27 March 2014

Link roundup for March 2014

Hood Scientist takes a look at the making of this cool wanted poster:

I’m also grateful to the link to this post on making chemistry posters. It includes this video. The advice is generally sound, though I have misgivings like it assuming you will use PowerPoint (get a real graphics editor, folks!) and advising adding institution logo (although it doesn’t use the dreaded bookend).

This blog is mainly geared towards scientists, but it uses the crafts and tools developed by graphic design. Ben Lillie makes a similar case: scientists should look outside their own fields to see what others have learned, particularly in science communication. And a poster is just a communication tool, after all:

(C)ommunicating science, fundamentally, isn’t very different from communicating anything else. It isn’t easy, but the answers are out there. The textbooks are already written. ...

I believe in the value of expertise. There are people who’ve dedicated their lives to learning and teaching how to connect and communicate. Why wouldn’t we avail ourselves of that?

A menu has some interesting parallels with a poster: you both have to contain a lot of information in a logical structure that people can find. This article looks at the redesign of the menu at IHOP:

The menu IHOP ended up launching ... prioritizes images over text, with large pictures of food offerings studding the menu’s pages. It also offers color-coding—a feature meant, in part, to draw the eye toward certain food offerings and categories. Perhaps the most important change from the previous menu, though, was a grouping system that categorized food items into neat culinary taxonomies: pancakes on this page, omelettes on this one, etc.

Hat tip to Emily Anthes.

I am often telling people to leave more space on posters. Here’s a brilliant case of using space to make a point:

Hat tip to Amanda Bauer and Stephanie Stamm.

TED provides a list of ten quotes about design. I particularly like this one:

“If anybody here has trouble with the concept of design humility, reflect on this: It took us 5,000 years to put wheels on our luggage.” — William McDonough

New Scientist has an article about typefaces that, in the magazine, was titled, “Tricksy type: how fonts can mess with your mind” (paywalled). The title in their weekly newsletter was better, though. It was, “Comic Sans is evil.”

Congratulations to reader Alex Warnecke, who took the Provost’s Award in the ecology section of San Diego State University’s recent student conference. She was nice enough to say this blog helped.

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