Those big boxes drawn in heavy black lines were my first problem. The lines were so thick that they draw attention to the inconsistencies in the boxes. Round corners are a problem, because you want each corner to have the same degree of “roundness.” This was done in PowerPoint, and PowerPoint automatically scales the round corners by some automatic amount with the size of the box; not sure how. Consequently, when you put two boxes of the same width, but different height, next to each other, they don’t match.
This can be fixed. Click on the box, and you’ll see a little yellow diamond on the upper left side.
You can drag that to the left or right to adjust the amount of rounding.
Besides the plague of boxes, distortion and cramming are the other two culprits here. To check if a picture has the right proportions, right click it, open “Format Shape,” and look for “Size.” Under “scale,” make sure the height and width percentages are the same!
I sat down and tinkered, with my main goals being:
- More white space;
- More consistency in text (mostly left aligned, less random bolding);
- Lining things up slightly more.
I didn’t want to mess with the initial layout decisions or change the style of the poster. I just wanted to clean it up. If you look closely, you’ll see I didn’t get rid of the boxes. They are thin gray lines instead of thick black ones. I found that because the background went almost white in the middle, I wanted a very light line to demarcate the box and the background when you got up close.
This was the result:
The first poster looks intimidating to me. This one looks inviting to me. But it’s all the same material, with the same layout. I still have concerns with the layout (the layout of the Methodology section is still weak, and so on), but I am always stunned by just how much improvement you can make just by making a few small changes, like lightening up boxes.