07 July 2016

Critique: Anther colours

I won’t say this is the best poster from the recent Evolution 2016 meeting, but it is my personal favourite. Click to enlarge!

This poster is by Emily Austen, who was kind enough to send me the PDF and give me permission to share it. I asked Emily if she had comments about the design. She wrote.

First, when I visit posters, I have way more fun if the presenter explains the poster to me than if I try to read it. I tried to make a poster that would encourage conversation.

Second, while designing, I was very inspired by this awesome poster by James O’Hanlon, which I am pretty sure was featured on your blog before. (It was! - ZF) That poster is brilliant.

This poster is also pretty brilliant. Of all the posters I saw at the meeting (and I saw all of them), this was the only one that stopped me in my tracks.

I love this poster. I love the full bleed flower picture. I love that the colours in that picture are carried throughout the poster. I love that each graph has a simple, short sentence describing the point it makes.

The only things I might change are truly minor.

The red used for Emily’s name under the title makes her name harder to read, not easier. I know it’s trying to carry through with the red and yellow used elsewhere in the poster, but it is too dark.

When I first looked at the poster, I thought the bottom “answer” might need just a tiny bit more breathing room, or be placed in a more prominent location. I might have tried the Columbo method for the title (make a statement instead of asking a question).

The acknowledgements in the left corner are are handled well, but the very first line comes close to the edge of the petal in the picture. Similarly, a petal and the word “trout” in the title come close to touching. Either separate edges or overlap them. For example, the middle petals look fine with graphs are on top of them because the graphs are clearly deliberately placed. The overlap shows that the graphs are meant to be on top of the picture. Objects that nearly touch create an uneasy tension.

But these are quibbles. This poster is gorgeous. Not every poster is going to have this built-in visual component (it is about colour, after all), but it understands that a poster is a visual medium and pushes it to a high level of design and even artistry. I think my next creation is going to borrow a few ideas from this one.

Related posts

Link roundup for March 2015
Detective stories: “Whodunnit?” versus “How’s he gonna prove it?”

1 comment:

Larry York said...

Yes, a very nice poster with the 'less is more' approach. I especially liked that she used the 'assertion-evidence' style headings to help the reader understand the point of each panel, much better than a generic 'title.' Nobody is going to read a paper posted onto a poster so this is a knockout approach.

Graphically it would be pleasing to me if the yellow flowers were in the forefront and overlaid the panels instead of going behind, but that's a quibble! I also often prefer while backgrounds on graphics to be made transparent (in GIMP as png or even PowerPoint can now do this) because I don't like how the white squares standout. But in the case of a photo background this might be the only choice.