13 January 2011

Critique: First steps in Second Life

This poster comes via Pat Lockley on Twitter, who was kind enough to share this award winning poster and agreed that I could critique it. Most contests usually evaluate both the content and the graphic design, but I’ll just be focusing on the design. Click the picture to enlarge it.

Where this poster wins in a big way for me is that it has a fantastic entry point. The avatar on the left side is very effective, and follows the Cosmo principle. At a glance from a distance, I know what this poster is about: it’s about pregnancy.

The high proportion of pictures making up the poster is also helpful is making the poster visually appealing. The colours are harmonious, although there are perhaps a few more than there need to be.

The poster’s biggest problem is one that the poster makers acknowledge themselves. The flow from the big avatar to “Arrival and documentation” to “Options and facilities” is quite natural, but then I get confused about where I am supposed to look next. The authors put arrows in the background to try to guide people through the reading order of the poster.

When you find yourself guiding people with those kinds of devices, you’ve failed. You’ve stepped too far away from the rules that people use when reading every day.

I’m also a little bothered that the arrows from from blue box to blue box, leaving me again unsure about the order I’m supposed to read the text. Alternating between the graphics? The text actually flows well, because it follows a simple “top to bottom” sequence. There’s never any point where I’m confused about what bit of text comes next.

Still, even with some of the concerns I have with this poster, there is something quite likable about it. I think part of it is that so many academic posters that I see are so very data heavy that it’s a nice change to see one with so many people on it. Generous pictures and attractive colours go a long way in buying forgiveness for minor faults.

1 comment:

Pat said...

I agree with the comments on spacing, it took us a day to try and fit things in, and with four people working on it, a lot of ideas had to be refined. Thats why my name is the one that overlays the other background :)

I also agree re the point of entry / pregnant avatar. It's important to have a nice "landing site"

The arrows came from a circle of life idea, and in theory, join the picture pods together. Not there to tell people how to read :)