24 July 2014

Critique: Immune cells

Matteo di Bernardo reached out to me on Twitter to ask for feedback on this poster (click to enlarge):

My first and fiercest reaction is, “Ditch the abstract!”  Shorter text and a visual may entice people more than a big block of small text, which sucks away energy like a tombstone in a graveyard.

Likewise, the conclusions seem to have a lot of writing for only a couple of data figures. The conclusions are written as a long list of bullet points. An alternative is to turn the first level of bullets into subheadings. Then, there are a few short bullet lists instead of one massive list.

I had a hard time figuring the main take home message of the conclusions. The poster shows a bunch of evidence, but doesn’t make a single definitive statement that ties it all together. (Matteo replied that the data was not very conclusive, making a punchy concluding statement difficult.)

Speaking of headings, the underline should be removed from the headings. Bold does the job.

I am never crazy about logos bookending the title, although this is not the worst case I’ve seen.

The references are chewing up a lot of space, so I would look for ways to abbreviate them. Perhaps they could be shortened with an “et al.” instead of a complete list of every author, or omitting titles or articles. Remember, the point of a reference on a poster is to allow someone to locate a citation unambiguously, and you don’t need every piece of information in a journal reference to do that.

The figures would benefit from captions. Currently, I have no idea what those images mean.

I would also try lightening the dark box around the western blots. The line could be thinner and more subtle, perhaps with a gray instead of a hard black. Similarly, I might try removing or lightening the horizontal lines in graphs, and changing the red in the bottom graph to something in the blue/green palette the rest of the poster is in.

Matteo asked, “Does the color scheme work? Seems a little bland to me...” I replied, “You want bland. Or, if you prefer, subtle. Colour is very, very easy to overdo.” It may be better to use colours in the images on the poster, rather than bringing it on the background and text.

I do like the ample space on this poster. The use of space is done well enough that I would remove the three boxes around the columns, and just let the margins divide the text.

1 comment:

Mike Taylor said...

"Remember, the point of a reference on a poster is to allow someone to locate a citation unambiguously."

Where as the point of a reference in a journal article is ... ?