13 July 2012

Critique: Biomaterials

Today’s poster was submitted by Jessica Moore, who is manager of Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine at the University of California, San Diego, and is shown with her permission. She sent me two posters, and we’ll see the other one later.

A poster’s title should always win fight for attention easily. It isn't here. There is too much stuff going on around it. You have a text based logo in the “primetime” upper left corner, a lot of names, and headings in boxes, and the poster’s title isn’t much bigger than any of those. People won’t be able to pick out the title at a glance, and they are likely to walk by.

I like that the “Motivation” for the poster is called out at the top, but I’m having a hard time identifying what the main result or conclusion is.

The reading order has a mix of top to bottom and left to right directions. The lower left corner in particular seems to deviate a bit from the pattern established by the rest of the poster.

But even though the reading order is reasonably apparent, it looks jumbled and confused within each larger section because so few things are aligned with each other. A stronger underlying grid layout would help.

Similarly, not a lot of things match in terms of shape or colour. There are boxes with round corners and boxes with square corners. There are white headings on dark blue backgrounds and black text on medium blue backgrounds. Some lines are gold, some blue.

Let’s see what happens if we cut out a bunch of those boxes:

Finally, this “IOP” graph on the left side just scares me.

Even if I stopped to look at this poster, I would want to flee as soon as I saw this graph. Eleven colours by seven groupings? I can feel my eyes glazing over just typing the description. This graph needs a serious re-think. Perhaps some of the data in a category could be collapses to show the main effects more easily, or changed to a line graph, or something.

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