14 September 2018

Critique: Keep the home fire burning

Today’s contribution is a prize-winning poster from Alexandra Lai! This was presented at the International Aerosol Conference. Click to enlarge!

Poster: Chamical composition of cookstove emissions

The title bar is particularly well done. It’s an excellent example of a clear visual hierarchy: the title is biggest and in bold. A subtitle is big, but not bold. The authors are smaller, and the affiliations are smaller yet. And the type is fits the space, so there isn’t a lot of empty space on the right corner.

The colour scheme is a little busy, but generally works. The main oranges in the title and callout boxes and blue in the background are contrast colours. The colurs in the graphs might benefit from being a little more harmonized with the two main colours. Some of the greens and pinks don’t seem to fit that well.

Alexnadra has done a good job with the typography here. The font is clean, the emphasis is clear, and the table is not a mess of lines. In the Methods, I might like to see fewer words, but the words are set out in a very readable way.

The main body of the poster has a generally good foundation, but creating a grid and aligning objects would have improved the poster dramatically.

Poster: Commented version of "Chamical composition of cookstove emissions"

The graphs in the upper right need the most reworking. A reader has to do too much zigzagging in that section to read everything. There are two problems.

First, the graphs are not arranged in any sensible way. There are six graphs there. Either laying them out as two rows of three, or three rows of two graphs would have helped.

Second, and possibly worse, is that the figure legends to the graphs are pretty much in every place they could possibly be. Sometimes, there is a big description on top and a legend underneath. Sometimes both are on the left of the graph. Sometimes both are on the right of the graph. Pick one and commit to it!

Of course, another solution would be to cut down the number of graphs. Alexandra wrote:

I realized as I was presenting it that I only had time to discuss about half the plots, but otherwise I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

As Alexandra should be!

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