19 November 2015

Critique: SAS depot

Today’s poster come from Maxine Davis, which she did for a small conference. Click to enlarge!

There are a couple of things that are very successful on this poster. The colour scheme is very cohesive, helped by the poster being a pastiche of Home Depot branding. As I’ve said before, basing a poster on an existing colour or branding scheme is a handy shortcut, because they’re tried and tested designs that you know will work.

The yellow highlighting breaks the colour scheme slightly, but it is so effective at drawing attention to key elements of the text that it is okay.

The poster clearly shows that it is meant to be read in rows, so there is no problem in determining reading order. The big orange “How to” balloons on the left are very good guides.

Still, there is probably too much going on in this poster. I suspect that the individual sections might looking fine when you’re looking at part of the poster, but when you step back, there is a lot of stuff competing for attention.

The typesetting is a little frantic. I count at least six different typefaces, which I’ve highlighted below:

Even when the typeface is the same, there’s a lot of other variations that contribute to the feeling of mild disorganization (bullets, bolding, boxes, italics, highlighting, rotation...). Wider margins might also bring a needed sense of calm to the poster.

I like the idea of having the top left image acting as an entry point (and making the homage to Home Depot obvious), but the execution is compromised because the picture is distorted. The store logo should be square, like so:

I would have kept the image in its original, slightly narrower form, and made more room for the subtitle over at the right.

While it’s not visible in thumbnail, there are some overlap and ragged edge problems between the image anf the author credits:

I’m not sure about the winking face next to the name. Some will find it friendly; some will find it frivolous. Home Depot employees do have buttons and badges on their store aprons, and this might potentially be continuing the imitation of the flair of Home Depot staff. But it’s not quite a match, and I feel that if you’re going to follow the design of something, you need to go all the way.

This poster is off to a good start, but would benefit from a very thorough polish of the text, with attention to making the text more consistent across the poster.

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