21 June 2018

Critique: Sciencing on eggshells

A colleague of mine was at the 9th Bird Working Group Meeting, The archaeology of human-bird interactions. He snapped a pic of a poster by Beatrice Demarchi which he thought would interest me. It did. I contacted Bea... who thought I was punking her.

I almost binned the message thinking that it was a joke then I figured that it must have been real as not many people know about the Bird Working Group! :)

She was nice enough to send along a better version of the poster. Click to enlarge!


I love the clarity and simplicity of vision here. I love how text and visuals, instead of being two separate elements, are fused into one element. The words are the picture.

I was impressed, because I had tried to design something similar – text forming the outline of a shape – for a t-shirt. I was not able to make the text fit the shape anywhere near as well as Bea did. She explained how she did it (lightly edited):

I popped an image of the bird into Adobe Illustrator, and then text that sort of stopped at the boundaries of the image. I then deleted the image below and voila! It took me 30-40 minutes, plus a bit of tinkering, which is precisely why I resorted to this type of presentation. I had no time!

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and constraints are a friend to creativity.
 I can see how the horizontal lines of text would be easy to fit the outline. The last curving line forming the auk’s chest might have been a little more challenging if you were starting from scratch. It would probably be quick if you fit text to paths all the time.

I suppose if I am being a typographic and editorial purist, I might grumble that the text could be hyphenated. But the lines are so short, and the outline so unusual, and not surrounded by any other nearby text blocks, that I can live without hyphens. Just this once.

External links

9th Bird Working Group Meeting, The archaeology of human-bird interactions.

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