23 December 2016

Critique: Water balance

Today’s poster is up a little late because the contributor asked that it be shown after the conference ended, and totally not because of bad time management on my part. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anjuli Figueroa just got done preseninting this poster at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Click to enlarge version 1!

My first reaction was, “This poster looks like it’s yelling.”

I wanted the typography to calm down a bit! There are multiple fonts, multiple sizes, multiple methods of emphasis (size, colour, bullets). I suggested trying to pare down the number of styles, and using sentences instead of bullet lists. Similarly, the headings are big enough that underlining for emphasis was not needed and just contributed to making the poster look “shouty.”

Another thing made the poster feel loud is that lots of things are pushed right to the edges of space.

  • The maps in section 4 are almost crowding out of the box they’re in.
  • The text in section 2 feels like it’s crushing the globe underneath it.
  • The title is ramming into the poster number divider.

More white space would calm the poster, so I recommended using blank space to divide the poster instead of lines.

The biggest request, though, was probably to fix the, “1, 2, 3, 5, 4” reading order. It was just  frustrating. I suggested breaking section 4 apart, and putting the top half where 5 was, and the bottom half of 4 where top half of 4 was.

Anjuli sent back version two:

I thought this was already much improved, but that it could go even further. I’m not a fan of underlining, and have rarely found reason to use it. Here, it drew attention to inconsistencies like whether spaces or punctuation marks were underlined.

Similarly, using bold plus red for the key results still seems like “crushing a walnut with a sledgehammer” emphasis.

Version number three was the one that hung on the conference posterboard:

I hope the conference goers were happier to see version three on that board than version one!

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