10 November 2016

Critique: Establishing axons

Today’s contribution was tweeted out by Christopher Leterrier. Click to enlarge!

This poster promptly attracted compliments, and Christopher asked for my take.

This poster has one obstacle standing between it and total victory: it is dense.

This poster was made for the massive Society for Neuroscience meeting. With attendance usually around 30,000, people at that conference are already coping with information overload. Unless someone is already very interested in axons, she or he is unlikely to stop at a poster with 108 micrographs and 25 bar graphs (I counted).

That said, this poster convinces me that anyone who does stop to talk to the author will be rewarded. It’s clear that Christopher put a lot of thought into organizing this.

The layout is clear. All the data sections are structured exactly the same way, so that once you understand one, you should be able to follow them all.

Each section has a clear take home message. The one exception is one that Christopher himself identified:

Now that I look at it, “Conclusion and Perspectives” is wrong. Obvious title and zero specific info!

I agree with that self-assessment. Positive statements win over generic headings!

Looking at this poster shrunk down at thumbnail size, the poster number in the upper right is a shade too big. It’s bigger and more prominent than the title, and I generally argue that nothing should compete with the title. That said, this problem is not a bad one, because the poster number is well separated from the title, and the title is large and easily read.

This poster tries to fit an entire manuscript on to a single piece of paper. I do not recommend that as a strategy for a poster. But, given that decision to put all that information on the page, this poster solved the problem probably as well as it could be solved.


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