03 September 2015

Critique and makeover: PrimerMiner

Today’s poster comes from Vasco Elbrecht. Before I get to his poster, Vasco has a whole series of YouTube videos on making posters in InDesign, so you might want to check those out!

On to the poster that Vasco sent to me and let me share it with you. Click to enlarge!

My first reaction was that there’s a lot going on in this poster. It was a little overwhelming and intimidating.

The layout of the poster isn’t to blame for the feeling of busyness. The structure of the poster is actually reasonably clear and easy to follow.

A lot of the feeling of busyness has to do with the colours. Looking at it felt a like looking at a busy city’s business district:

There are five big blocks of colour on this poster: a red box, a green box, a yellow note, and orange note, and a light blue sidebar. And there is the data at the bottom, which also uses bright primary colours.

There may not be much that can be done about the data at the bottom, but the other five blocks might benefit from being more similar. Here is a quick and dirty example:

This redesign points out that the logos are also contributing to the business. Three of the five are dark blue, which isn’t in line with the rest of the poster. The dark blue blocks are also competing with the title for attention: the position says “the logos are important” (Cosmo principle), when the title should be most important.

Again, a quick revision that tries to bring the title out by repositioning and shrinking the logos (the title size is the same):

Now the emphasis is clearly on the title. Shrinking the logos helped emphasize the title by creating more white space to separate the title from everything else. The overall effect is a little calmer and more approachable.

Let’s revert back to the original colour scheme for a moment and have another look at that.

Over on the left hand side, the brightly coloured boxes again create a problem of emphasis. The highlighted colours and boxes, particularly from a distance, say, “I’m important, read me first!” The text supports this, too: “The problem” and “The solution” are in bold, and meant as key summaries.

If all the graphic and text cues say, “read me first,” why not put them first?

Some of the things I like about this poster? This poster has uneven sections, but there are visual signals that make it easy to follow. The lines between the columns is better done than on many posters, providing a clear guide that isn’t overwhelming. The use of subtle “A,” “B,” “C” icons help make the order clear and add a nice graphic touch. The sidebar clearly signals stuff which is nonessential to the main presentation of the poster. The spot for stickies is also a nice invitation for interaction.

City photo from here.

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