02 April 2015

Critiques: Icy bodies

Today's poster is from Terik Daly, and was presented at the last Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. As always, click to enlarge! Enlarging always helps, but this one is particularly enhanced by increasing the size a bit.

My first thought was, “This is going to be a short critique.” That this was a crisp and professional design leaped out right away.

This poster makes excellent use of a grid, with plenty of space between elements.

The typeface is either FF Din, or something very near to it. FF Din is a typeface that is used quite often by professional designers, but almost never by scientists, because... it’s not a standard font in Microsoft Windows. The Din fonts were originally designed for railroad signs, so they have the advantage of being legible from a distance, and are quite compact, too, which is a nice combination for a poster.

While my dislike of logos in titles is well documented, Terik does it right here.The logo is occupying a space that would otherwise by empty, so it is not chewing up any valuable poster real estate. The logo is transparent, leaving no identifiable “box” fingerprint around it. The logo sits comfortably in the poster, rather than fighting for space on it.

I like the idea of having the short summary below the authors’ byline. The problem here might be that the summary is a little too similar to the title bar above it. It might benefit from being a different colour, or something to make the text “pop” to let readers quickly identify this as the main text, not the sort of mostly minor details you normally find under the authors’ names (institutional affiliation and the like).

The only thing that is a genuine error, in my view, is in the top central graph, where one of the data labels crosses the X axis. The label just needs a slight nudge upward, and it would be more readable and attractive without sacrificing any clarity of which line it’s associated with.

The poster is a little drab right around eye level: it’s black and blue text right across the board where my eyes will glance first, under the title bar.

I like images on posters, and would like to see the pictures here play a more prominent role on the poster. Unlike some posters, I don’t know what I would change on this one to make that happen. There always is another way, naturally, but in this case, it would probably demand a wholescale editing and reworking of the text. The overall layout is so clear that I’m hard pressed to imagine this poster in any other way.

External links

FF Din

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