23 December 2010

Deck the halls with conference posters, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaaaa...

Doctor Becca reckons this is the best re-use of a conference poster ever, and I’m inclined to agree. So do many other people! I bugged Becca for the instructions, and she came through like a trooper:

Here’s how:

  1. Cut your poster into six equal-sized squares. You may have some extra bits, but it’s no biggie.
  2. Take one square, fold it into a triangle, and then again into a smaller triangle.
  3. Hold the triangle so that the fully folded side is on the bottom and the longest side is on the right.
  4. Cut four lines parallel to the longest side (cuts shown in blue) – make sure you don’t cut all the way to the left side, just cut so that there are four strips hanging off of the left side.

  5. Open up the square – it should look like this:

  6. Take the two innermost flaps and overlap them so they make a hollow tube. Tape them together.
  7. Flip the paper over to the other side, take the 2nd inner two flaps, overlap them slightly, and tape.
  8. Keep flipping, overlapping and taping until finished. Turn it on its side, and it will look like this:

  9. 1/6th of the snowflake is done!
  10. Do this with the other five squares.
  11. Once all your snowflake portions are made, arrange so that they’re in a nice snowflake configuration. Staple everything together in the middle, as well as the outer “x’s” so they’re not all floppy.
  12. Voila! Winter Wonderland!

Season’s greetings!

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Original post

16 December 2010

Push pins : posters

Here’s another piece of information that might help conference organizers plan their poster sessions: How many pins do you need? Here’s how they do it at one of the biggest scientific conferences in the world:

I received an email from the Society for Neuroscience this week describing the wrap up of the last conference. It included this tidbit:

  • 110,000 push pins ordered to hold 15,116 poster presentations

This works out to 7.277 tacks per poster. An extravagance! You just need one tack for each corner, people!

But wait! There were eight poster sessions (two each, Sunday through Wednesday). Morning presenters could leave tacks for the afternoon presenters, who could leave tacks for the next day.

This means you effectively had 58.2 pins for each poster space.

That’s enough pins not just to attach your poster to the board, but to ensure it would not be cast adrift from its moorings should a small squall suddenly whip up in the middle of the convention center.

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Photo by Nrbelex on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.

09 December 2010

Fade out

Earlier this year, I described my experience with printing one of my posters on fabric. After going the conference and presenting the poster, I brought it back and stuck it up in the hallway by my lab, as people often do with their posters.

I was surprised to watch the poster faded into near illegibility over the course of only a few months!

Here’s a picture from shortly after receiving the poster:

And here it is after a few months.

And just for the ultra-detailed comparison, here’s the original source of this picture.

Here’s how my name looked on the poster when I first checked it:

And here’s how it looks after some time in the hallway.

Fading was noticeable after about two months in the hall, I think. This poster is not in direct sunlight, though there is a hall light more or less right above it. Still, another poster right next to it has held its colour much better, and it’s over a year old.

If you print a fabric poster for a conference, keep the original files in case you want to reprint your poster.

Related post

Cut from whole cloth

02 December 2010

Grids on grids

You can’t go too far wrong with a three column grid on a poster.

If it’s very wide poster, 5 or 7 or some other odd number of columns might be appropriate. But I will admit, a straight three column grid can all get just a little... rectangular.

Here’s a trick I learned from the Babylonians. The Babylonians are the ones we have to blame for our twelve hour days. The Babylonians like counting in twelves, rather than ten. Ten can be halved... or divided into five. Twelve can be divided into two, or three, or four, or six. Much more practical.

Create a grid that can be divided in lots of different ways. Or, to think of it another way, create a primary grid (three columns) and lay a secondary grid on top of that. Here, a two column grid superimposed on each main column. That is, six columns total.

Now you’re still following a grid, but you have more options for placement, and you can create a little more visual interest without sacrificing a disciplined layout.

You see this technique from time to time in journal articles, which might have a two column text layout, but will occasionally throw in a figure that is two-thirds of a page wide.

Better to make a complicated grid than abandoning a grid.