13 October 2016

Critique: Cubic slip-systems

Today’s poster is from Danyel Cavasoz. Now, although I live in a region with a large Hispanic population, my Spanish is pretty bad. But based on the arXiv notice in his poster, I am reasonably confident this is a physics poster. Alas, my physics is also bad, since I’m not sure what a “cubic slip-system” is. He’s been kind enough to give permission to share this. Click to enlarge!

I love the individual graphics here. They evoke the feel of being hand drawn, but are never sloppy.

The muted colours all work well together. The darker background allows some of the red and blue in those diagrams to stand out.

My major concern is the main text. When I see the poster at a small size, like the thumbnail here on the blog, the text is almost unreadable. There are three things contributing here. The first is whether the background is dark enough to make white text stand out. The second is the point size of the text (it’s 22 point, according to Danyel). The third is a bit more subtle.

Danyel used Century Gothic. This geometric typeface has very even strokes and similar shapes throughout, which is making it hard to distinguish letter shapes. Let’s have a closer look at it:

Notice how many letters are based on an almost identical circle? The a, c, d, e, g, o, p, and q: that’s eight letters, almost a third of the alphabet, built on the same shape. By comparison, let’s look at another famous geometric sans serif, Futura:

The round letters are similar, but not as much as in the one above. You can see the line width varying, such as where the round parts meet the descenders in p and g.

When you move into a serif font like Sitka, you see the letters are even less similar:

By the way, “Quack Beep God” is the name of my new indie band.

Danyel wrote:

I can safely say that one can read it standing 2 m away from it. Now that I think about it, the light gray might be too light indeed for a room illuminated under a very white light.

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