07 June 2012

Critique and makeover: Aptamer biosensors

I won’t go easy on this poster just because it has a crustacean on it! Today’s poster is from Jon Ashley, and is show here with his permission. Click to enlarge!

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.

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Library Graphic Design said...

Nice adjustments. Clearly less heavy-handed and more open and inviting. Do you submit your revised design to the originating designer for review/comment?

Zen Faulkes said...

LGD: The amount of feedback I give does vary, depending on what I'm given, what I'm asked for, and what else I have on my plate. In this case, I was able to send back the makeover to Jon, who made the original poster.

I do try to let people know when their poster will be featured, at the very least.

Library Graphic Design said...

That's good to know, Zen. I wasn't clear on if the posters are submitted to you or if they are ones you randomly find yourself and make over...or a combination of the two possibilities. Just this week I found one of my own designs lifted from my website and placed on another website with commentary--all without my advance knowledge. I just happened upon it by accident while looking for other things on the web, and wrote the other website owner to correct them. You can see what I'm referring to here, if interested to understand better: http://librarygraphicdesign.blogspot.com/2011/02/black-history-month-display.html?showComment=1339080011887#c4935415945186243883

Thanks for sharing your design make-overs. I really enjoy seeing what you have to say on the projects you do. Cheers, Scot

Zen Faulkes said...

Some critiques do have posters that I have found on other websites. When I did, I am pretty sure I always linked back to the source.

The older blog posts are more likely to have stuff I linked from other websites. As more people have discovered the blog, I'm getting more things sent to me, relieving me of going out and looking for stuff.