31 December 2015

Link roundup for December 2015

I’ve been tracking hacks for videos on posters for some time. Now, Pieter Torrez is working on another version of interactive posters. Read more about this here.

This poster was nominated (informally) as the best poster of the Dutch chemistry conference:

Hat tip to Vittorio Saggiomo and Megan Lynch.

The poster above tries to make use of readily recognized symbols. But how hard is it to make a symbol that is universally recognized? Learn the origins of... Helvetica man.

Hat tip to Atlas Obscura and Ed Yong.

In Baby Attach Mode ponders whether a student should go to a conference alone. Some students have gone to conferences without me, and I’ve been fine with that. Others, I would not have suggested they go to the conference if I thought they would go on their own.

Is simplicity in design overrated?

Is it as clear as it can be? Then no one cares how complex it is. Build complex things if you need to build complex things. Just put your good design chops to work and make them as clear as you can. It’s the one thing you can do every time.

Part of a conference is about asking questions. Here’s a guide on how to do it well. Hat tip to Toby Lasserson and Anna Sharman.

Designer Ellen Lupton talks about design processes here. I like that even experienced designers still have issues picking typefaces:

Ultimately, you end up going with your gut, but looking at history and context can be a starting point.

Speaking of which, do designers ever realize they’re bad? The Dunning-Kruger effect suggests not, but this Quora thread has some interesting insights on design just the same.

Carolina Gómez reminds us that academics are unfriendly:

in a scientific congress, it’s always harder to approach the “big heads”. It’s not impossible, but circles are so established that breaking into them can be extremely difficult and truth be told, they are not very inviting to let you join. Talking with several of my friends who have left academia, I realized the feeling is a very common one. ...

The other thing about scientific conferences is the patronizing/condescending tone that some people (big wigs or not) take when asking questions after your presentations. There is always this “frenemy” vibe to these interactions: laboratories that are working in similar fields will ask questions that are aimed to throw you down, rarely to make your research better. It’s not that the questions are destructive per se (sadly, some are) but there are questions charged with dismissal of other people’s work.

What can we do to make scientific conferences more welcoming to newcomers?

Prof-Like Substance reminds us not to make figures in PowerPoint.

I just may have gotten a smartwatch in the past week. So I was primed for this story on how Fossil is going about trying to enter the smartwatch arena. I was fascinated by how clearly they prioritized design (my emphasis).

Fossil split its team in two. One team worked closely with Intel on the raw technology, making something as small and usable as possible. Another worked on the design and identity of the products themselves. If there were ever conflicts between the two, the tech team lost.

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