07 March 2019

Critique: Virus stamping

Today’s poster comes from contributor Benjamin Wu. Click to enlarge!

Ben and I talked about capitalization, particularly in the title. There are three styles: headline / title casing (on left below), sentence casing (right), and all capitals. (The example is not a good example for a poster, because the title is the same size as the main text. You wouldn’t have that on a poster title.)

I see examples of all three on posters all the time. I’m not a fan of all capitals, because it looks shouty, like a Hulk or Dalek Twitter account.

I lean towards sentence casing, because we read sentences all the time. It makes it easier to recognize proper nouns. But proper nouns (name of person, place, or thing) should always be capitalized in any case!

The poster’s layout is clean, with consistent space between boxes both horizontally and vertically.

The left quarter of the poster is mostly taken up with an abstract, and it is killing me. Having any abstract is bad enough, but this one is worse than most. It’s a structured abstract. I love structured abstracts for journals, but they are horrible for posters, because breaking the abstract into sections makes it longer and even more redundant than usual. When I look at the poster and see that huge block of text, and my will to read the rest of the poster just shrivels.

In fairness, Ben informed me that the decision to include the abstract was not up to him.

But if you can get past the abstract, the rest of the poster fares well. The introduction is short and snappy, and the central two columns contains lots of well constructed graphics to outline the methods.

I like the discipline of the predominantly greyscale palette, but I worry a little about the contrast making the text difficult to read. I tried lightening the boxes, but not all the way to white:

Lightening the fills in the boxes make the headings stand out a bit more. I like the use of bands to highlight the heading for each box. The headings are unusually consistent in their position for a poster made in PowerPoint.

A fine poster, but it is kind of a shame about that abstract.

No comments: