the circles helps overcome that the text is a little on the dense side. Four moderate length paragraphs is not horrible, but any editing that could make the text more concise would make the poster more appealing.

Working with circle is tricky though, given that so many graphs are rectangular. The data in the upper right quadrant is coming perilously close to puncturing its border, both in the graph and table. The table is the worse offender of the two, particularly as it is covering part of the dividing line at the bottom. The table would be better off if it were smaller.

I have mixed feelings about the display text in the title. On the one hand, I like the distinctive flavour. On the other hand, it is a bit difficult to read at a glance, which is critical for a poster title. For example, look at how similar the shapes of the “L” and “I” are. Plus, it’s set in all capital letters.

The very bottom “fine print” boxes might have followed the colour scheme above, bringing more continuity to the whole poster. The cost of doing that, however, might have been less clarity in differentiating which parts are data, and which parts are not.

My favourite part of this poster, though, is a detail that might be overlooked. But there’s a delightful little Easter egg for those paying attention...

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The eye loves the circle
The uphill battle for QR codes

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